2017 is now upon usand it is the perfect time for retailers to take stock of their ecommerce store and consider what the next 12 months has in store.
No one has a crystal ball, of course, but there are some trends and predictions about both ecommerce and Magento in 2017 that are worth bearing in mind now and which may help inform your future strategy to enhance the performance of your online retail store.
Take a look below at some of our main observations and predicted trends that are likely to arise in 2017 and have a direct impact on those retailers operating an ecommerce store:
Same Day Delivery Becomes Increasingly Competitive
Right now, there are only a handful of retailers for which offering same day delivery is financially viable e.g. Amazon but this is something that very much looks as though it will become increasingly important for online retailers to consider offering their customers in 2017.
With this report by Forrester indicating that just under a third of consumers would be happy to pay extra in order to get their goods delivered the same day, it is going to be a consideration that a lot of ecommerce stores need to think about in 2017 in terms of keeping up with the competition and making their brand an attractive proposition for consumers.
Deliveries and returns have long been sticking points for many ecommerce stores regardless of platform but it is unquestionably one of the biggest considerations that consumers have when making purchases and ensuring your brand offer benefits like same day delivery will likely become much more important over the next 12 months and beyond.
Returns can be a big problem for ecommerce stores but there are a number of on-site elements which can be introduced to help reduce the number of returns your store has. For example, fashion retailers like ASOS always ensure to have videos of the garments, and virtual fitting technology because most returns are based upon a poor fit and having as much information as possible about the garment ensures that it is much more likely to fit when it arrives.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday Get An Extension
In the world of ecommerce, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become amongst the most important sales periods for any retailer online and the savviest out there realise the opportunity to cash in on this craze still further with many retailers in 2017 expected to extend the deals throughout the whole of the month of November in a “Cyber November” type offering that creates the opportunity for considerably more sales amongst bargain hungry consumers.
The impact of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in ecommerce in the last few years has been astronomical so it makes sense that retailers would look to increase the scope of the offering and thereby increase their profit potential. In 2017 don’t be surprised to see an increase in the number of ecommerce stores that offer great deals throughout the whole of November instead of just focusing on those two traditional periods of the month.
It will be an even more core sales focal point for ecommerce stores because it has now become an established period for producing record sales and ecommerce retailers will be on the lookout for more and more ways of capitalising on it in 2017 and beyond.
The Rise of Social Selling
Whilst selling products through social media channels is nothing new for ecommerce stores, it is yet to take off to the extent that same may have predicted in the past. 2017 could well be the year where this all changes, however, with brands like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram investing more time and money into making it a viable selling platform for online retailers.
The introduction of things likeFacebook botswhich can be used to automate a retailer’s Facebook messenger offering is going to provide a new means of marketing to potential customers and might be another area of social that retailers look to utilise in 2017.
Don’t expect your favourite ecommerce store to suddenly disappear overnight to be replaced with a social media shop window, of course. Most retailers will see social media selling as an extension of their selling capabilities rather than a replacement of conventional methods and, with the increased output from big social media channels like Facebook (given they’ve got a vested interested in making it work), expect to see much more online retailers using their social media channels as a means of making sales in 2017.
We’ve all seen more and more ecommercestores looking to engage consumersvia social media over the last twelve months and with an ever growing opportunities to sell to consumers directly via these platforms, this is something which is very likely to be more of a fundamental part of the sales strategy for ecommerce stores in 2017 that have high social media traction, where the chance of seeing their products go viral and sell more is higher.
Predictive Analytics to Enhance Sales
Some of the biggest retailers out there such as Amazon, Ebay, Macy’s and many more are already beginning to see the value of predictive analytics in relation to their ecommerce offering and how it can be used to increase sales revenue. 2017 is set to bring about an even bigger emphasis on the use of data to make predictions about consumer trends and behaviour to the point where it is becoming possible to predict what a consumer’s next purchase is likely to be and can market to them accordingly.
Predictive analytics will capitalise on the myriad data that is available to online retailers today through various tools and analytics platforms and will be used to make highly accurate predictions about consumer’s buying patterns in 2017. The demand for Big Data amongst ecommerce stores is increasing exponentially as it becomes apparent the inherent value it has in relation to understanding customers and making sure you’re marketing to them in the most cost effective way.
Pinpointing consumer behaviour and shedding light on their buying cycle will be the chief advantage of predictive analytic platforms and these are something that an increasing number of ecommerce retailers look set to rely on in 2017.
Big Data companies hold some truly valuable information about consumer trends and behaviours and tapping into this data will become a priority for a large number of ecommerce brands over the next 12 months to make sure they are doing the best, most efficient job of targeting their customers. Just some of the benefits of using Big Data in ecommerce include the ability to track the customer journey much more effectively, which can then be used to segment consumers into different categories to be marketed to more efficiently.
