2017 is poised to soar this year with its many important marketing strategies for the e-commerce business, chief among them being content. With consumer trends, supported by ever-growing technology, soaring at an exponential rate, what does the e-commerce business have for its customers in 2017?
Here are eight predictions that our experts feel confident will rule the e-commerce landscape in 2017:
- Chat bots: The leading social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Google Allo are ready to introduce integrated bots that will be a great help to shoppers when doing online shopping, or booking tickets or even for customer service. Consumers will actually see merit in these bots and familiarize themselves with speaking to these machines. Already, Facebook has 11,000 chatbots, though their use is still not known.
- Personalization and customization: There’s a huge amount of data available with shopping sites that allows for ads, products and content to be shown to the right kind of people across social networks. By customizing such information, shopping sites can offer personalized deals on their products that these customers regularly buy. This trend is poised to rise in 2017.
- Omni channel to provide customers with 360-degree customer view: Omni channel retail technologies will help enhance customer understanding and their shopping-related activities across several sales channels. Businesses can now enjoy 360-degree of customers, and familiarize themselves with the latter’s preferences and responses to offers, discounts, product offerings, etc. With the help of Omni channel’s customer behaviour, online shopping stores can now devise their basket of product offerings and focused in-store experience for targeted online and offline sales retail channels.
- Site design will concentrate on mobile shoppers: Though mobile commerce is still in its infancy, consumers do check their smartphones to check out e-commerce sites. However, if they are disappointed by what they see, they will not go to the site again to buy. Hence, e-commerce businesses will invest in delivering good user experiences across all devices, thereby making web design crucial in 2017 with consumers being central to the design.
Until recently, e-commerce sites were designed for desktop users. However, 2017 will see e-commerce website design focusing on first-time mobile users who then adapted to bigger screens. So, web designers will have to find the most important elements for mobile users and then stack up items so that such sites are equally responsive on laptops and desktops. Web designers will also have to ensure that visuals open fast enough on the screen to hold the attention of shoppers on the go.
To meet the demand of web design in 2017, e-commerce sites will adopt hidden menus, long scroll, hamburger menus, page load-as-you-scroll, large visuals, etc. Illustrations will also be part of the visual package so that text is minimized and visual communication with visitors is increased.
- Retailers will make customers feel comfortable: In a bid to have a good experience shopping online, retailers will provide customers with an atmosphere of warmth and cheer, where they aren’t forced to buy products thrown at them. They will be made to feel at home with customers wanting to touch products, interact with them and then buy. Consumers will want personal interactions while shopping, while retailers will also feel the need for having a physical space dedicated to touch the customer. If this means increasing staff in numbers and quality, retailers will be willing to make this investment for a truly live shopping experience.
- Traditional stores will grow into smart environments: Brick and mortar stores will continue to grow and develop into smart environments. Brands will harness the best of technology to create a store connected with the store and have the customer in mind when designing the site.
Apart from this, store associates will have more data at their command, such as understanding what customers like, their buying history and the products they’ve browsed, while warehouse logistics staff will fulfil in-store demands in real time.
- Increasing customer loyalty: Loyalty programs will continue to assume importance right through 2017. Rewarding loyal customers will be a necessary trend as the competition hots up and retailers will do all they can to retain their existing customers. While some retailers will award their customers simple points, others may offer complex tiered ones, if only to encourage them to buy more. Yet another way of ensuring customer loyalty is to charge customers a fee upfront for special benefits.
- The rise of niche retailers: Another interesting trend in 2017 will be the emergence of niche retailers for existing and new brands. This will, in turn, lead to small format stores with the ultimate in personalized service and service assistants who are extremely knowledgeable. Customers wanting customized service will be very happy with this unique feature.
Traditional brick-and-mortar stores will retain their importance and will drive customer experience. On the other hand, the larger and better-known stores will grow and offer customers opportunities to shop within a shop so that they can control strategies and niche markets better. It will also provide customers with product details, sizing, fitting rooms and mobile channels.
E-commerce is rapidly growing and it is the duty of professionals in this field to respond quickly to the changing trends here. With entry barriers being low and the ability of consumers switching providers as and when they wish means that those that cannot offer customer satisfaction and a good pricing strategy lose ground in this field. Web designers and marketing strategists should be aware of these eight trends that are going to dominate the e-commerce industry in 2017 and think ahead for fitting solutions.
Christopher Meloni is a Marketing Manager at Kodematix. Apart from his profession, he also has a passion of blogging and he likes to explore new and innovative methods of marketing within his field. Connect with Christopher on Twitter.