Online shopping has gained momentum this year and it’s not expected to slow down any time soon. According to The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2017 was $105.7 billion, an increase of 4.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016. 53% of global internet users have made an online purchase in 2016- that’s approximately 1 billion people.
E-commerce sales in the first quarter of 2017 accounted for 8.4 percent of total retail sales in the US – lots of room for growth! There are few strategies that the retailers may need to consider.
Being Online and responsive
This is going to be minimal surviving criteria. If you are not online then you are not present! Most of the customers prefer buying online. These days, 51% of Americans prefer to shop online rather than in stores. The user interface cannot be compromised as well. Studies show that 38% of people will leave a website if they find the layout unattractive. The other thing to look at is how quick and easy it is to find what you want on the mobile site. Implementing more responsive design both on desktop and mobile is important. If Your Site Is Slow, People Will Just Leave.
Multichannel and product reviews
Uncertainty being a huge obstacle to online purchasing, most of the buyers would read reviews about the product before buying it. The more information there is available about a product like its pictures, reviews, descriptions, specifications, videos etc., the less reluctant people will be to buy it online. By identifying where you audience is and by going multichannel on social platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. can help you connect with the buyers. If the product is not socially accepted then most likely it’s not going to be a success among the new generation. It is time that retailers Invest in SEO and content marketing to increase their visibility.
Real time customization and predictive analysis
With the help of Big data analytics, retailers can offer predictive analysis by gathering as much information so as to give the customer a dynamic shopping experience that adapts to the shoppers in real time. Each shopper will have access to unique content and product recommendations based on their preferences, geographic location, market trends, past purchases, and brand interactions.
Hello Artificial intelligence
Retailers are implementing Chatbots, a fully automated chat agent that will answer their questions and act as the first point of contact with the brand. A Chabot increases the number of platforms on which a brand can transact by offering guided, interactive browsing at all times. Most of newer technology products like Snapchat, Virtual Reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and Voice integrated technology like Alexa are helping brands to engage with their customers.
Logistics – delivery and returns
One of the biggest challenges and opportunities in eCommerce is related to logistics and delivery. 92% of US customers would consider delivery within 2 days to be ‘fast delivery’. Many stores will now operate out of smaller spaces, which will serve as showrooms, fitting rooms, or drop-off points. Customers will be able to order the product they want after having felt and seen it. 30% of products bought online are returned – and users expect this process to be easy! Drone delivery might still be a pipe dream, but 2017 should see the rise of local drop-off points for online orders and same-day delivery. UberRush and Postmates are two of the brands looking to cash in on this e-commerce trend.
Find clever ways to up-sell and cross-sell to boost your profits
Up-selling and cross-selling is the science of introducing customers to better or complementary products to what they are currently interested in. Up-selling is where the seller encourages the customer to spend more by recommending a higher priced alternative of the current consideration. A cross selling is where you recommend your customer to buy a product that compliments their existing product, but is from a different category. Retailers must find innovative ways to up-sell and cross-sell. This will increase the customer value, retail revenue and profits.
Bye-bye wallet – the beginning for the end of wallet and cash
Consumers these days can already make many purchases and transactions without ever taking out their wallets. The upgrades to consumers’ mobile devices and merchants’ point-of-sale systems will spell the end of the traditional wallet for many people in 2017. E-wallet is playing a big role in online payment options all around the world – a classic example being Alipay in china.
With tons of customer-appealing ecommerce businesses the only filtering option for the consumer would remain the pricing. Whether its offline or online channel, the product will be sold only if it has a competitive price. To price intelligently is a skill that can’t be overlooked. The availability of actionable insights around competitor price, promotion and stock availability for effective decision making to increase sales will prove crucial to success for retailers in 2017.
Shoppers today have a lot of choices; there are more ways than ever to find and explore products. The reality is that we use a mix of both online and offline activities as we shop, and the line between them is starting to disappear and a more dynamic and personalized experience is developing.