E-commerce sales continue to take a lead over retail sales. Businesses will be challenged in this new year to capture this ever shifting and more competitive market. Consumers demand continued improvement in several areas including shipping, mobile access, customization, information, and convenience.
- Free, two-day shipping is sought after by all online shoppers. If your business is not currently offering this, you may be losing business. Several online businesses offer the shipping benefit to subscribers, along with other services. Look at ways that your e-commerce can also provide this service. To meet this challenge, consider utilizing order fulfillment services, drop shipping, or other partnerships.
- Online access via mobile device continues to grow, and more users will demand seamless web access from the smaller screen. This can be a challenge to older websites, but the demand will not be going away. E-commerce business must be optimized for mobile sales. A website with responsive design and mobile friendly payment options has become the new standard. Be sure to consider load times; if a page takes too long a sale could be lost.
- Users want to be known individually, not just another number on the screen. Infuse marketing efforts with personalization and customization. This can be as simple as including the customer’s name and product preferences in email marketing. This time intensive option means more tailored campaigns, but can offer a competitive advantage.
- The availability of Big Data can allow a retailer to adapt the shopping experience to consumer needs. Use Big Data to determine the specific needs of your market base as well as to watch for trends. Look ahead to statistical predictions of sales and be better prepared to offer what the customer demands. Additionally, a tailored product offering can help save an already challenged profit margin.
- Shopper convenience allows for seamless cross channel shopping. Whether in the retail store or online delivery, simplifying a complex purchase will build loyal customers. You may even consider offering access across devices, applications or marketplaces. This means that an order placed in the store can also be viewed in the online history.
Consumer demands are driving this changing market, made possible with today’s technology. Imagine all potential ways that your customer will interact with your business – both online and retail. There may be value in looking at online marketplaces to sell to potential customers. Online marketplaces can create value by capturing shoppers that are otherwise bypassing search engine results, allowing a smaller ranking e-commerce business a new opportunity.