5 Ecommerce Trends for 2016

eMarketer estimates the global revenues generated through e-commerce in 2016 to reach $1.888 Trillion. As this number should keep increasing through the coming years, it’s no wonder ecommerce plays such an important role in retail businesses’ success.

Over the years, digital trends evolve quickly; some fall short while others grow in popularity. This can be explained in part by the evolution in consumption behaviours and the digitalization of trades. Retailers must adapt their offering to provide customers with the best and most seamless shopping experience. Hence, here are 5 ecommerce trends retailers should embrace for 2016 and the years to come.

1) M-COMMERCE

As smartphones are becoming increasingly important devices for web browsing, the mobile share of global ecommerce is also expected to keep growing over time. In 2015, nearly half of all ecommerce transactions were done through mobile. It goes without saying that retailers should ensure to have a mobile website that is geared towards user experience and conversions.

Moreover, in their quest for flexibility in their purchase process, consumers have now adopted a multichannel approach to ordering online. No longer can focusing on a sole conversion channel ensure a retailer’s long-term success and financial sustainability. Google says 85% of online shoppers start their purchase process on one device and finish it on another; an omnichannel approach to engaging with consumers is becoming crucial in optimizing the conversion rate.

Hence, multiplying the customer touchpoints, online and offline, is bound to have a positive effect on a retailer’s conversion rate, if the branding and message is kept consistent throughout all of the touchpoints. This ensure the consumer stays in the brand’s ecosystem and finds a seamless navigation from one device to the other, as well as in person at the store.

2) CONTEXTUAL SHOPPING

Personalization is becoming the norm in product promotion and retail campaigns, the universe of ecommerce is gradually moving towards contextual shopping, where retailers adapt their promotion tactics to the consumers’ behaviour, interests and preferences, considering all data available. Presenting shoppers with the right content at the right time increases efficiency in leading them on to a buying decision.

As the consumers’ habits and behaviours evolve, so must the content presented to them. 2016 is the year where the use of contextual marketing and other less intrusive forms of advertising will allow retailers to yield even better conversion results. Among other things, Ad blockers will play a big role in the shift towards displaying better quality and more relevant ads; According to AdBlock Plus, 75% of users would accept being exposed to advertising if it is non-intrusive.

3) SOCIAL COMMERCE

Social media is also evolving into much more than what it used to be, now that Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest have made it possible for companies to post and sell items directly on the platforms. This really is a game changer, considering 62% of consumers claim they’re more likely to purchase from a retailer after reading a positive review. Retailers can now hitchhike on the platforms’ mass content sharing and interactions between users.

4) CUSTOMER JOURNEY AND STORYTELLING

Storytelling allows to guide the customer all along the conversion funnel while keeping him interested. Although the e-Commerce environment isn’t the easiest to implement storytelling in, this strategy can make the difference between good and great sales performance. Not only can outlining a targeted customer journey help improve a platform’s UX design, it also allows to craft an immersive brand experience reflected through the whole buying process.

The product is no longer the star of the show: what matters now is the whole story around it. Creating content that is visually appealing and enriched with videos is ever important to support shopper engagement and brand association. Doing so, retailers can foster user shares and give great visibility to the brand.

5) CLICK & COLLECT

Depending on the products’ nature and the retailer’s network reach, eMarketer says 78% of US shoppers find the option to buy online and pickup in-store appealing. Also, offering the option to Click & Collect allows to increase the shopping cart’s final value. According to KPMG,  35% of consumers make impulse buys in store compared to 21% when shopping online. On top of increasing the consumers’ cart value, the Click & Collect strategy proves to have the following benefits:

  • Increase in conversion rate by allowing shoppers to get their order faster and more easily
  • Decrease in the return rate by allowing in-store exchanges
  • Lower shipping fees and higher profit margins

Keeping up to speed with the latest trends in ecommerce can be a real challenge for retailers, especially when having to manage multiple channels and customer touchpoints. The key is nevertheless to stay in sync with your target market’s needs and behaviours. The 5 trends that we’ve outlined for 2016 are great tools to offering a brand experience that is enjoyable to shoppers, and that leads to conversion. At the end of the day, conversion remains the benchmark to success.