Even though it’s still early, what will your ecommerce strategy be like in 2017?
Staying updated with the ecommerce trends for 2017 is definitely the best way to stay ahead of the competition.
In this article, we have seven of the latest trends in ecommerce that are sure to create a significant impact in your overall strategy for 2017.
#1 Mobile engagement will continue to shape ecommerce
Mobile engagement has been taking center stage priority among ecommerce companies and this is expected as well when 2017 arrives.
According to technology research company, Gartner, ecommerce-driven revenue will rise by 50% by 2017, thanks to mobile engagement and the mobile-driven behaviors of shoppers.
Gartner also adds that at least 2 billion dollars in ecommerce will be performed exclusively by mobile digital assistants.
Mobile digital assistants can be in the form of checkout pages where fields are automatically filled in with the customer’s name or address, zip codes are provided through location services and payment details are saved to facilitate faster checkouts in the future.
Mobile content engagement will have a critical role as well in 2017.
This observation was forecasted by Forrester who also adds that mobile devices are the conduits in transforming businesses in the Age of the Customer.Did you know that the typical mobile user reaches for their devices a good 150 to 200 times in a… Click To Tweet
With this fact in mind, there is so much to gain from engaging with your mobile customers through beautiful marketing content and ads.
2017 also sees the ecommerce environment activated by location data accuracy as a way of generating mobile ad revenues.
From 4.3 billion dollars in 2014, mobile ad revenues are expected to balloon to 18.2 billion in 2019.
And while we are on the topic of mobile engagement, included in the trends in ecommerce for 2017 is the use of mobile wallets playing a critical role in boosting mobile commerce.
From a study by Walker Sands, Google Wallet is the preferred mobile wallet of choice followed by bank payment apps and a retailer’s mobile payment app.
Are mobile wallets enabled in your ecommerce strategy? An even better question is – do you have enough payment options for your customers to choose from?
This leads us now to our second ecommerce trend.
#2 More payment and shipping options should be integrated
What are the payment options you currently have on your website?
An upgrade to a more diverse set of payment options should definitely be a part of your ecommerce strategy for 2017.
Think about it.
When you have more payment options to offer, the easier for your customers to convert. Having more payment options to choose from means your customers are likely to select the payment option that suits them best.
A longer list of payment options to choose from definitely makes your customers’ lives easier.
Consider integrating V.me by Visa, Bitcoin payment options, MasterPass by MasterCard and other related payment options to your roster.
Similarly, a boost in your shipping methodologies should also be one of the ecommerce trends in 2017 that you should adopt even as early as now.
It’s always a good idea to assume high expectations from your customers than do the opposite.
If there is a general expectation for purchased items to be delivered at their doorsteps as soon as possible, have a way of delivering products to them at least within 24 hours from the time they made their purchase.
While same-day delivery services as facilitated by drones have yet to be approved and crowd sourced delivery systems need to be simplified further to make it practical and replicated, make sure to have a way of revolutionizing your shipping methods when 2017 comes.
Better shipping methods (and payment options) are surefire ways to keep your customers coming back to you to make more and more purchases.
#3 Personalized online shopping will be in
This 2017, online shopping will become more data-driven more than ever.
We all know that personalized or contextual shopping is the best way to get your customers and potential ones engaged with what you are offering.
Personalization used to be an option before, but now it is a major priority.
A user-centric approach to shopping, after all, is not only high-converting, but the best way to sustain beautiful customer journeys.
And with the availability of technology where brands and businesses can easily map out customer journeys based on past purchases, browsing habits and anticipated needs, businesses are now able to equip their customers with information they are truly looking for while shopping for products online.
If you are an Amazon regular, you’ll have an idea how personalized shopping works and how it looks like.
You are given product recommendations based on the products you previously purchased or browsed before. While the initial feeling may be of concern over security, it is important to remember that consumers today will not settle for anything less when it comes to assistance and making the whole process easy on their end.
As customers are the kings and queens of the trade, always do your best to win them over and get them to liking and buying products. Personalized shopping is definitely one of those practical and valuable ways to keep on winning them over and over again.
