It’s no secret that ecommerce is on the rise. In 2020, global retail sales fell by -3.5% while ecommerce ones grew by almost 30% reaching an estimated $4.3 trillion. Retailers who won’t hesitate to embrace the new digital reality will almost certainly accelerate. And there’s still room to grow – in the US even after last year’s peak, online shopping covers only 14% of total sales. The choices retailers make in the coming months will influence their success over the next 5 years or more. However, if they want to compete against growing competition, they need to come up with a clear strategic plan for the future. Preparing for the new reality requires establishing the role that platforms might play in their business models. And those who ignore the need for change? Unfortunately, it will be extremely difficult for them to last.
1. Omnichannel and customer experience
Seamless retail online and offline experience with addition of loyalty programs, pop-up events, social media selling, influencers’ offers, or instant returns, can make your company stand out as a consistent and trustworthy provider. A true omnichannel allows you to be where your customers are and perform the best service.
Tools available to make it happen, like mobile or web apps and e-stores, are all a good idea if only your strategy sets them up in the right place in your business model. Knowing your consumers, their aspirations, motivations and triggers fulfills your ideabox before creating a customer experience. It’s not all about buying – the more special and individual your user feels, the more loyal he gets. In the times of instant price comparison websites, it is better to compete in other fields.
In our opinion companies which currently get it right are: Inditex (great quality retail marketing), Decathlon (full consumer understanding), and Ikea (thought through experiences + AR).
2. Mobile shopping
Last year, 45% of online purchases were made on a mobile device. Consumers with a phone at hand don’t put off their urge to shop and usually succumb to the temptation right away. Using a touchscreen is a convenient and frequently used option as well. And a purchase can be actually made at any moment of our daily routine, even during a bus ride.
In the past, online shops were built primarily for desktops and adjusted to mobile. Now, it all changed 180 degrees.
3. Personalization of communication
With algorithms crawling everywhere to track our actions, we get tired of impersonal contact. Like said in many articles, e.g. NYT – human contact will be a luxury in the future, so depending on your profile, try personalizing your contacts on a propper level.
Elements you may include are:
- addressing with names,
- early access to offers,
- thought through personalized offers,
- birthday cards.
Either we will need to teach the bots to be more human, or humans will have to be included in the process.
4. Social selling
The expenses on social media ads in the retail sector rose by 24% in 2020 and are still growing, which means that competition sees opportunity in this slice of omnichannel. And what do these sites offer?
Facebook allows more appealing ways to present products – you can for example use real photos with marked elements. Other social media channels, such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and even YouTube, have developed purchase buttons and several other sales features to facilitate transactions.
5. Visual stimulation
The distance between a product and a consumer can be shortened by more detailed visualizations or videos. The AR and VR technologies are gradually taking over the marketers’ hearts. Even the popular unboxing is already expanding into further ideas of online merchandising. Can you imagine your favourite store visit so real that you wouldn’t mind being locked down again?
6. Big data
The recommendation engine, also available at iteo’s solutions, helps customers make right choices and encourages them to buy across categories. AI sourcing its powers from big data is becoming an important tool to enhance growth and company’s success.
Mind that consumers aware of the fact that their activities are being tracked can turn away from the impudent sellers following them everywhere. You must be moderate to make the right impression.
7. Chatbots and voice
Chatbots support customer service by a quick fix on repetitive tasks. And a voicebot can be a few times quicker. As the technology develops and becomes more natural, it can make already fast solutions even more effective. Check out our Hellobot solution and see what it can actually do for you.
8. Payment options
Lacking the most popular ways of payment may decrease the number of transactions. The cart drop-offs are painful when the grande finale is so close. Make sure you stay up-to-date with the popular and quickest financial plugins. You can also consider installment options if applicable.
9. Sustainability and social responsibility
The future of our planet and the impact on society are the apple of an eye for many sensitive and empathetic people. The value driven brands do not only sell items, they also prove their purpose of existence by executing non-profit undertakings. What will your company be remembered for in e.g. 20 years?
10. Impact on B2B
It is natural to think about e-commerce as the environment for B2C sales. Nevertheless, realizing that the same real people go through ordering and purchasing processes on behalf of companies during daily business activities means that B2B also needs to catch-up with trends. Doing official transactions manually or with no regards to UX seems like an absurd idea in the times of ultra-convenient processes after work. The early adopting companies are going to win their contracts in the run.
The speed of changes initiated in 2020 is leading us towards further e-commerce expansion. It is important to rethink digital strategy for the upcoming years to be successful. We are ready to partner up with you in your journey towards 2030! Contact us to see how we can help your company.