All you have to do is turn on the news and you’ll hear a story of more retailers closing stores. In 2017 more than 6700 stores have shuttered their doors, making it the largest number in history. More and more people are turning to the internet to do their shopping.
Here are some staggering statistics about online purchasing:
• 96% of Americans with internet access have made an online purchase in their life, 80% in the past month alone.
• Ecommerce is growing 23% year-over-year, yet 46% of American small businesses do not have a website.
• 51% of Seniors have shopped on marketplaces, 66% at large retailer sites, 30% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 44% at category-specific online stores.
• 80% of Americans shop online at least monthly.
With this information in mind, below are some recent trends that we see retailers leaning towards in 2018 and beyond to amp up their customers’ buying experience.
It’s something we say time and time again; mobile optimization is just the start. With over two-thirds of the U.S. population owning smart phones, they’re searching on them in record numbers. Just having a website that is responsive doesn’t cut it, however. It’s about designing for mobile first since that’s where the customers are (more on this subject later).
Humanizing Your Brand
As technology rolls along it will be easier for companies to personalize and humanize their branding. Connecting on a more intimate base forms a deeper relationship with the customer and that transfers to a deeper commitment from them. This is especially true when it comes to the e-commerce experience. It will be more about connections and less about simply selling.
Earned Credibility (content, blogs and seo)
It’s important to draw people to your site without a purchase in mind. Creating content, especially blogs, that are expertly optimized will garner credibility and encourage trust. SEO is the most basic element because it’s free. Keep your customers and potential customers engaged and wanting more. Optimized content keeps your brand at the forefront of their searches and minds.
Customer Engagement and CRM
A CRM is a customer relationship manager; its software that gathers and maintains critical information about customers. Information like when they last opened an email, made a purchase, joined a loyalty program is all important knowledge when it comes to maintaining a profitable relationship. It’s imperative that you speak to them directly, solve any issues and get them to the cart on the shortest route possible.
Purchasing Through Email
We already know that email is the most direct way to reach customers as it can be customized to the Nth degree. However, it’s also reported that email drives more revenue than social media, website and display ads combined. Technology is here and evolving, allowing customers to purchase directly within the email. You will soon find that more companies will be focusing on email marketing to take advantage of the direct sale.
This goes hand in hand with content credibility. Brands are going to find ways to stay in touch with their customers or get left behind. Continued engagement will be the key; as it’s easier to keep a customer than it is to get them back.
It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words…and this couldn’t be truer than with the emerging phenomenon of ‘photo shopping’. Digital image processing techniques allow the extraction of meaningful information from photos. In plain terms, integrated mobile software uses a photo to search for the exact or similar items to purchase. Merchants who integrate this technology will easily see the fruits of their labor.
Do you have an e-commerce site? Are you wondering if you’re missing out? Armed with all this information it’s best to think about it. If you need help evaluating and strategizing an e-commerce plan, contact Marketing Relevance. Call us at 847.259.7312 or visit our website.