Last year, we wrote an article on predicted Ecommerce trends for 2015 – we like to think it contained some accurate predictions, such as the rise in mobile payments, with the release of Apple and Android Pay and Social buy buttons on social media platforms, like Pinterest and Twitter. So, as we are quickly rounding off 2015, I thought it was about time to introduce our predicted Ecommerce trends for 2016.
Shopping; online and offline is slowly, but surely, changing and merging to give the customer a better all round experience. In an article from Retail Innovation, we heard that Ebay and Rebecca Minkoff have teamed up to create the ultimate digital experience built for in-store customers. This is possibly just the beginning of uniting the shopping experience for both online and in-store customers.
So in terms of Ecommerce, what can you expect to see over the coming year?
1. Multi-Channel Approach
This might not be a “new” factor to you, but there are still not enough retailers optimising their website to fit other devices. Everyone is different, so everyone will shop in their own way – whether it is portably when they are out and about, or they make the time at home to use a desktop and purchase.
However, people are not just using their smartphones and desktops – they are also on tablets. Mobile designers are recognising this and have introduced a broader range of experiences so people feel just as comfortable on their phone, as they would a tablet by increasing the screen size and generally give the customer the best experience regardless of device.
Due to new developments like the social buy buttons, which were mentioned in our 2015 Ecommerce trends, customers are finding your products unexpectedly when they are using social media such as browsing on their phones on the train. Most will make a note in their phone and research your brand and the best offers available to then finally make the purchase at home usually on a tablet or desktop. Even if they aren’t an omni-channel customer they will make decisions based on their research from the device. The purchase decision for Ecommerce on mobile increased from 25% in 2013 to 53% this year. For purchases made on desktop, it dropped from 73% in 2013 to 36% in 2015.
2. Targeted Automation
Email marketing if not done correctly can damage your reputation and frustrate customers – which is not what you want. However, it is still effective and a big part to Ecommerce but there is more that online retailers can do to provide potential and existing customers with a better experience with their brand.
Targeted Automation also extends to your website itself, and it is still largely under-utilised by online retailers. Retailers need to start giving returning, and even new customers a more personalized online experience. For returning customers, displaying items related to previous purchases, tailor-made “you will like”s and personalised promotional offers. If a customer has left your site without completing the purchase, leaving any items in their cart for when they come back can encourage them to make the purchase. Make it prominent that they have items still waiting to be purchased so that customers can follow through with the purchase once they have realised.
Talking of Targeted Automation, something which is expected to become the focal selling/marketing point for retailers online and off is, the millennial generation. Typically, the generation fall between the years of 1980-2000. Lets not forget how this generation have been exposed to the digital world at an early age, compared to other generations – Since the beginning of 2015 a staggering 91% of millennials own a smartphone which in turn gives them everything they need to know about your Ecommerce store and products in the palm of their hands.
This generation have in fact grown up with this new digital information stream and can adapt to new technical changes quickly, which means they aren’t just looking at the products and services you have to offer but also the functionality of your site. 89% of millennials also mentioned how they would want a better mobile experience when shopping online, for some Ecommerce stores.
Not only are they keeping an eye on your site but social media too. It is a routine ingrained in their daily lives so more than a marketing strategy for them. Considering 63% of millennials keep up with your Ecommerce store on social media you are missing out by not having a presence socially that appeals to them.
Though this new Ecommerce trend is much hyped, it is something you’re unlikely to have experienced in real life in 2015. They have been said to be the “next step” in this digital world for convergence of offline and online. There are already hundreds of manufacturers and retailers using it, but mainly over in the US however, soon we will start seeing them here in UK retail stores.
Beacons are usually a small battery powered bluetooth device, found hidden away in-store. Beacons introduce a new in-store shopping experience to try and brighten the in-store life. By combining online and offline marketing you are broadening the shopping experience for customers and allowing them to shop comfortably. You can use your beacons in many ways – The Rubens House museum in Belgium uses the beacons, combined with an iPad, to provide virtual tours around the museum through sensors. The same type of thing occurs in large fashion retail stores, the beacons enable the mobile app to guide customers to the products they want. It also lets them know of any promotions and offers happening at the moment. 66% more people buy online than in-store so why not let them instantly find what they want in store as they do online and let them know of any details for example: if it’s in stock and the price. You can add personalization too by sending a notification to welcome them into the store!
This is not necessarily a “new” concept but a lot of work is being set to develop the way online retailers deliver and ship their products. Last year, we saw an increase in next day and same day deliver services from big brands like Amazon. However, in a recent study, companies are finding it a lot harder to keep up with their perceived services and not enough retailers are providing services their customers want. Especially over busy periods like Christmas.
A few months back Amazon introduced a more unique style of delivery. They are offering regular people, like me and you, the opportunity to pick up your own Amazon package and also deliver other parcels at your own convenience as part of their “On My Way” service. This is a flexible way of getting more deliveries delivered on time especially for impatient customers.
6. Offline Social Media Marketing
For a lot of online retailers, it is hard to make a connection between in-store and online customers, as they shop in two completely different ways. For fashion retailers especially, something which we will begin seeing a lot more of is the combination of social media experience with the offline store.
Certain retailers have begun a campaign to combine both offline and online marketing. Nordstorm, over in America, have began a campaign in-store and online called “Pinspiration”. This is a section where customers can view their “Most Pinned” products. This gives both types of customers the opportunity to see what others are buying online.
As we mentioned earlier, Buyable buttons are a trend which has been brought to life this past year from big social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. It makes sense that Nordstorm have introduced Pinterest to their retail store as it helps combine both online and offline marketing and allows both types of customers to research in one place and see in-store what products are trending online. For the 93% of customers who prefer to research products via social media first are more than likely to purchase through social media buttons but as an Ecommerce business, you will be missing out if you don’t provide different methods of purchase to suit every customer.
Content in Ecommerce was one of the largest trends in Ecommerce in 2015, and now retailers are likely to push that one stage further with live streaming as trust and transparency are needed to help encourage people to buy online.
When a customer buys your product/service (or is researching into buying them), they want content which is going to engage them, and give them every detail they would want to know about your their purchase.
If you want to create a customer base online, now is the time you should start thinking about the personalisation and transparency of your content. Customers don’t just want to know about your product but see the faces behind the brand, and 2016 will bring in the obsession with virtual content. There are already thousands of retailers using live-streams, like Periscope and Snapchat to engage with their customers and keep them up-to date of any new items, promotions and news.
You could use live-stream videoing like Periscope to start a weekly/monthly show and show off any new products you have, or make it into a specifications video and explain everything a customer would want to know about your product. Let them see their potential buy in action. You could also use it for any events you may have running for customers who can’t make it but want a piece of the action. Not only is it fun to do, you are building a trusted relationship but be sure you uphold this as you may quickly loose trust if you are un-organized.
We hope you found these predicted Ecommerce trends for 2016 helpful and can use them in practice for your own Ecommerce site. Be sure to send us a Tweet if you have any further questions @ecommerce_kent