Online shopping is accelerating.
Consumers are now reporting that they’re making more of their purchases on the web than in stores. Shoppers made 51% of their purchases on the web compared with 48% in 2015 and 47% in 2014, according to the survey by UPS analytics firm comScore Inc.
To match this shift in shopping habits, merchants are investing in their eCommerce strategy. See what eCommerce trends we expect to see more of to prepare yourself for growth in online shopping.
5 eCommerce Trends To Watch
With technology advancements improving customer experiences online, consumers are readily turning to the channel. Giants like Amazon are paving the way for how merchants should conduct business online.
It’s no longer a matter of whether you should sell online, it’s rather what you can do to better provide for your online customers. These five eCommecrce trends will keep you ahead of the curve.
1. More Personalization
Successful eCommerce selling depends on creating exceptional customer experiences. Customers want to feel special. You should know their habits and preferences intimately. With the amount of data now available to merchants, it’s now possible and achievable.
Shoppers should receive content like product recommendations based on purchase history, location, or demographics. This personalized content encourages customers to take a positive action, like making a purchase.
Shoppers receive value from a personalized experience. It’s something that all retailers should be striving for. Personalization can increase conversions by boosting sales.
2. Expanding to Brick & Mortar
There’s no denial that eCommerce is growing rapidly, but that doesn’t mean forget about brick and mortar. eCommerce sales still only make up about 8% of total retail sales in the U.S. The majority of shopping takes places in physical stores.
That’s why online merchants like Amazon are expanding to physical stores. Brick and Mortar stores represent another way to reach consumers through a different touchpoint. Other noteworthy eCommerce sellers trying their hand at brick and mortar are Warby Parker, Bonobos, and Birchbox.
The eCommerce space is competitive and crowded. Moving to more channels helps strengthen the brand. Going forward, more successful eCommerce brands will expand to physical stores.
3. Even Faster, More Flexible Shipping
A few years ago, most customers were willing to wait 5 -7 days for online items to ship. They paid an arm and leg for shipping.
That’s not the case anymore.
Thanks to Amazon Prime, customers expect fast, free, and alternative delivery options. If these terms aren’t met, customers will look to buy elsewhere.
According the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper 2016 survey, 46% of consumers abandoned a shopping cart due to a shipping time that was too long or not provided.
51% are satisfied with availability of same-day delivery options.
Also, over half of shoppers are interested in an alternate pickup location with extended hours and lower fees. Alternative locations could be in-store, family members, work, or a package delivery locker.
Merchants will need to up their logistics to keep up with consumers’ evolving preferences when it comes to delivery speed and options.
4. Trying Flash Sales
eCommerce sellers are always thinking of new, creative promotions to help boost sales. More recently, merchants are trying out flash sales.
Flash sales are often daily, or limited-time sales of a single product or multiple products. By making the sale time sensitive, it encourages consumers to buy now.
While flash sales are a great way to boost sales, they can often create operational headaches for a merchant. Not all merchants have the necessary technology that can handle such an increase in order volume.
Merchants wanting to undertake flash sales will need integration to insure proper order management and inventory synchronization. With the proper technology, merchants are using flash sales as an important sales tool.
See how nChannel can help you handle inventory and order management so you can handle flash sales.
5. Merged Commerce
Not only do customers want to feel special, they also want to buy anywhere, receive anywhere, and return anywhere across all places they shop. Channels can be physical stores, marketplaces, webstores, mobile, or social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
The buyer’s journey now spans across many touchpoints. A customer might research a product online, then buy in-store, or vice versa. They want to buy online, then pick-up and return in-store. Only 4 in 10 purchases were made using only an online channel for searching and buying.
Merchants have to be able to accommodate these new shopping patterns as consumers easily shift between channels. Merchants have to handle this convergence of commerce, but it isn’t easy.
You don’t always do a good job of handling multichannel operations. It’s not always seamless and effortless for your customers to buy anywhere, receive anywhere, and return anywhere with your brand.
Merchants have to realize that the time is now to provide customers with this level of service. It gives retailers a competitive edge in eCommerce. It allows you to better serve your online customers who shop across multiple channels.
However, it takes investment in the right systems and integration to run your business this way. By dynamically integrating the processes between your systems, you can create a better customer experience through advanced order management, inventory management, supply chain integration, and product information management.
Retailers often look to multichannel management platforms, like nChannel’s, to help overcome these types of selling complexities.
What to Do Next
It’s always a good idea to keep on top of eCommerce trends. Use these trends to provide a better experience for your customers.
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