2016 was an exciting year of growth for ecommerce just like it has been in the past couple of years. Consumer spends were favourably in line with expectations for much of the year and broke expectations with the onset of the Holiday season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday together accounted for close to $7 billion in sales revenue. Let’s keep the stats aside as you might have already been accustomed to quite a few by now. There is no doubt in the fact that 2017 will witness even bigger sales events and online sales will eat away a good majority of physical store sales all across the globe. On this note, the biggest challenge facing ecommerce companies is to prepare their website for sales in 2017. In terms of traffic management, shopping frequencies, user sessions, etc. 2017 is poised to be of far greater magnitude than 2016.
We have gathered info about some of the best practices you can adopt for your ecommerce website to stay competent in the boom and ensure your consumers are happy every time they visit your online store. Here are our top picks:
Robust technology platform
If your ecommerce site is running on legacy systems, then you need to definitely draw up an action plan to get it replaced with a scalable and robust modern day ecommerce platform. Hiring in an expert ecommerce consulting company to rephrase your entire technology architecture without altering your business models is the best option if you are unable to make the digital transformation in-house. An industry standard ecommerce platform will ensure that all your marketing and business logic would flawlessly be implemented to provide the best shopping experience for your visitors.
In one of our previous blog posts, we had detailed down on essentials of a great ecommerce checkout process. Cart abandonment rate is one parameter that you should focus to decrease and gradually eliminate from your business model. 2016 saw several ecommerce websites report that in cases 90% of their shoppers left their site on the checkout stage simply because it wasn’t optimized to provide them a hassle free purchase. The solution would be to design multiple checkout workflows and conduct A/B Testing and other proven quality analysis to determine the best checkout process for your ecommerce store.
If you think you have enough personalization based on user preferences, we have bad news for you. Consumer choices change in a matter of seconds. The more data an ecommerce system is able to collect and analyse, more is the personalization options they can offer to consumers. This is to be treated as a continuous process that always evolves based on feedbacks. Personalizing consumer interactions with easier navigation, better targeted promotions and smart marketing will greatly influence purchase decisions.
Managing feedback content
Today almost all ecommerce sites offer customers a choice to leave reviews and comments on their purchases. But most of the sites do not attempt to engage customers further after they have submitted their reviews and ratings. With smart marketing tools, your marketers can gain deep insights into how consumers are generating positive or negative sentiments for their purchases and helps them engage in better conversations which ultimately leads to new sales requests.
Delivery is the area where the customer actually comes in contact with his purchase for the first time. As such there is a tremendous opportunity for ecommerce companies to improve brand loyalty at this stage. Making the fastest delivery alone isn’t enough to gain confidence from shoppers but providing a wholesome delivery/pick-up experience is the key to winning hearts. Allowing consumers to select favourable delivery time slots, offering them choices to change delivery addresses after despatch, etc. are just some of the ways you can help consumers feel happy about the overall delivery experience.
So there you have it folks, our top 5 picks in best practices to help your ecommerce site win big in the New Year. Stay tuned to our blogs for more such exciting tips.
2016 witnessed yet another sensational Black Friday and Cyber Monday saga as shoppers splurged record sums of money across retail channels both offline and online. Let’s keep our focus to the eCommerce side where 2016 saw some records being rewritten. Primarily those records were for eCommerce transactions via mobile phones or to be more specific mCommerce. There were reports suggesting that many online stores were ill equipped to handle the huge peak in mobile traffic and consumers were frustrated with low grade mobile sites but when you look at sales percentage, Adobe reports that nearly 36% of all online sales revenue for Black Friday 2016 came through mobile phones.
Though PC’s drove more sales, the traffic volume was higher from mobile screens 55 percent of traffic to retail sites were from mobile screens. Tablet PC’s occupied only a fraction of the mobile traffic and the competition was predominantly between iPhones and Android powered mobile phones. Black Friday 2016 also witnessed for the first time that mobile sales revenue alone surpassed $1 billion on a single day.
