This year, worldwide business-to-consumer e-commerce is projected to total more than $1.7 trillion, with mobile purchases representing almost $300 billion of that amount. Obviously every e-commerce business wants to get as big a slice of that market as they can, so they try to stand out and get the attention of consumers, a large portion of whom use mobile devices for shopping.
What are the best ways for a company to outperform its rivals in 2015? The key is understanding eight current trends.
Greater complexity is being built into content, but text still matters.
Many companies are finding that consumers are especially responsive to more dynamic, interactive features on e-commerce sites, comments e-commerce visual specialist Russ Somers of Invodo. What types of content, specifically? “Images that spin and rotate, interactive videos that have clickable elements that allow consumers to learn more about products and purchase them, and guided online walkthroughs of consumer electronics devices,” says Somers.
While Somers is right that sophisticated visuals can be effective at engaging consumers, it’s also important not to forget the basics: words. After all, original copy (i.e., any kind of unique text) is still considered the most valuable form of content by three in five marketers (58%).
Mobile transactions are becoming more common.
A report from Goldman Sachs forecast that almost half of all money made by e-tailers in 2018 will come through smartphones and tablets. Part of the reason that people are increasingly using mobile is because the payment gateways of major brands such as PayPal and Apple simplify the process of logging in and making payments, says identity management executive Patrick Salyer of Gigya.
Many e-commerce companies now see that it is not just common but typical for their customers to access their sites via mobile.
To better serve users that arrives from mobile, it’s incredibly important to use the principles of responsive design, according to marketing manager Matt Winn of Volusion. By making your site responsive, you “provide the best user experience across devices, regardless of operating system or screen size,” he says. “Doing so will ensure a seamless shopping experience, lead to increased site conversions and provide retailers with a more modern branding component.”
Personalized, micro-targeted approaches are yielding a competitive advantage.
Online retailers are better connecting with consumers by using big data to personalize the consumer experience, says digital VP Anees Merchant of Blueocean Market Intelligence. Companies’ increasingly sophisticated personalization and targeting methods allow them to win bigger share of wallet and create more relevant engagement, she adds.
In fact, a study conducted earlier this year by cross-channel personalization company MyBuys found that half of consumers (53%) say they spend more when their experience is customized.
Consumers now want the product faster.
When people started going online to buy products, the initial expectation was that it came with a downside: you had to wait a few days for it to arrive. Now, some companies, including Walmart and Google, offer same-day delivery, explains Andrew Van Noy of SMB e-commerce provider Warp 9. That speed is creating new expectations.
It is becoming simpler all the time to sell worldwide.
The majority of shopping carts are now designed to allow companies to sell their products internationally, notes e-commerce specialist Steve Power of Bigcommerce. “And thanks to third-party fulfillment services, which simplify the process of shipping products across borders,” he adds, “even smaller ecommerce businesses can now reach customers around the world, tapping into the multibillion-dollar global ecommerce market.”
B2B e-commerce is becoming more competitive.
Business-to-business e-commerce sales will continue to accelerate, according to equity analyst Todd Miller of Sterling Partners. The market has always been dominated by B2C, but businesses are now becoming more collaborative in meeting each other’s needs through integrated distribution networks.
B2B e-commerce allows wholesalers and manufacturing companies to offer mobile solutions, streamlining the experience for returning customers and facilitating more efficient support.
Retargeting is becoming fundamental rather than innovative.
Retargeting and going after users who abandoned their shopping carts with tailored messages can now be considered fundamental to online sales success, per Mohita Nagpal of split testing company vwo.com. “According to our research,” she says, “more than 55 percent of online shoppers are open to the idea of purchasing a product they abandoned in their cart if it is offered again at a discounted price.”
Plus, retargeting features are now built into many e-commerce environments, so it is easier to implement the tactic.
Companies are realizing that not all clouds are alike.
Businesses used to simply want to make a decision between using a traditional server environment and going to “the cloud.” Now, more e-tailers are becoming savvier about which specific cloud hosting providers they use.
The most important elements include:
- Distributed storage – Businesses now realize that distributed storage is preferable to centralized storage so that they can avoid bottlenecks and experience even multiple node failures with no hit to their performance;
- Infiniband – Similarly, more companies understand that the guaranteed zero packet loss and almost nonexistent jitter of this networking technology represents a considerable improvement over 10 Gigabit Ethernet.
Launching Industry-Best Cloud Servers
The above trends show that there are several major ways in which e-tailers can focus to outpace their competition – such as mobile, personalization, and shipping speed.
It’s also increasingly wise to optimize cloud infrastructure. Beyond the above two elements of a strong cloud, ecommerce companies are looking for solutions that don’t oversell and can in turn offer guaranteed performance.
At Superb Internet, we meet all those expectations – delivering PassMark-rated performance that is typically 4 times better than AWS or SoftLayer on cloud plans with similar specs.