The eCommerce industry moves at a remarkable pace, with constant innovation and new trends emerging almost every week. 2015 saw it reach new heights of customer engagement and unprecedented revenue, cementing its place in the retail arena and becoming a truly powerful player. From tighter multi-channel integration, to even more secure and reliable online payment solutions, the last year took online shopping into the stratosphere. In this blog I will explore some of the hottest predictions for 2016 and what they will mean for the eCommerce industry.
Smartphone revenue will surpassthat of desktop
Smartphones are more powerful than ever and in conjunction with cheaper and faster mobile networks, online shopping on a 4-inch screen has exploded in popularity. This trend is set to get even bigger with more people than ever taking the plunge and buying on their mobile devices. This offers businesses unprecedented reach and means they can sell their products and services to people who are in line at the bank, riding the train, or eating their lunch in the park.
Using content to enthrall customers
Competition will be fiercer than ever in 2016, with more brands competing across the full range of markets. There will be an increased demand to offer a comprehensive content solution that gives customers everything they want, and more. No longer will a brief list of specs be sufficient. Customers will expect detailed descriptions and captivating storytelling to convince them to part with their hard earned cash. The brands that will excel are the ones that incorporate video and images to excite and engage their audience, making them reevaluate their brand choices and expectations.
User experience will evolve into customer experience
The eCommerce customer experience encompasses everything from ordering the wrong size pants, to struggling to use the site’s menu system. No longer will these two aspects be separate and the complementary skills of customer insight and strategic vision will become intertwined. Making the digital design related to the customer experience, businesses will be able to use their audience’s complaints and compliments to shape the look and usability of their site, addressing issues as they arise and anticipating future problems.
Online stores will proactively engage customers
eCommerce has a tendency to be a fairly impersonal experience. People search for what they are looking for, follow a link to your site, and buy it without ever speaking to a sales assistant. While this is the appeal for some people, businesses are missing out on a valuable engagement opportunity. 2016 will see more widespread use of virtual sales assistants, on hand to answer your questions and help you with your purchase. This has started to see some usage in service industries with live chat pop ups offering help from a real person. In online shopping, often the only interaction a customer has with a staff member is when things go wrong. Being proactive will improve the customer shopping experience and reduce instances of bouncing due to lack of information.