Ecommerce is well on its way to almost completely replacing traditional physical retail outlets. While there will likely always be a certain measure of demand for in-person shopping, consumers live online these days, and the thought of a retail business neglecting its website as a direct sales channel is unthinkable.
Online store service provider Oberlo estimates that there will be 2.14 billion digital buyers in 2021. That’s around 27% of the world’s population. Given the strides that technology is making and the upward trajectory trends of ecommerce as an industry, we’re likely to see continued growth for years to come.
Business leaders in ecommerce are well-versed in handling disruption. From consumer behavior, fulfillment logistics, to digital marketing, shop owners have successfully dealt with plenty of headaches that have been thrown at them.
Here are three important trends developing in the industry that you need to be aware of.
The need for convenience
Start talking about “convenience,” and many ecommerce shop owners will think about free next-day shipping. Consumers expect this service as standard in some parts of the world, and offering instant shipping isn’t as much a value add as a core part of your business.
These days, convenience is more about giving consumers the choice of shopping wherever they want, whenever they want. Thanks to the explosion of online mega-retail platforms like Amazon, consumers expect to be presented with multiple products that complement their original purchase.
In addition to this, they’re conditioned to receive suggestions of similar products and package deals. Fulfilling these needs requires significant infrastructure investment and deep inventory analysis. Present your offerings through social media, your website, and your app.
Think about partnering with other companies that produce complementary products to enhance your customer’s shopping experience. Many companies have less than optimal buying experiences. Conduct a deep dive analysis of the customer journey to reveal any flaws.
For instance, are you making it as easy as possible for the customer to pay via one-click settings? How user-friendly is your shopping cart page, and does it clearly display complementary products? Fix these inefficiencies, and you’ll delight your customers with great experiences.
Shoppable social media ads
GenZ is coming of age, and research shows that nearly half of them spend 10 hours of their day on their electronic devices. About 85% of them learn of new products through social media. As a result, the number of shoppable ads on social media has increased and will soon become an indispensable part of ecommerce.
These days, organic reach on social media is pretty much non-existent, thanks to the way platforms make money. Publishing paid ads on social media is far more challenging these days thanks to cost-per-click (CPC) values increasing via competition.
Before publishing any ad, you must conduct a thorough analysis of your audience and get to know their buying triggers. As little as five years ago, ecommerce owners could instantly publish an ad on Facebook and expect the clicks to roll in. These days, buyers are more selective, since they’ve become desensitized to ads.
In addition to audience research, competitor research is essential. You need to understand who you’re going up against in a niche or a market before entering it. For instance, you might want to enter the Spanish market with your product. You’ll need to first figure out what the top ecommerce websites in Spain are before you decide to target ads to consumers in that location.
What’s more, when evaluating ecommerce marketing opportunities, it can make a big difference if you have the ability to check traffic to websites. Keyword research tools also uncover the major traffic source your competition is relying on and their referral networks. Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are the best ways of building brand credibility quickly, but you must research the referrer’s traffic sources and the quality of their engagement.
Experiment with a variety of videos in your ads. There is no dearth of choice in terms of formats available. You can publish unboxing videos, explainers, tutorials, demonstrations, user interviews, and so on. If you lack video content, publish the pictures of your product as a slideshow and upload that as a video.
A/B test your CTAs and invest heavily in the social media shopping experience. If the trends are anything to go by, most consumers will soon be shopping through them.
Embrace data analytics
Analytics has always been around in ecommerce, thanks to paid ads. However, most ecommerce owners focus on basic metrics like CPC, CTRs, and COA. These days, you have to go granular and understand your customer using the data they’re giving you.
For instance, when a user logs into your store, do you know how likely they are to abandon their cart? You should also know their audience segment and tailor marketing campaigns to them accordingly. Segmentation is becoming increasingly important since customization has become the norm in ecommerce.
Large companies such as Amazon have millions of customer segments and tailor remarketing campaigns in different ways. Some consumers prefer regular follow-up, while some like to be left alone. Are you customizing your campaigns like this?
Customization begins with reviewing your buyer personas and referencing them with the data you have. Examine your persona questions and data collection methods. Note the context in which you’re collecting data as well. For instance, you might ask customers about product enhancement options but neglect to ask them whether they want an entirely different product.
Integrate your CRM systems with your CMS to make sure marketing and customer information are readily available when you’re running campaigns. Invest in infrastructure that allows you to do this if your resources are currently lacking.
Flexibility in marketing informed by analytics is the way forward, and ecommerce owners must react quickly to this trend.
If ecommerce history has taught us anything, it’s that disruption is constant. There are always new solutions appearing on the market that change consumer behaviors that force ecommerce owners to adapt.
Whether it’s a new social media platform, a meme trend, or increasing social responsibility, prioritize the three trends above in everything you do.
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The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the CEOWORLD magazine.
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