2015 was another auspicious year for ecommerce with continued sales growth and important evolutions. Online retail sales rose to nearly $70 billion in the U.S. in Q3 alone – a solid 15% increase over 2014. As part of this, mobile shopping continued to surge, accounting for 18.7% of all ecommerce orders, a 6.5% rise year-over-year.
With 4 in every 10 transactions now involving a mobile device of some kind, it shouldn’t be any surprise that omnichannel commerce and personalization have been the driving forces behind many of the year’s most significant initiatives by ecommerce companies. While ecommerce presents more and more opportunities for companies to connect with target markets, there are also increasing complexities and challenges that have arisen that need to be overcome to be successful.
Some of the most important features that ecommerce businesses increasingly needed to master in 2015 included more content and retargeting to get more quality customer traffic to ecommerce sites and shopping experiences and checkouts designed for where customers are shopping.
Storytelling as a form of digital marketing has evolved dramatically over the past year. Combining content with commerce to create a memorable customer experience has proven to be extremely beneficial for not only digital merchants, but essentially any company looking to become an influential online presence. 70% of content marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago, because it reaps a plethora of benefits:
An immense advantage of ecommerce over traditional marketing is that you can track visitors to your site and market to them later. Targeting people who have formerly visited your website or purchased a product from you is an effective way to re-engage with shoppers who have previously been interested in your product(s). Not only that, but it works extremely well when it comes to niche-marketing.
Remarketing is also a highly effective lead generation channel as there are now ways to plant a retargeting code on an email signature, by-passing the initial website visit entirely. Reiterating the importance of emails, it is notable that companies who sent cart abandonment emails saw an open rate of 40.5%. When you combine that with the 18.4% increase in average order value for recovered cart purchases, it’s abundantly clear that remarketing efforts have contributed to the continued ecommerce growth seen in 2015.
Online shoppers with an appetite for your product or service can be located around the world – not just your local (and potentially saturated) market. For digital goods in particular, where there are no shipping costs required or lengthy delivery times, incorporating this type of strategy is critical for those whose current or future objectives include expansion.
Identifying the languages of your potential customers and translating the digital content and currency to match is important, even more so is having a solid understanding of price sensitivity (which varies depending on the regions you’re targeting) and of preferred regional online usability and behavioral trends. Amazon, for example, uses a different design in the UK compared to the United States (or check out their Chinese site) and highlights different products depending on the region.
As mobile devices continue to proliferate, consumers expect a design responsive to the device they are shopping on. One study suggests that customers spend 66% of their total time online viewing from a mobile device.
And while mobile may have only contributed to 18.7% of total ecommerce revenue this past quarter, consumers are spending more time shopping on mobile devices than desktops, and they will almost certainly be scoping out your products and services for competitive comparisons. Not only that, but on April 21st of this year Google announced that it would be penalizing websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. There is simply too much to lose by providing a poor mobile experience.
Ecommerce has become more personal than ever before. With the amount of big data one can now access and the ease with which branding messages can be catered to match your consumer’s demographics and psychographics around the world, it’s a great time to be a digital merchant.
With customer research and resource allocation, even ecommerce businesses on a shoestring budget can market to their customers in a more intimate and effective way to maximize their conversion rates at an even lower cost per acquisition.