Additionally, areas like customer feedback and product recommendations are also other areas in which ecommerce stores can capitalise on Big Data in 2017. Online companies produce click stream data in vast quantities and through the use of analytics platforms, online retailers can analyse customer feedback from their campaigns and those of their competitors in order to improve their strategies by understanding any issues and resolving them in the next sale cycle.
More Customised Shopping Experience
Following on from what we said above about predictive analytics becoming increasingly important in 2017, this same Big Data will be influential in helping bring about another likely trend for ecommerce stores over the next 12 months – namely, a more customised and personalised shopping experience for consumers.
The growth in the amount of accessible data to retailers means that through content, ads, and targeted campaigns, it is possible for ecommerce brands to ensure the right people at the right time are seeing their products across the web and social networks and increasing their sales output as a result. It is this capacity to produce much more targeted, relevant and customised shopping experiences to consumers that retailers are relying on to help drive an increase in sales throughout 2017 and beyond.
Customisation and personalised shopping experiences are expected to be one of the biggest drivers of increased sales for ecommerce stores in 2017 as more and more brands look to take advantage of the amount of data about consumers that is available and use it to make informed marketing decisions that are carefully tailored to resonate with consumers and compel them to make a purchase.
Mobile Optimisation Increasingly Important
This might seem like an obvious one and a fact that has been talked about for years but, for the first time this yearmobile traffic has overtaken desktop trafficfor ecommerce stores. This means that it is now more important than ever for online retailers to make sure their stores are mobile optimised and this will lead to an increased emphasis on this in 2017.
Another important consideration regarding this is the fact that Google recently announced that they are working on a mobile first indexing solution because most people are searching Google with a mobile device. However, the ranking systems still ordinarily view the desktop version of a page’s content to assess its value to the user.
This can cause problems when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page. This is because the algorithms used by Google are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.
So, with Google making sure that their mobile results accurately reflect the webpage being shown in the results page, ecommerce stores really do need to guarantee that their sites are mobile optimised if they hope to achieve the sort of conversion rates that they are seeking.
Emphasis on Real-Time Interaction
The technologies available to ecommerce retailers is improving all the time in terms of being able to deliver real time customisation and interactions. This will be important in 2017 as consumers are becoming increasingly ruthless with their shopping and will soon find somewhere else to make a purchase if the store they’re on isn’t providing them with all they need.
Real time interaction at a store level online is something which will likely become increasingly noticeable across many ecommerce stores in 2017 as it improves the shopping experience and can lead to an increase in conversion rate.
The objective for retailers is to gather a much more comprehensive overview of their consumer and their buying patterns and providing real time interaction and customisation options on their ecommerce store will be a great way of achieving this in 2017 for a large number of retail brands.
Increase in Content Output
We’re all well versed in hearing how “Content is King” when it comes to marketing a brand or business but in 2017 it is expected that many retailers will redouble their efforts and place a heavy emphasis on content creation and production as a means of generating site traffic and promoting sales across their store.
There is an increased confidence in content marketing amongst ecommerce stores in relation to the return on investment it can deliver. It is to be expected that many retailers online in 2017 will invest a lot of their resources into the creation of compelling, engaging content or advertisements that will help to drive sales for their store.
Expect to see a much more content led approach amongst many online retailers – both big and small – in 2017 as the value of this resource becomes clearer in terms of driving sales and engaging consumers. Content will be one of the biggest factors areas that ecommerce marketers will allocate resource over the next 12 months and beyond as it provides tangible results which retailers demand.
User Experience Will Underpin Sales
The sheer wealth of options available to consumers buying online today means that they simply won’t tolerate an ecommerce store that doesn’t provide the shopping experience they demand. In 2017, consumers are unlikely to accept anything less than perfection when it comes to the user experience of an ecommerce store so brands will need to focus on their U/X more and make sure it meets (and exceeds) the expectations of their users.
Simplicity is invariably what consumers crave, particularly in relation to the checkout process, so a lot of ecommerce stores will put time and allocate resources into streamlining the user experience for consumers, focusing principally on the areas that bottleneck but with many making wholesale U/X changes across their sites over the next twelve months.
Retailers will strive to routinely monitor their customers from the minute they arrive on their ecommerce store ‒ this is important in to try and obtain as much data about the consumers in order to direct them around the store based upon their behaviour. This makes it possible to deliver timely, customised offers to them, one at a time and increase the chances of making a conversion.
The above are just a handful of what we predict may happen in the world of ecommerce in 2017 but it is, of course, an ever changing landscape, notoriously difficult to second guess so don’t be surprised to see plenty of other new and exciting new goings on in online retail in the next 12 months as well.