These trends have a global reach and don’t seem to be disappearing any time soon. As a Small Business Owner looking to increase sales, strengthen your brand and drive more traffic to your Store, it’s crucial that you take note and think about how you can integrate some of these techniques into your own E-Commerce Strategy.
So, featuring everything from mobile optimization and shopping carts, through to mind-blowing user experience, here are the top E-Commerce trends of 2017 that you should absolutely take notice of!
Make Sure Your E-Commerce Is Mobile-Friendly
How much easier is it to visit an Online Store, scan the products for what you like, see the sizes on offer and then click to checkout – all in just a few short minutes! Online Stores optimized for smart devices mean simpler shopping. And simpler shopping means more satisfied customers.
A 2017 study found that 19.4 million people in the country were mobile phone users, with more than 35% of those making E-Commerce purchases via hand held devices. When you think about it, that’s a huge portion of your potential market! So if your Online Store isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re cutting out 19.4 million people who might otherwise purchase from you.
If you want to go one step further and increase your sales on mobile devices even more, create a clever Email campaign to lure customers back to your site if they visited and failed to buy. You can send an Email featuring products the user spent time looking at on a mobile device, as it may well be opened when they are on desktop and ready to convert. This provides the perfect ‘slight nudge’ that reminds the shopper of your product and can often lead to a purchase.
In reality, some customers just don’t have the time to call or visit your brick-and-mortar store, or simply can’t be bothered, which is where your E-Commerce Store comes in. It’s simpler, easily accessible and less time consuming for your customers. But with so many people browsing and shopping on mobile devices, it’s crucial to optimize this element of your Site.
Delivery and returns have always been one of the main issues regarding E-Commerce shopping. After all, who wants to deal with the pain of returning an item that has been paid for. Online Businesses are now offering the same-day service to offset this issue and also improve overall lead times. Amazon’s ‘Amazon Prime’ is at the forefront of this service, but they’re not the only ones adopting this instant turnaround method.
If your E-Commerce service can do just that, then the chances of a return purchase by the same customer, or one that’s been referred to you by a happy client, bodes very well.
Say Hello to Artificial Intelligence
Otherwise known as ‘chatbots’, artificial intelligence has taken the E-Commerce World by storm this year. These fully automated chat agents can answer most of your customers questions, and can simplify and personalise their entire shopping experience.
Once thought of as tacky and clunky, this form of technology has come a long way, becoming interactive and interesting, as well as informative. In fact, E-Commerce stores that utilize this tool experience an average spend of 5-30% more, compared to Sites without it. Furthermore, the buyer conversion rate is 5 to 10 times higher following a chat session.
Embracing this artificial intelligence acts just like a welcoming salesperson at your shop door; they make your visitor feel at home, offer helpful advice that speeds up the buying process and can strengthen the overall ‘voice’ and branding of your Business.
Social Sharing is Caring
Social Media has been popular for many years and the numbers say so too. A recent survey by a US Online Marketing Company found that of 357 respondees, 52% of them said they are currently seeing a positive Return On Investment from Social Media Marketing, while another 65% said Social Media will become even more important over the course of the next five years.
One of the best ways to generate more interest in your E-Commerce Store is to utilize multiple Social Channels, where you can share your products and advertise sales, promotions and events. E-Commerce Stores in the fashion, health, fitness and beauty industries will find themselves well positioned to advertise their wares on platforms such as Pinterest and, one of the fastest growing platforms, Instagram. This photo-based Social Media channel is the perfect place to show-off your beautiful products and grow your brand.
Social Media also allows for more Social Sharing and engagement between yourself and your customers. Satisfied customers will post photos of themselves with your products and recommend them publicly on their Social Media Accounts, making your Business not only more ‘findable’Online, but also more appealing to prospective buyers. This is exposure in the Online community that can’t be bought!
Video Content Does Influence
As mobile devices, WiFi availability and video-sharing capabilities become more advanced, users are embracing video as a simpler, more engaging way to digest content.
Video content is a great way to give your Store visitors an up-close-and-personal view of your Business. It helps them get to know you better, increases their trust in your brand and allows you to offer them useful information they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. For example, if you’re a Small Business Owner that sells kitchenware, videos showing the visitor how the product functions is a much more effective way to promote the product than a gallery of images.
Further to this, video content can often increase an E-Commerce Store’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO), particularly when hosted via YouTube. Search Engines, such as Google, rate quality video content highly, meaning you’re giving your Store the best possible chance of ranking highly in search results.
Make the Buying Experience a Memorable One
With E-Commerce now such a dominant purchasing method, customers are looking for more than just an online catalogue of products for them to click on, followed by entering shipment and payment details.
Unlike the larger, multinational retailers, Small Businesses like yours can afford to tinker with the Website to make the user experience more enjoyable and personalised. This won’t just increase your likability and strengthen your branding, but will also serve to increase both your customer engagement and number of repeat buyers. Yes, your customers might be the ‘get-in-get-out’ types, but they still want the unique buying experience which sets your brand apart from others.
Kiss the Cash (And the Wallet!) Goodbye!
The upgrades to consumers’ mobile devices will spell the end of the traditional wallet for many people in 2017, especially since mobile purchases will be possible using more than just a smart phone. Watches, rings and other device ‘wearables’ now allow the wearer to make payments too!
Yep, these days consumers can already make many purchases and transactions without even touching their wallets. For example, in 2016, MasterCard announced the launch of ‘selfie pay’, a service that confirms a user’s identity using a self-portrait commonly called a ‘selfie’. While the service is currently only used to verify online purchases, its potential uses for cashless transactions are plain to see.
We’re not suggesting that you need to get as high tech as MasterCard – though it would be cool! – but as a Small E-Commerce Store Owner looking to simplify and optimize your shoppers Online experience, you need to embrace this way of purchasing too.
While every Small Business shares the same goals of making a profit, not every business will use the same E-Commerce Marketing Strategies to get there. While some of these techniques and trends might not be right for your Business at this point in time, it pays to keep them in the back of your mind for when you’re ready for expansion or experimentation. But with E-Commerce sales projected to rise by 21% in 2018, you shouldn’t wait too long to put yourself out there and try something new.
With competition in the Online Market so fierce it’s vital not to let your Small Business fall behind! So, take heed of the trends and optimize your Online Store to really increase sales, boost your branding and create an amazing Online user experience that will have your customers coming back for more!