Is your e-commerce website future ready?
According to a recent report from the US Department of Commerce, revenue generated from retail e-commerce sales in the United States was $394 billion in the year 2016, up by 15.6% over 2015. And it is estimated that this figure will be close to $700 billion by the year 2020! People are increasingly buying things over the internet, thanks to a phenomenal rise in the number of businesses adopting e-commerce, and this trend is rising steadily across the world.
This is great news for e-commerce stores, but it also means that they will have to stay ahead of the competition by ensuring their website is ready for the trends in future. Is your e-commerce store equipped to take on the challenges of a competitive marketplace? Are you ready to attract more business and keep your customers coming back for more? We bring to you some useful insights on how to make your e-commerce website future ready:
1. Get Your Website Mobile-Optimized
Did you know that by 2020, 45% of e-commerce sales will happen on the mobile? If you haven’t yet realized the power of mobile commerce, then it’s time for you to get a good look at your competition, which is probably way ahead of you in its mobile-first approach and getting a bigger share of the market already.
Optimizing your e-commerce website for the mobile should be your No.1 priority when it comes to gearing up for future trends in this growing industry. What this means is that not only should your website be easy to navigate on mobile devices, but also have features like smooth check-out process, sensible UX and proper interlink with social media. You can also have creative Micro-UX effects to improve customer engagement, such as:
• Hover Effects – These are effects that one can use to magnify, rotate, displace or transform an image/object on the website while the cursor hovers over it. For example, the user can enlarge the image of a product to see intricate details before deciding to buy it.
• Showing Products in Action – Some websites show their products in action through videos. For example, if you are selling shoes, you can show how the product looks like when worn and walked around with. Moreover, you can place a call-to-action right next to the video to take the sale forward!
Making your website mobile-friendly is something that you should have taken care of yesterday. However, it’s never too late to get it done. Remember, the key to success is Good User Experience.
2. Leverage Social Media
Social Shopping has grown rapidly in the last couple of years and is expected to make big contributions in e-commerce growth in the coming years. Consumers are easily influenced by positive product or brand reviews they see on social media. So, it goes without saying that online retailers can leverage social media to the fullest for their marketing strategies. In 2015, 5% of the total online spending came from social commerce, wherein Facebook had the highest referrals at 38%, followed by Pinterest at 29% and Twitter at 22%. The rapid increase in social traffic will further increase the conversion rate through social media referrals, and it’s time for you to use these channels for your e-commerce marketing. Some recent trends like using the new Facebook ‘buy button’ to encourage users to shop online are really catching on. Engaging with customers on Facebook and Twitter, receiving customer reviews and then sharing them, content marketing and promotional campaigns are some other ways by which you can create brand awareness and increase sales.
3. Personalize the Online Shopping Experience
Store owners can use shoppers’ information to make their experience more personal. For example, if you have an online apparel store, you can have a style quiz as part of the registration process to help them select products aligned to their liking and these can then be included in each personalized subscription box. Many e-commerce stores provide customer loyalty programs which not only enhance user experience but also leave a lasting impression on the shoppers. You don’t have to be a big brand to offer your customers a personalized experience. Small features like offering a discount coupon to users who register and provide their information on your website, providing special offers to repeat customers, awarding points for product reviews etc. go a long way in building your website’s positive image and getting more business in the future.
4. Have Customer-Friendly Policies in Place
With competition poised to get stronger in the coming years, it will become imperative for businesses to offer features that were once considered unnecessary. For example, not all websites have free shipping or return policy. However, today’s consumer has more purchasing power and knows exactly where to get a better deal. You will be surprised to know that 82% of consumers may abandon their shopping carts if free shipping is not offered or they feel that returning an item would be difficult. So, it will become all the more important to have customer-friendly store policies if you want to beat the competition.
5. Mobile and Wearable Devices Advertising
Most of us make an impulsive decision to buy a product when we find a good deal while browsing through our phones. Whether it’s that beautiful purse on sale at your favourite online store or a birthday gift you need to ship urgently to your friend. According to eMarketer, “when millennials use their smartphones for shopping, they are often pursuing a bargain. Annalect found two-thirds of U.S. millennial digital shoppers used smartphones to check/compare prices, and nearly as many to seek coupons and discounts”. In this age of digital devices, you not only should think of investing in mobile advertisement but also prepare to target the wearable gadgets segment as well. Although Google glasses, smartwatches, and other new wearables are not yet in the mainstream of things, these will soon take off as the next hot platform for digital ads. You can get creative early-on and think of ways how to accommodate this new kind of advertising in your e-commerce marketing plan!
6. Get Ready to Embrace New Digital Buyers
According to eMarketer, by 2019 the number of digital buyers is expected to cross 2 billion. So, the e-commerce industry will have a huge ocean of new users especially from Africa, Latin America, the Middle-East, and Asia-Pacific, which will be waiting for various brands to reach out to them. Presently, even the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) have less than 50% online shopping penetration when compared to UK’s 77%; with the rising economic growth in these countries, they are expected to bigger in-roads into e-commerce. As an online store owner, you will have huge opportunities to reach out to this hungry new audience and you might want to create new products that will appeal to them. You may also have to redesign your marketing strategy that will help you hit the right chord with these new users and build a loyal customer base.
You will be happy to know that nopCommerce, a leading open-source e-commerce solution, offers all the features discussed above. So, if you are looking for that perfect e-commerce solution, we at Gaja Digital, are here to help you develop a nopCommerce website that is future ready!
It’s an ever-changing online marketplace, and keeping pace with the industry trends and future needs of the consumer has become more important in this digital age. With small adjustments in your marketing strategy and the motivation to try out new tools, you can reach out to your target audience and deliver the right message across. We hope these insights will help you improve your website’s user experience and make it ready for the future of e-commerce.
Shwetha Bhat | Blogger