The landscape of eCommerce is constantly changing. From commercial heavyweights like Amazon and Alibaba making customer service and shipping more efficient to the standardization of mobile shopping, 2016 saw rapid and dramatic shifts in how consumers are interacting with online stores.
Here are the top eCommerce trends that developed and evolved this year:
It’s no secret that many consumers shop around for the best possible deals. With countless online stores and sellers, bargain hunting can get a little overwhelming with basic organic searches.
However, with major eCommerce sites such as Amazon have successfully consolidated thousands of sellers on a universal sales platform. Consumers are more likely to purchase with comprehensive online megastores that can have everything from this season’s hottest apparel, household appliances, electronics, and more straight to their homes with unbeatable prices and fast shipping times.
CNBC recently reported on a Bloomreach study that found, “roughly 55 percent of shoppers are turning to Amazon over Google in their initial searches.”
While this is a staggering percentage, it comes as no surprise that a company that offers such complete offerings accounts for a majority of online consumer traffic.
Online / Offline Integration
Integrating with brick & mortar has been helping small business succeed in this new age of monolithic eCommerce retail.
Boutiques, eateries, and similar small businesses all over the world are utilizing portable payment gateway that connects via USB to online sales interfaces like BigCommerce and Shopify, allowing entrepreneurs to manage their online stores and brick & mortar locations from one convenient platform.
The Return of the Pop-Up
If you were an avid internet user through the mid-2000’s, you may have gleefully said goodbye to pop-up ads as anti-spam and pop-up software helped consumers sift past annoying ads. However, 2016 has seen a rise in more intuitive, benefit-driven marketing on home pages.
These days, many online stores use pop-ups sparingly, but effectively, to drive engagement specifically for promotions. According to CopyBlogger.com, on-site pop-ups have the power to boost email opt-ins. With engagement in mind, these types of ads can have substantially higher click-through rates compared to other ads and can increase email subscribers like never before.
The Necessity of Mobile
While certain naysayers saw the rise of mobile web surfing as a passing fad, 2016 has seen that mobile web traffic and eCommerce sales are only growing as our smart mobile technology advances with each new iPhone, tablet, and Android release.
This year alone, SmartInsights found that 80% of internet users own and operate smartphones, which has led to a rapid spike in mobile eCommerce. Internetretailer.com projects that sales through mobile devices will reach $523 billion by 2020. With this trend in mind, it’s vitally important for retailers across all industries to invest in their mobile-friendly online stores.
While analytics and reporting have typically been aggregated at the beginning or end of the month for many businesses, advances in analytics have seen many companies utilizing real-time data to directly affect sales as they happen.
Platforms such as Shopify can immediately track when and where sales are coming from. Along with Yahoo Merchant integrations, it’s possible for stores of all sizes to track shoppers based on their location, which pages brought them to a certain website, and how long they’re staying on-site.
This data can immediately inform business owners of popular products, pages that could be optimized, and other opportunities for growth.
The Evolution of eCommerce
Internet sales are only evolving as a commercial force to be reckoned with. With advances in technological integration, mobile sales, analytics, and customer experience, going online is quickly becoming the most convenient way to shop.