With global ecommerce topping $1.2 trillion in 2013, it’s obvious most of us don’t give a second thought to ordering online. For online merchants, this is a huge opportunity. But merchants can only capitalize if they can target, attract and keep increasingly savvy, sophisticated purchasers.
Improved technology and convenient payment options such as PayPal and direct eBanking have meant consumers are now not just buying online, they’re doing so anywhere, anytime, on almost any device. What can merchants do to keep up? Keeping on top of these three major trends is a good place to start.
Mobile has become so pervasive that website designers’ have a new mantra: “mobile first.” Mobile networks are faster than ever, the hardware is better and almost everyone uses a smartphone or tablet more frequently than their desktop computer. The proof is in the numbers: in early 2010, only 3.4 percent of the total visits to ecommerce sites came from phones and tablets. Four years later, that jumped to 36.9 percent of site visits. This massive change in such a short period of time is nothing short of stunning - and yet it’s accelerating.
The recent combining of mobile with social has created a consumer-empowered economy where anyone can quickly and easily get the information they need about any product from almost anywhere. For merchants, offering an easily accessible ecommerce platform to reach those consumers is no longer an option. Instead, it’s become a critical component of business infrastructure.
However, smart merchants know that optimizing their online stores for mobile is just the starting point, not the finish line. Great merchants embrace the constant and growing data stream that comes from mobile commerce and focus on ensuring their site stands out from the competition. The mobile purchase experience must be outstanding - or customers will quickly move on.
The rapid increase of the global consumer base online represents a huge trend that merchants cannot afford to miss with ecommerce sales forecast to rise 20.1% in 2014 to $1.5 trillion. With a significant amount of online traffic coming from offshore IP addresses, merchants need to be ready.
Amazingly, many still aren’t. Twenty years after Netscape first dazzled us with the possibilities of that Internet thing, many small- to medium-sized businesses still don’t support international purchases. Let’s spell it out: lack of localized payment options and limited currency support no longer fulfills consumer needs in a global 24/7 economy.
It gets worse. Global stats suggest that more than 67% of online shoppers abandon carts due to payment issues – mostly because a site doesn't support their preferred local payment methods. Having an ecommerce partner allows merchants to focus on their business rather than localization concerns. The partner can help manage the complexities of user-experience localization, payment methods and currencies, international taxes and customer support.
Like creating an outstanding mobile encounter, offering localized currencies, languages and payment methods to simplify the buying process is no longer a nice-to-have. Consumers now expect it and will express disappointment by surfing over to a competitor who ‘gets it.’ See our white paper to learn more about how your business can implement an effective localization strategy.
Merchants need to look beyond outdated click-to-buy functions that ignore long-term customer retention. If personalization is executed well, customers will welcome a deeper relationship with vendors that truly understand their needs. Merchants can grow their businesses by using data-driven insights to provide encounters that create loyal customers. One key trend is the automation of lead nurturing, remarketing, email personalization and analytics. These provide even small online store owners with clear insights that help them convert more customers.
Want to know if your marketing campaign is working? Access the analytics to track information, assess what the consumer wants and identify traffic patterns. Getting personal means investing the resources to understand consumer behaviour. This works both ways: as users become more comfortable with sharing some personal information with trusted online stores, merchants should strive to offer each customer a more meaningful and relevant experience.
Merchants can also use data to pinpoint where potential customers are falling out of the purchase funnel. Using analytics, vendors can be agile and quickly make effective changes to increase conversions. Over time, these efforts will result in truly great and personalized customer encounters and ultimately more revenue.
Many merchants are not adapting to these three powerful ecommerce trends because they don’t realize the incredible infrastructure, analytics and other tools that are now available to them. But it’s not too late to start: ecommerce is huge, growing and clearly here to stay. Online merchants who educate themselves about creating a fantastic consumer experience will be rewarded with loyal, long-term customers.