Two-time award winners of the Magento Imagine Award for Excellence in Mobile Experience, JH know the importance of keeping one step ahead of the customer in terms of trending behaviors. Here they take a look at what’s what, and what’s next, in ecommerce.
If you’re in ecommerce, you’re in an industry that’s growing like no other. And one that’s constantly updating with improved discovery, technology, logistics, and awesome features that have real impact on customer experience. But, you don’t need us to tell you that competition in ecommerce is fierce. So, what can you do to make sure you get customers returning time and time again? We’ve put together three key ecommerce trends you need to be on top of.
Trend #1: Mobile usage continues going up and up (and up)
Assuming you haven’t been living on another planet since 2010, you’ll know that mobile is now intrinsic to the shopping experience for most. Last year saw the shift to over 50% of traffic on the web now coming from mobile devices. The average household has between 7-8 internet connected devices, and so thinking of solely, or even mainly, the desktop as your route to sales is a mistake you just can’t afford to make.
There’s been some scepticism around the power of mobile in ecommerce, because typically, mobile traffic has focused on browsing there, but the purchasing has continued to be more prevalent on desktop. It’s true, smartphones have the lowest conversion rate of any device, BUT websites with higher mobile engagement get more conversions overall. And, what’s more, Google’s latest algorithm update favors mobile-first sites.
At JH, we make sure we design and build for mobile sites that boost conversions then and there, as well as being an intrinsic part of the research stage. We do this by making sure wherever a customer is, whatever device they’re on, they’re browsing a site fit perfectly for it. With seamless navigation, involving less steps to check out and payment, the customer is driven to make the purchase quickly, and not waiting to be elsewhere to do so.
Trend #2: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Once the stuff of science fiction only, Artificial Intelligence is now reaching the point where it impacts people’s daily lives. Perhaps most obviously, the rise of digital assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google’s Assistant have got people used to talking to machines, and relying on them for everything from finding out the weather to calling for pizza. Retailers who don’t act to leverage the benefits of AI, now risk being left behind.
This will impact ecommerce more and more, especially in the awareness and research phases of the customer journey, as the beginning stage of the research process may be increasingly conducted by chatting to a personal assistant. Different assistants will respond in different ways: Echo will default to Amazon product pages and reviews, while Google Home will list the top result of the search page.
Online retailers are becoming increasingly sophisticated with their AI capabilities in capturing the attention of buyers, and one of those approaches is known as “conversational commerce”.
You’ll have probably engaged in these techniques as a consumer already – chatbots, and instant chats are both examples now utilized regularly across many ecommerce stores. They are a must for ecommerce businesses laying out plans – they can save both consumers and retailers masses of time and improve customer satisfaction all round.
Trend #3: The monumental rise of Click & Collect
Over the last few years, Click & Collect is one delivery trend that has gone from being something only the major retailers could afford to offer, to a service that’s now accessible and affordable for smaller retailers. And, what’s the customer’s response to that? A massive thumbs up!
There’s been a huge increase in the numbers of online shoppers using such services. In 2015, 73% of UK shoppers used an online Click & Collect service. And in last year’s peak holiday season, 69% of US shoppers who used Click & Collect also purchased additional items when picking up in store; resulting in increased revenue to those of you offering this service. All signs this year point towards another huge surge in the popularity of this delivery method.
One of the main reasons that some shoppers choose to spend their money in store rather than online is the immediacy of the purchase. As soon as you’ve paid for an item, it’s in your hands. Smart ecommerce retailers put a lot of thought and strategic planning into mimicking this part of the high-street experience as far as they can. They know that long gone are the days when customers would be prepared to wait in all day for an item - they need your delivery to fit into their daily schedule.