By 2017, expect also that big data and predictive analysis are even more destined to play bigger roles in increasing business margins.
In 2015, retailers who started using big data experienced a 60% average increase in their business margins and 1% improvement in their labor productivity.
Additionally, companies that used predictive analysis experienced 73% higher sales than those that did not.
These numbers are promising on its own and it can only be expected to rise as we all welcome 2017.
What big data and predictive analysis tools are you using now to improve the way you do business?
#4 Product returns will become streamlined
What is your current return policy?81% of customers want an easier way of returning products they just bought online. Click To Tweet
And that is according to a Forrester study. Online shopping may be filled with conveniences, but it is not without any pitfalls on its own.
And one of those more commonly shared pitfalls is the inability to experience a product first before purchasing it, inevitably resulting into high return rates.
According to Wall Street Journal, product returns can reach as high as 33%.
Are product returns keeping you from making positive shopping journeys for your customers?
Make ecommerce trends for 2017 a part of your strategy specifically the trends concerning your return policy.
A quick remedy to boost your return policy is to have a simplified process in place. Will you issue refunds immediately as the item is returned? Or will you replace items to suit the specifications of the customer?
This can make your customers feel a lot confident whenever they make a purchase.
You can also consider integrating software solutions that will allow you to automate your product returns process. Ready Returns and Ready Cloud are just some of the many softwares out there that can help streamline your process and make it more user-friendly to your customers.
Aside from making the process a lot easier for customers, retailers also benefit from the convenience of answering to their customers needs and meeting all their expectations in the process.
Think how Zappos presents their own product return policy.
Despite that they see an average return rate of 50% from their customers every year, they still manage to stick by their no-questions-asked, 365-day return policy that also includes return shipping.
#5 Social commerce will be stronger
If the transition from mobile web to store app is 2016, then social commerce is one of the ecommerce trends you should watch out for this 2017.
What is social commerce all about?
Social commerce is the ability to purchase products using a third party tool that assists in the buying and selling of products on social media.
An example of how social commerce works is when a customer can browse and compare products on Pinterest, and then follow it up with a purchase made on Pinterest itself.
Below is a sample ecommerce flow on Pinterest.
If you are still selling products solely on your website, then you might want to consider expanding your ecommerce reach on social media even before 2017 arrives.
Aside from reaching a wider customer base, doing social commerce allows you to make smarter and more informed inventory and product development strategies by having your customers vote on the products they want to purchase.
Social commerce also boosts the number of conversations between yourself and your customers, and as a result, increases the market for your products, helping you reach customers you may not otherwise tap if your products are not available on social media.
If you are keen on getting started with social commerce, there are tons of tools you can use to help you get started.
Curalate is a social commerce service that allows your users to turn their photos on Instagram into clicks which in turn helps generate higher conversions.
As more of your users engage with you through likes and comments, this helps generate usable social collages, which can be shared in boosting conversions.
Major brands, such as Forever 21, Airbnb and Crate & Barrel, are using Curalate.
Another social commerce tool is Soldsie, which allows businesses to gain valuable, high-conversion referrals from their social media accounts, such as Instagram to improve ROI and click-through rates.
If you need more inspiration at how social commerce works and how it can work for you, check out Nordstrom’s Instagram store on Like2Buy.
Aside from showcasing the timelessness of its designs, their Instagram store also boosts brand ambassadorship and social referrals. If your business is into fashion or food, this approach to social commerce can definitely help you reach more potential customers.
#6 Customer journeys are poised to be story-centered
Gone are the days when a bulleted list of product features and a 3-sentence description of a product are considered enough to educate shoppers to encourage them to make a purchase.
Trends in ecommerce for 2017 that you should very well prepare for is to make your customer journeys filled with stories as much as possible.
When we use storytelling in leading our customers through the shopping process, we do not only educate them of what our product can do and what benefits can be derived from it, but also to keep them entertained throughout the product browsing and research process.
Create story-centered customer journeys this 2017.
You can start off with situations that they probably can relate to before introducing your product and your unique selling proposition.
Check out the example below for some inspiration.
