A devastating number of local retailers have winded down their businesses as fallen victims of this current age of internet shopping.
Shopping malls today are dauntingly filled with either tenant occupants of international brands or retail chains of this industry’s monopolies. Consumers unmotivated to patronise the malls with such limiting brand selections, find themselves shifting their shopping experience entirely online. E commerce (maintaining as world’s top business model) has become a must for any retailer wanting to secure a foothold in the market.
Consequently, competition in the e-commerce world continues ramping up fiercely in 2017. With leading retailers progressively reshaping the e-commerce market, customers are harder to win over and retain than ever before.
Lo and behold. Consumers of Year 2017 will be spoilt for options, be fussier on prices and expect an enjoyable user experience regardless their browsing device. It’s no longer just about having an online store selling some pretty items.
Harshly put, retailers un-geared up for new marketing challenges and consumer trends or still unplanned for a winning e-commerce marketing strategy, will not see their business last another prolonged year of sagging sales.
Today, we sum up 7 key e-commerce trends all retailers ought to know advancing into this year’s new market opportunities and challenges.
7 E-commerce Trends That Will Rule In 2017
1. Sizzling E-commerce Growth In Asia
Asia currently dominates as the largest global digital retail market (far surpassing USA and Europe) with China driving the boom in global e-commerce retail sales. This mammoth e-commerce market growth in Asia shows no receding signs, with market predictions seeing it continue to flourish abundantly throughout upcoming years.
2. Rocketing Mobile Consumption
Although desktop still dominates for conversion, mobile browsing is reported to accumulate 59% of all sessions for e-commerce sites.
This year, retail brands will be striving to improve mobile engagement functionality (eg. selecting products, device switch, digital payment types) with the focus on improving consumer satisfaction throughout the whole online shopping experience.
We also see an incoming massive put out of video advertising aiming in increasing audience participation especially now with rapidly increasing mobile speed and cheaper data costs.
3. E-commerce 2.0
Moving onward e-commerce 1.0 to 2.0, firms will no longer be basing their competitive advantage on traditional economies of scale.
2017 Digital Marketing will be all about personalisation and customisation; greatly striving towards increasing user engagement in the course of sophisticating the experience.
Personalisation & Customisation
2017 is the year retailers delve deeply into a new level of focus on personalisation with digital marketing for their online stores using collections of website visitors behavioural data. Retail marketers will task on strategizing and developing marketing campaigns catered to a highly-targeted audience.
Individual shoppers will access content unique to their demographic group, location, previous purchases, interactions with the brand and other identifiable consumer trends.
In the age of the customer, if you fail to adapt to your user’s needs and expectations, you will be losing them. How efficiently your e-commerce site personalises its customer’s experience will differentiate how effective it is for sales conversion; and between you and your competitors.
Enhancing User Engagment & Experience
Consumers of Year 2017 don’t only have raised expectations of what they want to purchase, but also their entire web experience when shop-browsing online.
- Customer experience management (CEM or CXM) is the process leading businesses deploy to oversee and track all customer interactions across multiple devices and channels.
- Successful user engagement vitally involves high social intelligence for identifying key consumer insights, and a meticulous study of the buyers’ journey (see diagram below) to effectuate successful sales conversions.
A well developed e-commerce removes any location or time barrier from your customers who want to buy your products anywhere.
Many companies however, don’t offer the service or experience consumers expect. Established online brands ahead in the e-commerce game today strategically deliver customer service and their brand promise in a personalised and emotionally engaging way, through a trusty high-functioning Web Hosting site.
4. AI And Bots
Whether is it personalizing a customer’s shopping experience, enriching customer service with a ‘personal buying assistant’, or effectuating successful content marketing (eg. automated translation, smart content crafting predictions, personalized content experiences, etc);
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is changing the way things are done in the e-commerce world and is something retailers can’t ignore this year.
