As retailers continue to build their digital capabilities and work towards a completely unified operational approach they are placing an increased emphasis on e-commerce firepower. To uncover the major e-commerce trends that will have the greatest impact on retail in 2017 and beyond, We analyzed more than 50 digital and e-commerce projects from major retailers and highlighted the common themes.
The Top 15 eCommerce trends for 2017
Its Top 15 e-Commerce Trends for 2017 report spotlights the e-commerce trends that will dominate the next 12 months and will impact both the way retailers operate and consumers shop.
The entire report can be found here. Below is a quick look at the Top 15 e-Commerce Trends to Watch Out For in 2017.
The End of Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Although both days set sales records in 2016 the report states a new trend will emerge: Cyber November. Black Friday and Cyber Monday will no longer signal the start of the holiday shopping season, but will simply be part of a longer, more digitally focused shopping season that will dominate November and December.
Both the digital and the in-store shopping experience will adapt to consumers in real-time. Shoppers will increasingly have access to unique content: product recommendations and add-ons chosen based on their preferences, geographic location, market trends, demographic group, etc Lifestyle Analysis.
In 2017, many consumers will have their first interaction with a chatbot, a fully automated chat agent that will answer their questions and act as the first point of contact with the brand. The bots increase the number of platforms on which a brand can transact by offering guided, interactive browsing at all times.
Shifting sideways from Artificial Intelligence to the artificial experiences of Virtual Reality, it’s interesting that the consumer hasn’t, up until now, understood VR as a shopping experience. A gaming experience or a TV experience, yes, but not for shopping.
However, Virgin Holidays have changed that this year. They are boosting sales to key destinations with augmented reality in store. All shot in the first person, consumers can walk in to a store and ‘try before they buy’ by popping on the headsets and experiencing their holiday.
2017 will mark the beginning of the end for wallets and cash thanks to wearables and other next-gen payment technology. Retailers should get out in front of this trend before the competition does.
2017 will see a drastic decrease of traditional payments and will move towards payment via smartphone, watch, or other wearable devices. The use of digital wallets like mobile wallet will grow up both in digital and physical stores. With the new credit card standards, a lot of retailers are updating their POS systems moving closer towards a world that is able to accept mobile payments as easily as credit card payments. 2017 will be a year when a larger portion of the general public becomes comfortable paying with their mobile phones rather than their credit cards.
The Rise (and rise) of Social Shopping
Shopping has always been a social experience – it’s just that the gossiping has transferred from the workplace/ coffee shop / pub among a small group of friends to now happening online with an audience of potentially millions. Customers are talking about products and services in highly visible places all over the internet, and these conversations are playing a role in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Shoppers aren’t just stumbling into user-generated content about products and services; they’re actively seeking it out and making it an indispensable part of their purchase process.
In fact, according to the Google ZMOT report, 70% of consumers research online before purchasing in-store. That’s huge – and still growing rapidly. Too huge for retailers to just sit back and hope that their customers create positive word-of-mouth content for them. They should play an active role in its creation – and make sure it is put right in the path of consumers who are considering purchases.
The Snapchat-ization of Shopping
Gen Y and Z consumers are hooked on the instant communication and unique experiences made possible by mobile technologies, RFID, NFC, and geolocation. In parallel, analytics will shift from the Web to the street; from the computer to the individual.
By exploiting the massive amount of data collected through various consumer touchpoints, merchants can use predictive analysis to better understand shoppers’ purchasing habits, preferences, and, predict their next purchases, based on the behavior of other customers with similar profiles.
Using predictive analytics combined with actionable widgets to target user behavior can increase conversions by 50%. For example, if a visitor enters your e-commerce site website looking for a specific product, often they might be hesitant about paying the price and still, they try to leave the browser tab to continue to shop around at which time, a popup can immediately appear saying “Buy this now and get 20% off.” Another example of an actionable widget can happen when clicking on a woman’s category for example, that then defines that shopper as a female and as a result, the shopping experience renders the content, promotions, and the color theme to be gender specific.
The Uber-ization of Shipping
The fulfilment revolution will continue with smaller stores, local drop-off points and same-day delivery. The report predicts that many consumers will receive their first same-day delivery. And the smaller store formats will serve as showrooms, fitting rooms, or drop-off points. Customers will be able to order the product they want after having seen it and touched it.
Silos continue to be eliminated, and, possibly for the first time ever, easily avoided. Instead of adding a digital storefront to the in-store infrastructure, merchants will instead integrate their stores (physical or digital) into a centralized infrastructure.
Mobile commerce has been steadily growing, but if Black Friday and Cyber Monday mobile sales are any indication – with U.S. shoppers alone purchasing over $2.4 billion worth of goods via a mobile phone or tablet on those two days alone – 2017 is going to be huge.
