The world of e-commerce is ever-changing, but several trends have emerged and marked the whole 2017. Did your expectations match the actual changes in the market?
Here is our view on what shaped the past year, outlining what to expect in the upcoming one.
1. E-commerce market growth shifts to Asia
Huge growth of e-commerce sales on the Asian market marked the passing year. Although the growth rates at the US market are still relatively high, the saturation point there is not far off. The Asian market, on the other hand, continues to offer various possibilities for the traders. This steady shift in the e-commerce world challenges all the players. Their brands need to become international. Not in the distant future. Now is the moment. Quite more easily said than done.
2. Mobile users continue to increase, though still not converting
Mobile devices are still far away from dominating the market. Despite the drastic increase in the number of mobile devices, users are still not happy when purchasing on them. Security and privacy concerns, technical issues, not optimized experience - these are just some of the mentioned reasons.
More and more traders, however, invest in improving their users’ omnichannel experience. Will that lead to a change in the trend? Are the mobile users to start converting? A new year comes ahead.
3. The heating-up e-commerce competition
2017 was the year e-commerce competition got racked up by another notch. Not only did new start-ups enter the market. It was the big, well-established bricks and mortar brands that increasingly pushed to achieve significant chunks of the e-commerce pie. The reason - more and more consumers move online on a daily basis.
4. Subscription-based business models in the limelight
Long live subscriptions! Paved by SaaS businesses, the subscription-based business model has proved how effective it can be for both businesses and consumers. As they offer flexibility for consumers and recurring revenue for businesses, subscriptions are a massive win-win for both parties.
The trend is here. An increasing number of e-commerce traders have already implemented the model in their businesses. Anything that is used or consumed regularly could successfully be sold via a subscription model, and in many cases already is.
5. Artificial intelligence and chatbots
In 2017, many consumers had their first interaction with a chatbot - a fully automated chat agent that answers their questions and acts as the first point of contact with the brand. A chatbot increases the number of platforms on which a brand can transact by offering guided, interactive browsing at all times.
Take H&M, Sephora, and Victoria’s Secret, for example. They have all recently introduced chatbots on the Kik platform. Burger King and Pizza Hut customers, at the same time, can order food directly through Facebook Messenger and Twitter by messaging the restaurant chains’ bots.
6. Set for Cyber November?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday proved to be part of an entire shopping season that kicks off in early November. So comes the name - Cyber November. Retailers benefited from spreading their promotions out over an entire month, making adjustments along the way. It’s not just one weekend that counts anymore. With the countdown turned on (2 more days to grab our 12-dollar offers; 1 more day to grab our 12-dollar offers), consumers are urged to take an action. Buy it now, tomorrow the price will be different.
7. Adapt to your shoppers - NOW!
Personalize, personalize, personalize. Each shopper does already have access to unique content. The product recommendations and add-ons are chosen, based on their preferences, geographic location, market trends, demographic group, past purchases, and brand interactions. All of these, completely automatically. Even better, the discounts users see even are personalized, as they are based on the previous visits and on the merchant’s current promotions.
Yes, it’s already done
L’Oréal Paris has designed five diagnostic tools: skincare, cosmetics (face and eyes), haircare, and hair color. These beauty diagnostics operate on a mobile device, allowing consumers to “try on” different shades of make-up, “scan” their hair color, etc.
Not only can consumers use these tools to play with different looks in real time, but the data collected during each session allows for an unprecedented level of personalization of communications and interactions, not to mention ultra-customized discount coupons, which can have a major influence on purchasing decisions.
8. Buyers want to deal with brands
Customers want to deal with the brands directly. Wanted, received. The brands and manufacturers have started pulling out all the shops to make the sale with the end user direct. Take the AliExpress model, for example. The B2C marketplace of the Chinese giant Alibaba allows manufacturers to deal directly with end buyers all over the world, thanks to a standardized e-commerce and logistics platform.
9. Offer the perfect fit
The more information there is out there, the better. Products descriptions are continuing to be a must - from pictures and reviews to descriptions and specifications, all data matters. It adds value to the products, making customers less reluctant to buy them online.
In 2017, many retailers started working with data aggregators that compile data on millions of products: pictures, descriptions, price comparisons, specifications, UPC codes, reviews, and comments. There are even aggregators that contain data on millions of pieces of clothing that can be used to suggest the perfect size.
Let’s take the clothing and footwear industry, for example. Several brands and retailers are using the TrueFit data aggregator already.
It currently works with over 400 clothing and shoe brands to provide shoppers with the perfect-sized garment based on their current wardrobe and measurements.
10. Get it delivered. Today.
“Buy it today - receive it today”, the slogan, that marked the e-commerce world of 2017. It was in the passing year when many consumers received their first same-day delivery, whether at home, at work, or at a drop-off point of their choosing.
Amazon, for example, offers free same-day delivery with any purchase over $35 to its “Prime” members in 27 cities across the United States. In Canada, same-day delivery is now available in Toronto and Vancouver.
These 10 things, we think, you should be already offering to your customers and considering, when optimizing your store. Does your e-commerce system actually answer these trends? Take a look at what the Nemesis platform offers and how it may support your growing business.