Be as descriptive as you can as possible. Appealing to your readers’ imaginations can help stir in them a connection with your product. They might realize that it is something they like and something they need to have.
Similar to the storytelling approach below, make use of adjectives that best describe your product.
Give your potential customers an experience of your product with immersive descriptions. Also, don’t forget to make it scannable much like the format followed by the example above. This is not only beneficial for readability, but also for SEO purposes.
Another storytelling approach that you can use to draw people to your product or service is to get current, happy customers to write a story of their experience with your business.
And a company that immediately comes to mind when it comes to this kind of storytelling is Airbnb.
Airbnb’s storytelling approach is definitely focused on people – people who had their homes listed and travelers who went there.
This storytelling approach allows them to demonstrate how connecting people together is important to their business. It also appears to be genuine and very human, and we can say that it works well given the success of the brand.
Do a similar approach for your business and start selling moments.
Encourage your customers to come up with testimonials, publish them on your website or on a company blog dedicated solely for your community of happy customers.
#7 Omni-channel fraud management will be a new standard
Given how widely adopted it is, omnichannel marketing is definitely the new normal in ecommerce.
Because…At least 85% of shoppers start a purchase on one device and finalize it in another device. Click To Tweet
And of course, since multi-channel shoppers purchase goods online more often than single-channel shoppers, businesses stand to gain if they make it possible to shop for their items as seamlessly as possible across different devices.
Of course, this behavior now leads us to one of the trends in ecommerce that’s worth preparing for this 2017 and that is omni-channel fraud management.
The truth is, omnichannel marketing and retailing is a complicated business. From operations to order fulfillment, omnichannel marketing is very vulnerable to manipulation.Only 60% of ecommerce businesses have a consolidated fraud management in place across all their… Click To Tweet
This is based on a 2015 study by Forrester.
If you want to start 2017 as optimistic as possible, make sure that omnichannel fraud management is part of your ecommerce strategy.
Fraud management tools from Kount, Maxmind and Signifyd are just some of the companies you can invest on to boost your business’ security. You can check out our guide as well on ecommerce security for more tips.
When fraudulent activities are easier to identify and quickly acted upon, this will definitely result in more secure and more positive shopping experiences.
Bonus: Greater investments on single-view business solutions
Are you still managing your online and offline systems separately?
This 2017, be ready to make things smoother and easier to facilitate on your end with the rise of single-view and cloud-based business management solutions.
Think about it.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a single view access of all the marketing tools and channels you are using to keep your business running?
From sales and inventory to customer service and after-sales work, a modern approach to your ecommerce strategy will definitely help you grow your business as you get to save time from doing work that cloud-based technology can handle for you.
Retail Anywhere, Netsuite and iVend Retail are examples of companies today that offer cloud-based business management solutions. These are definitely worth checking out and have as a partner as 2017 approaches.
Staying ahead of the latest trends in ecommerce for 2017 is truly one of the best ways you can do to lead the ecommerce pack.
As a quick recap, here are the 7 ecommerce trends you should remember and implement as 2017 approaches:
- Ecommerce will be largely shaped by mobile engagement so make sure that your content, ads and shopping journeys are well supported on mobile devices.
- Integrate mobile wallets, have more payment options and offer diverse shipping methods as well. If you can fulfill same-day delivery services to meet your customers’ expectations, why not?
- Personalized or contextual shopping is not going anywhere – most especially in 2017. Tools like big data and predictive analytics are reliable tools that will take your business to higher ground.
- Make it easy for your customers to return products. Streamline it with a no-questions-asked policy similar to Zappos.
- Invest on social commerce. You might be missing out on a huge growth potential if your customers are not able to get to know and purchase your product via social media.
- Make customer journeys story-centered. From descriptive product content to customer experiences and testimonials, let stories and moments play huge roles in your content marketing needs.
- And finally, invest on omni-channel fraud management tools. Safety should always be a priority.
2016 has been an exciting year for ecommerce, and 2017 will definitely bring even more innovation and a brand new set of standards in the industry.
What about you – how are you preparing for 2017? Any other ecommerce trends you are keeping up with that we did not cover? We’d love to hear them in the comments section below!