E-Commerce Trends : Preparing for 2017
Greetings from SynCommerce! Wish you a very happy new year. Hope you are settling well into the new year and are ready to make this year the best one so far! We are here to provide an overview of the major trends in 2016 and a ready reckoner manual to make 2017 an amazing one.
Highlights of trends from 2016:
- Mobile is king: Mobile devices accounted for a little over $24 billion in holiday sales from November 1 to December 20, according to research by Business Insider. They also accounted for 31% of total online retail sales in 2016, with the rest coming from laptops and desktops. That’s up from 28% online retail sales in 2015 and 19% in 2014. And this number is only expected to grow in 2017. You simply cannot ignore mobile commerce anymore. If you are, you are probably losing customers to competitors who aren’t. The user experience for your website should not only be flawless and intuitive on desktops but also on mobile devices.
- Website speed and performance: Everything from design to product selection to website speed helps to provide the customer the best experience possible. No one cares how beautiful your website is, if it does not load fast enough. Giving your customers a flawless, seamless and effortless user experience no matter which device they use is going to improve your overall sales. There are a huge variety of statistics linking speed and performance with revenue. According to a research by Trainline, which is UKs 5th biggest retailer, reducing page load time by 0.3 seconds resulted in a net increase of £8 million in revenue. With this in mind, you should be setting performance targets for your website speed (maximum time to load for pages) and investing over time to meet these targets.
- Personalisation and product recommendations: While personalisation and customized product recommendation is not new, however in the recent years, tools like Nosto and Ometria make it easy to provide a personalized email marketing campaign, social advertising program or on-site product list. Personalisation is proven to increase Average Order Value (AOV), E-Commerce Conversion Rate (ECR) as well as decrease Cart Abandonment and Time to Purchase.
Now that we have covered some of the major trends in the past year, let us see how you can prepare for 2017 E-Commerce. Here are some trends to expect in the coming year and some tips to help you maximize your success:
- Social buying and the influence of Social Media: Social commerce will continue to grow in 2017. The ability to purchase products on Social Media whether it is Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram will continue to become more extensive this year. Social selling helps you reach a wider base of customers and you make it easier for a customer to purchase products without having to navigate to your website. As millions of people log onto Facebook every day, they can now interact with brands 24/7, discuss grievances directly with the sales representative , comment on the latest trends with friends and post pictures of their favorite products. Peer recommendations is crucial when making buying decisions. Allowing customers to not just read and write reviews but enabling them to share them with their friends helps publicise your brand more. Such word-of-mouth marketing boosts trust and publicises your brand like wildfire.
- Quicker delivery: Customers expect goods to be delivered as quickly as possible. A delivery time of 5-7 days usually seems like forever. Amazon has also been experimenting with using drones to shorten the delivery time. So what can you do to improve delivery speed? The two factors – shipping time and cost – are in fact closely linked. The farther one needs to ship, usually the higher the cost. Hence the easiest way to deliver faster is to reduce the average distance between where your products are shipped from and your customers. Putting your warehouses at multiple locations closer to your customers is a direct way to reduce this average distance.
- Encourage more reviews: It has been proven time and again that online shoppers rely heavily on their peers recommendations of your products. In other words, if shoppers see positive reviews on your products, they are more likely to take the plunge and purchase it. Here are some tips to encourage reviews:
- Send follow-up emails after a purchase asking customers to review the product and ask them if it met their expectations.
- Offer incentives in exchange for reviews. For example, “Review your recent purchase and get a coupon for 10% off your next order”. However, make sure you emphasise you are looking for authentic reviews and not fake ones.
- Use tools such as Kudobuzz that are used by numerous businesses worldwide to get more verifiable reviews. They provide a widget that collects reviews from various social channels and displays them on your website. You can also respond to reviews and questions directly via their widget.
- Prepare for the biggest online shopping days in 2017: Here is a list of some important shopping days to look out for and add to your e-tailer’s calendar.
- 14th February – Valentine’s Day: This can be a big day if you sell items that are in anyway considered to be romantic.
- 14th May/ 26th March – Mother’s Day: Please note that in 2017, Mother’s Day will fall on 26th March in the UK and on 14th May everywhere else. This shopping holiday is second only to Christmas in generating sales.
- 18th June – Father’s Day: While the expected traffic during Father’s Day is lower than that for Mother’s Day, it is still a big day for e-commerce retailers. The total expected e-commerce sales in 2016 for Father’s Day was $14.3 billion as compared to $21.4 billion for Mother’s Day. That’s indeed huge and you need to be prepared to capitalize on it.
- 24th November – Black Friday: This is typically seen as the start of the Christmas Shopping season and is a good benchmark to ensure that your website is fully prepared for the shopping season. Send out emails a few weeks before and run a countdown to create a sense of urgency.
- 27th November – Cyber Monday: Implement a Cyber Monday landing page to capitalize on the shoppers who land on your page looking for Cyber Monday deals.
- Christmas & New Year – December Holiday Season: The entire December holiday season sees a surge in sales ending with Christmas and New Year. Sales peak around 14th December, perhaps one of the last days for shopping online with enough time for gifts to be delivered before Christmas Day. The second smaller peak is on 19th December, which is still just about enough time to ship for Christmas although slightly riskier.
We hope these tips will be helpful as you prepare to make the most out of this year. As always you can rely on our support. SynCommerce is committed to making the process of selling online easier for our customers. We will be making some great updates to our product this year. We shall be rolling out phase 2 of Amazon integration soon, followed by revamping our analytics to provide you with better customer data. We are excited about the journey ahead and we are happy to see the positive impact on many of our customers. Happy SynCing!