For consumers e-commerce is increasingly the preferred method for shopping. Younger shoppers already embrace it and more frequently older shoppers are as well. As e-commerce continues to grow, companies need to adjust their approaches in order to win customer loyalty. According to Nasdaq, by 2040, 95% of purchases will be facilitated through e-commerce. Winning this race depends on how quickly you can scale your offerings including customer service, delivery and the returns process. Customers continue to adopt a “get it now” mindset which must be embraced by retailers.
Top trends shaping e-commerce in 2019:
- Improved shopping experience on mobile devices. Consumers increasingly use their devices to shop and retailers are more likely to be successful if they have an app or website adapted with Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) technology. Customers who don’t have a positive shopping experience online are unlikely to shop again with that retailer and are likely to share their negative experience via social media.
- Same day delivery. Shortening the delivery window is one of the main challenges of e-commerce, customers want their products and they want them quickly. More and more customers are willing to pay higher prices if they get their products delivered on their timeline which may include a specific delivery window or white-glove service. For small or growing companies, building partnerships with logistics experts is essential for successful delivery and earning customer loyalty. There are global supply-chain companies which offer same day delivery options for companies of all sizes. These companies will take charge of driver recruitment and training, manage deliveries, and address delivery issues. Their expertise in these areas guarantees strong performance.
- Social media. Social media is one of the main strategies driving e-commerce. Millennials and Gen Z spend the majority of their shopping dollars on products they find on Instagram and Snapchat. For a consumer who has a bad experience it is easier to tweet about it than to wait on hold for 30 minutes trying to reach someone in a call center.
- Better customer experience. Communicating frequently with your customers improves their overall experience. In 2019 it is not enough to offer quality products and deliver them on time. Consumers want to associate with brands they believe in. Various means of communicating with customers include social media, chatbots, and other virtual tools. Customers want to experience personalized attention like they were physically shopping at the store without leaving their homes.
- Augmented reality. For companies like IKEA, utilizing virtual reality and e-commerce offers consumers the opportunity to “see” their products in different settings before they purchase. They can “place” them in their homes and decide which works best in their space. Investing in creating a digital experience that goes beyond simple product photos is crucial if you want to offer a better customer experience.
- Less cash, more virtual transactions. Mobile wallets are used 2X more often by Millennials and Gen Z than Gen X or Baby Boomers. A digital wallet combined with a website or app that is optimized for e-commerce allows mobile shoppers to complete purchases faster with less scrolling, driving more sales. Virtual wallets like PayPal, besides being a secure option, allow quick transactions without a credit card or cash. Around 75% of all shoppers abandon sites that aren’t mobile optimized.
E-commerce isn’t limited to a website and consists of many components. The happier a consumer is with their shopping experience, the more they will recommend it and return to buy more. In order to succeed with e-commerce, it is important to consider how the market is evolving and adapt to consumers’ needs using some, if not all, of the approaches above.