Machine learning is the umbrella term for various methods of data analysis where automated systems are programmed to thoroughly and accurately generate insights from data-search.
Machine learning algorithms, can trawl through massive data amount (unlike recommendation engines that are only able to access small set of data hence only able to extract limited data patterns) to churn out predictory insights and highly relevant recommendations.
So, what are Chatbots? Sometimes referred to as ‘Messenger bots’, a bot is a software piece that impersonates a user. Before, Chatbots only performed automated repetitive tasks. 2017’s Chatbots have high performing complex functions developed to imitate a person, facilitating close interactions with a consumer.
A smart Chatbot can detect what a customer is searching for, insightfully recommend relevant merchandises, direct the placement of orders and pre-emptively address a consumer’s concern or any queries.
- In 2016, Facebook added in-app purchase options to Facebook messenger for the functionality of bods helping complete a user’s purchase entirely within the platform.
- Netflix uses AI to provide personalized recommendations to subscribers based on their previous streaming habits.
We however must stress that bots are only worth investing if they help alleviate marketing tasks and improve their functional processes. It should not be confusing your marketing direction instead or be annoying your customers. Don’t be jumping into an investment of a Chatbot just because of its latest marketing hype.
5. Heavier Content Investment
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content (eg. blog posts, articles, podcasts, videos, etc.) to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience.
(Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
Latest Content Marketing techniques and strategies builds around buyer-centric, inbound processes that function to foster a meaningful customer relationship with every individual.
These e-commerce Content Marketing stats say it all:
- 60% of people want to seek out a product after reading about it.
- 90% of people find customised and relavant content useful.
- 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
With 63% of B2C marketers believed that their content marketing results are successful as compared to a year ago;
a visible rise in content investments both developmental and promotional can be expected this year.
Also, we predictably see a further shift towards prioritising content marketing over paid advertising this year, due to the outweighing business benefits below.
Content Marketing > Paid Advertising:
- Promotes more branding initiatives
- Builds and fosters better long term customer relations than traditional advertising
- High cost efficiency and proven to achieve higher ROI than traditional advertising
- Better SEO
- Allows consumers access to more product information
- More effective for sales conversions
6. Social Commerce
Is 2017 the year for social commerce? We very well think so. We are currently living in a social media dominated world, and marketers and businesses will no doubt be taking full advantage of it.
In 2017, we forsee brands heightening social marketing in these areas:
- Leveraging more social platforms
- Adding ‘buy’ buttons and shopping features to their social media accounts
- More campaigning to increase user engagement
- Increase paid social media advertising
7. Data-driven Marketing
As mentioned above, data gathered from operative systems users search from, will be used to pre-empt their next search-what they want to buy, when they do and where they are buying from. This year there will be an explosive number of newly integrated Web Development systems and Digital Marketing tools that perform the tasks of tracking and managing all web data.
Data Isn’t Everything, Humanise Your Business
With the prevalence and accessibility of the recent Big Data hype, it is easy for us to fall into the trap of having strictly data-driven marketing intends. However, we have to remember that it is people we are ultimately selling to, and there are no two ways about it.
Businesses that fail to ‘humanise’ their campaign initiatives, appealing to consumers’ mental and emotional states; will not see long-term results.
Using Data Intelligently But Securely
Employing data with integrity will accrue the trust of consumers in the long term. If done right, businesses will gain increased availability and substantiative access in their customer outreach, building strong lasting customer relationships.
The world of e-commerce is evolving at an extremely fast pace. Yearly, new trends emerge and the early adopters are the ones who reap the benefits most bountifully. The main question for your business remains:
How should you appropriate your current knowledge of these e-commerce trends for a most suited adaptation for your e-commerce, stretching to reach its highest sales potential in the face of 2017?
Before you get on board with planning an e-commerce strategy, it is imperative that your e-commerce website is foolproofed with the necessary. Read in detail the most critical elements every website should have in our (free for download) e-book now!