13 Aug What the future holds for e-commerce
E-commerce is a constantly changing landscape…
…shaped by innovations in technology and an incredibly competitive market. Amazon, the overlord of e-commerce, is only 24 years old – that’s a rather short amount of time when you look at the bigger picture of commerce, but a time of incredible growth and numerous changes. At this pace, we know a lot of advances await us, from faster delivery to the way customer services operate.
But long-term success is rooted in understanding the opportunities of the market and being able to implement fundamental changes comprehensively. Let’s look at the patterns and strategies which are essentially shaping the future of e-commerce and which your business strategy can rely on.
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The majority of people nowadays use at least two channels when shopping. It’s become commonplace to do online research first before buying offline in order to make an informed decision, but the channels can also be reversed. For example, people will see something they like in a brick-and-mortar store and then look for it online to check if there are discounts for online shopping.
This is shaping the future of e-commerce as businesses adopt multi-channel retailing, which essentially means they market and sell wherever their customers buy, thus mimicking consumers’ existent behavior. This entails using traditional offline outlets (stores, mail-order catalogs) along with online outlets (online stores, social media, e-mail marketing, etc.).
In the world of e-commerce, where growth can be incredible and fast but comes with its own set of demands, automation software is taking over as a fundamental part of business. Not only that, but e-commerce has an advantage over other types of business as it inherently integrates automation from early stages, considering the availability of high-quality apps to rely on. Here are only a few of the tasks where e-commerce automation is best implemented:
- Marketing automation
- Scheduling promotions and price changes for predetermined periods
- Preloading new products and publishing them across various channels simultaneously
- Unpublishing out-of-stock products
- Applying discounts for customers who meet certain criteria
- Flagging high-risk orders and automatically notifying a security team
Yes, mobile internet use is surpassing desktop use globally, so it comes as no surprise that mobile purchasing is expected in the future. Mobile commerce is a natural progression of e-commerce, but there’s more to the phenomenon. Although mobile purchasing is gaining popularity, statistics show that only 12% of consumers find shopping on mobile convenient. Here are some major concerns about mobile purchasing, according to research from DynamicYield:
- Pages and links being too small to click on
- Security concerns
- Interruptions from messages and apps
However, people find mobile convenient for browsing and the majority of surveyed shoppers stated that mobile shopping experiences can be improved. In light of these stats, experienced web design and development companies are increasingly building e-commerce stores for the mobile-first experience. Relying on consumer behavior and the popularity of mobile, the focus is shifted to overcoming the main obstacles of mobile shopping that we’ve mentioned, and as a result, mobile apps are taking over.
B2B is a much bigger market for e-commerce than B2C, so e-commerce wholesale platforms are not a new thing – but we can expect even more of them in the future. When it comes to B2B e-commerce, statistics point to steady growth, and this rise in opportunity is naturally expected to bring about significant changes.
For one, the B2C e-commerce shopping experience is affecting the expectations of B2B e-commerce – after all, the buyers involved are also B2C shoppers and would like to see the same effectiveness. That means an expansion of buying on websites and streamlined operations that provide them with a clear path to checkout. Overall, B2B e-commerce is increasingly experimenting with self-service and different channels, which is going to play a large part in shaping how companies do business with each other.
The use of mobile has changed the market on a profound level, both for companies and consumers. Consequently, it’s led to companies capitalizing on the so-called micro-moment behavior, where, according to ThinkGoogle, “consumers immediately turn to a device to know, go, do, and buy.” Micro-moments include spur-of-the-moment purchase decisions, decision to try new things when faced with routine circumstances, decisions to solve problems instantly, and the “pursuit of big goals during downtime”.
All in all, you can see how these points, or rather this type of behavior, points to marketing messages that trigger buying behaviors. This includes content creation, targeted social media ads, promotional offers, etc. E-commerce businesses are now more than every optimizing every last detail and relying on consumer psychology to deepen engagement and ultimately generate sales. Purchase confirmations and transactional e-mails (e.g. shipping notifications), for example, are optimized and approached in a more relevant and engaging manner as a way to improve customer experience and gain repeat sales.
E-commerce is a world of opportunity, but we have to examine all these opportunities comprehensively. A successful strategy requires adaptability and realizing the potential for growth in all current patterns. Reflect on these five points that are key factors in the future of e-commerce as you make decisions for your business, no matter how small. You’re not just keeping up with trends – you’re reaching shoppers the smart way.
Larry is a tech writer with DesignRush – a new digital destination to offer inspiration and overview of the current design and technology trends.
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