Technology seems to change in the blink of an eye these days, and the same goes for the e-commerce. From one-click purchasing, to same-day delivery, consumers are readily embracing every new trend that makes their shopping experience easy, quick, and efficient. And, with some of e-commerce’s biggest players reshaping and defining the e-commerce market, the overall successes and failures are creating the standard for dos and don’ts in the sector.
However, it’s important for your brand to keep up with the constant changes in the industry. This will allow you to offer your customers the absolute best when it comes to their online shopping experience. Plus, staying on top of these trends will help keep you one step ahead of the competition.
So, let’s take a look at five key e-commerce trends that every CMO should have their eyes and ears on.
Amazon Is Bridging The Gap Between Physical And Digital Stores
It’s no secret that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers chains have been struggling since the dawn of the Digital Age. Major retailers like Macy’s, Payless ShoeSource, and RadioShack—all of whom were once a thriving force to be reckoned with in better days—have closed locations in droves. Plus, the overall list of retailers going bust continues to increase.
Retrospectively, e-commerce brands like Amazon have continued to expand their online presence, often buying out some of retail’s biggest brands and shifting their strategy to be more e-commerce focused. Amazon’s recent $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods has consumers, business leaders, and investors curious to see how this will affect the market.
With that said, Amazon also made waves when they decided to open a brick-and-mortar book store in Seattle a few years ago. This store, however, is not your typical retail book shop. Amazon is integrating their online data and best practices into the physical book store presence. The entire store is laid out with digital in mind—from a price scanner that provides prices in real time to data-driven displays.
Essentially, it appears that Amazon is looking for ways to bridge the gap between physical and digital. Even with the Whole Foods acquisition, their latest strategy includes providing Amazon lockers in Whole Foods stores so customers can order online and quickly pick up at the physical location.
Mobile And Internet Usage Continues To Rise, Along With E-Commerce Apps
According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research, roughly three-quarters of Americans (77%) now own a smartphone, and nearly nine out of ten Americans are online (which has almost doubled since the early 2000s).
The increase in mobile usage is causing e-commerce brands to shift their focus to create specialized apps. Many companies are now creating apps that consumers can use to purchase products—and, in some cases, even use AR or VR to virtually try a company’s products. There’s also an uptick in incentivizing consumers for app use with loyalty programs, special coupons, and other savings that are in-app exclusive.
Shipping And Delivery Matters
Shipping and delivery can be a deal breaker for consumers searching and shopping online. A recent study showed that 85% of Amazon users were hesitant to purchase a product because of high shipping costs.
Aside from costs, consumers will also take into account:
- Does the online retailer offer free or low-cost shipping?
- How long will it take to receive the product?
- How easy is it to return the product if it’s not what was expected?
Most online shoppers will browse several different websites to compare shipping rates and delivery times, along with return options, before finalizing a purchase. If the shipping seems like it’s too expensive or too much of a hassle, they may just head on into a brick-and-mortar store instead.
Walmart Is Playing Catch-Up
For years, many of retail’s biggest names have turned a blind eye or put minimal effort into their online retail and marketing efforts. The result has been costly for many, including the retail giant Walmart. However, over the past year, Walmart has gotten serious about its investment in e-commerce and has acquired companies like Jet.com and Modcloth.com to help enhance its e-commerce presence and boost online revenue. Walmart isn’t the only traditional brick-and-mortar retailer that’s been scrambling to increase and refine its online shopping presence, but it’s one of the biggest names.
Providing A Seamless, Omni Channel Shopping Experience
If there’s one thing consumers want above all, it’s a seamless browsing and shopping experience—whether it’s online or in the physical store. Consumers will often abandon online carts, and much of it has to do with the ease or efficiency related to the purchasing experience. Shoppers are more likely to abandon a cart if they have to go through multiple web pages, the connection is slow, or there’s too much information to fill out before finalizing a purchase.
In efforts to reduce a number of abandoned carts and to boost conversions, online retailers are looking for the best ways to make online shopping within their apps as quick and simple as possible. This is often done by providing an omnichannel shopping experience. This type of experience ensures that whether a customer is shopping in the store, online via a browser, or from an app on their smartphone, the experience will be seamless across all channels and platforms.
If you’re in the business of selling anything, you need to know about the latest and greatest trends when it comes to e-commerce. Marketers of every level—including CMOs—need to keep in tune with what is going on in the market in order to remain competitive and to keep customers constantly coming back for more.