5 Ecommerce Trends You Should Pay Attention to in 2018
6 minutes Read
The first usable mobile web browsers hit the market nearly 10 years ago, so it’s crazy to think that mobile is still an issue for anyone. But in reality, this is the big fish to fry for most retailers in 2017 for a few reasons. First, the number of people using mobile is still on the rise, and is expected to overtake desktop in the next year or so. Second, Google’s rules are becoming increasingly mobile-centric. So major SEO rules have already kicked in (which can help or hurt you), so there is no time like the present to ensure your mobile site is not only compliant with Google but also easy to use.
What are the major issues you should be addressing this year? First of all, at the very least, ensure that you have a responsive site as soon as possible. Keep in mind, however, that responsive sites, although convenient, are not necessarily the end-all, be-all for ecommerce. Responsive sites do scale the interface to make them more usable on smaller screens, but there can still be usability challenges and it’s not always the fault of a faulty or bad responsive design. Page speed, for example, may still suffer unnecessarily due to the underlying code base or the size of images, for example. Dedicated mobile sites are more time-consuming and expensive to manage, but for now, that should be the goal as they will allow you more flexibility to cater to mobile users. If that thought is still hard to swallow, consider this; in the coming months and years, most of your shoppers will be visiting on phones and tablets. In five years, it might seem silly to have a dedicated desktop site.
And let’s not forget about apps. At current, apps are really only for loyal fans, or people who buy from you on a frequent basis. They’re far from necessary for most brands, but they can be extremely useful and beneficial if you have fans who buy from you frequently.
#2 Be more social
No, we aren’t suggesting you get out more. But, yes, you may want to stay glued to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts. Trends move faster than ever and Social Media serves as your window into not only what is hot but also what your customers are most interested in. Not to mention, many Social Media platforms have made a noteworthy effort of improving their PPC programs. If you aren’t doing this today, you are missing out. Check out this guide by HootSuite to learn what you can do to start Social Selling today.
As the technology has improved, more and more sites are leveraging ChatBot services. These services truly enable self-service on your site, as the bots themselves can help with customer engagement among other things. Create conversation and convenience for your customers through a tool that is capable of capturing extremely important demographic data. Bigger retailers will benefit more from this abundance of data but don’t be surprised if you see even more ChatBots in the ecommerce space in 2017. These bots won’t replace anyone taking inbound calls at your store, but they can certainly reduce the frequency of those calls.
#4 Knowledge is power
Every retailer leverages some form of Analytics. The most common tool across all online retailers is, of course, Google Analytics. Google Analytics can capture truly amazing data, but finding that data can be difficult. As we see even more users defaulting to Mobile there is no time like the present to see how your shoppers interact with your site. In your Google Analytics, go to Behavior → Site Search → Usage and then add the “secondary dimension” called “device category” to gain insight into your shoppers and their buying patterns.
#5 Build loyalty with Loyalty (Programs)
Your shoppers can be like a kid in a candy shop when it comes to finding where they want to buy something. They may have a product in mind, but what helps them decide to go with your store? Well, a loyalty program can do just that. In a sea of competition, Loyalty Programs are hands down one of the best ways to build a devoted base of customers. You don’t need to give away the farm for free, but showing love to your customers is an easy way to win their favor.
Many movie theaters are finding huge success by selling loyalty cups and popcorn buckets that give movie goers a significant discount on concessions. Once they’ve bought that loyalty item, going back to that theater is less expensive, and more enjoyable. How can you replicate this experience in ecommerce?
Bonus Tip: Create a Referral Program
Once in place, shoppers can refer family and friends to your business. These new shoppers will be coming to your business from trusted recommendations. This lower’s your cost of acquisition and easily boosts your conversion rates. Its a powerful marketing strategy you shouldn’t ignore.
Notice the trend here? It’s all about your shoppers. They are on mobile, they want convenience, the best possible price or to earn something for giving you their business. When they have questions, they expect answers right away. As shopper’s expectations grow, retailers will need to rise to the challenge in 2017.
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