“Apple Pay and Android Pay have greatly improved the mobile check-out process, and PayPal does more than $14 billion dollars in mobile payments alone,” says Matt Smith, founder, Later. “Consumers are spending more time on mobile devices and mobile internet traffic is now greater than desktop.” Moreover, “mobile-first social networks like Instagram, and more frequent mobile-based searches on mobile devices, will make it hard for anyone to be a winner in the ecommerce space without a huge focus on mobile.”
“With brands like CVS and Samsung seeing success after implementing CVS Pay and Samsung Pay, more retailers will begin adopting this strategy [mobile wallets] as a way to engage with consumers and build loyalty with their brand,” says Don Hughes, CIO, Kobie Marketing. “Mobile wallets simplify rewards programs and offer opportunities to interact with consumers wherever they go. Retailers can even use these apps to offer time-sensitive and location-based vouchers and deals, which is a great way to surprise and delight customers and incentivize a purchase.”
Consumers want to deal directly with brands, but where do retailers fit in? Merchants will attempt to cement their relationship with the customer by becoming indispensable and by offering added value: warranties, complementary services and, of course, independence from the brands.
New Tech Solutions for eCommerce
We’ll see new tech solutions for ecommerce. As ecommerce grows, so will the market for tech solutions for online retailers. In 2016, the market for marketing tech for ecommerce boasted with over 3,500 providers. 76% of online retailers in the UK consider innovation to be a business priority. This number is expected to grow in 2017, as ecommerce matures and there is a growing demand for tech that specialize in niche solutions in ecommerce.
Some of the most sought-after ecommerce solutions in 2017 will focus on improving customer experience, user-centric personalization (both on-site and off-site), real-time and predictive analytics, conversion rate optimization, and rich interactive content. Online retailers will look into solutions that can offer deeper insights into consumer behavior and track consumer engagement and conversions across channels. Consumers become quickly accustomed to innovative approaches to online shopping, so ecommerce retailers will need to continuously explore new tech that delivers convenience, comfort, and exceptional experiences to customers.
Free Shipping & Fast Delivery Will be Top Priority
When trying to predict the future of retail, there’s a lot of talk about progressive strategies like, for example, the adoption of VR. However, before your store even gets the chance to impress shoppers with advanced tech, what consumers care about first and foremost is delivery – how fast is it and is it free?
Yes, while the press and the public muse about drone deliveries, in 2017, majority of online retailers will be still trying to figure out profitable ways to deliver free shipping and super-fast shipping in order to compete with the giants like Amazon. Data of past consumer behavior confirms this. 44% of consumers abandon their shopping carts if the delivery is perceived to be too expensive. Free shipping is so important that 58% of shoppers are willing to add more items to cart to qualify for free delivery and 83% are willing to wait longer for the items to arrive to their homes. To stay competitive in 2017, online retailers will need to seek ways to absorb the shipping costs (including delivery and returns) in order to motivate shoppers to place on order from their digital stores.
But free delivery is not everything. Timing is also a part of the equation determining the likelihood of purchase. In 2016, 29% of consumers said they would be willing to pay more and order more items for the same-day delivery, following the practice introduced by Amazon Prime. The soaring popularity of services like Postmates also fuels consumers’ demand for faster shipping. Next-day or same-day delivery is considered “fast” by 92% of shoppers in the US, and the threshold falls considerably for 3-5 day shipping. This means that in 2017, online retailers will also need to look into the fastest way to get the products from their warehouses to shoppers’ doorsteps. In-store delivery and partnerships with innovative delivery services will be on the rise.
Video Will Begin to Dominate
Imagine it’s about 8:00 p.m. in Salem, Oregon. Melisa is visiting her daughter, son-in-law, and week-old grandson. After chatting and visiting much of the day, everyone sits down on a faux leather couch in front of the young couple’s 32-inch television.
Melisa, like many folks her age, might have been expecting prime time television or, perhaps, a show streamed via Netflix or Hulu. But instead, her millennial daughter and son-in-law turns on YouTube and starts to watch an episode of “Good Mythical Morning,” an Internet series featuring Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln “Link” Neal III.
This should not be too surprising, millennials aged 18 to 34 have shown a strong preference for digital video over traditional television.
A recent comScore and YouTube study found that about 35 percent of millennials preferred to watch YouTube compared to about 18 percent that preferred traditional television programming.
What’s more, some 74 percent of those millennials said they liked to watch videos that brands, companies, or institutions had uploaded. It is not much of a stretch to say that some 74 percent of these millennials like content marketing.
In 2017, content marketers, who already recognize this trend, will increasingly produce videos. In fact, expect video to begin to become a dominant form for some large ecommerce operations.