For retailers, this is a wake-up call as their reluctance to offer crispier mobile experiences to shoppers will cost them dearly in market share. If you were to ask us for the exact areas to focus on, in order to deliver a seamless cross channel experience for your shoppers, the below would be our picks:
Light weight mobile sites
Shopping Apps across all popular platforms
Mobile centric marketing campaigns via emails
As days pass by the shopping season is only going to get hotter and online retailers who haven’t drawn up elaborate plans for mCommerce need to catch up with their app engineers or software vendors to put some great mobile experiences in place.
This week is the 2016 Internet Retailer Conference and Expo (IRCE) in Chicago – probably the most important gathering of the retail and e-commerce industry. This year’s conference convenes in the midst of disruptive changes that are transforming how companies and brands reach customers and conduct their e-commerce business. Let’s take a look at just a few of the biggest industry shifts:
Last year, Oracle released Oracle Commerce Cloud which takes the most powerful features of the industry leading Oracle Commerce with its ATG and Endeca foundations and made it available in an always up-to-date cloud platform.
But those are just on the platform and software side. What about on the consumer side? What trends are most important for us to pay attention to?
It is timely that the Code Conference was last week and Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers presented her annual Internet Trends Report. While each year’s report is always full of important nuggets for internet marketers to remember, this year’s report highlights trends that are especially important for internet retailers and and e-commerce marketers to consider.
Global Economic Growth is Slowing
Yes, this isn’t specifically an internet trend but it shapes the internet and online commerce.
Globally, we are seeing lower than average GDP and growth is starting to slow in some of the largest economies including China. We are also seeing a decline in commodity prices and interest rates, which all indicate the global outlook on the market potential. We are also seeing other trends that shape the economy including increased debt and the lack of population growth in some key markets.
However, there is a bright spot and opportunity in this shift.
As Oracle CEO Mark Hurd has repeatedly pointed out, when revenue growth stalls the only way for earnings to grow is through cost cutting. And although IT spending has been declining worldwide, the push is on to move resources to the cloud so IT can focus and grow the core business rather than spending time and resources on running old infrastructure.
Against this backdrop Mary Meeker points out that the days of easy corporate growth are behind us. But this is where nimble, disruptive internet companies can make their mark and transform their businesses and industries.
We are in the Midst of a Generational Shift
You’ve heard it before but just in case… “The Millennials are coming!!!”
Mary Meeker points out that millennials now count for 27% of the population in the United States and are reshaping everything they touch. Thanks to this generation, everything is being transformed from the ways companies go to market (more on that later) to media consumption (have you tried Facebook Live or watched a Snapchat video) to how they communicate directly (the phone is dead… long live messaging. Check out slides 97 through 107 of her presentation for more details).
And don’t forget – Millennials’ spending power is only going to grow as they evolve in their careers and have more disposable income.
These shifts are driving how Millennials (and the rest of us) consume media and our expectations for the brands and companies we buy products and services from.
Brands and Commerce Are Rapidly Morphing in this New Mixed up World.
Mary says it best in her presentation:
Products become brands, brands become retailers, and retailers are becoming products and brands.
Need proof? Look at some of the hottest e-commerce brands out there:
Casper found a new way to build a different type of mattress and have built a unique brand promise along with a great product. Products become brands.
Warby Parker started with the promise of affordable, fashionable eyewear. Now they are opening their own stores in addition to samples they ship to your home to try on. Brands become retailers.
Amazon is rolling out their own private label products for everything from diapers to groceries. Retailers become products.
Of course this trend is going even one step further as retailers are also now coming into the home with new “brand services” such as Stitch Fix and Trunk Club.
The foundation of this shift is data that these companies and brands have about their customers. For example, if you stop and realize that Stitch Fix is really the “Netflix of clothes,” you can quickly understand how customer data drives sales. So much that their CEO reports that 100% of their sales are driven by recommendations.
So what is one to take away from all of this and think about as we start IRCE 2016?
Start by looking for efficiency. If global growth is declining, marketers and retailers need to look for ways to maximize your IT investment and realize cost savings through technology and services that allow you to focus on your core competency and leverage partners’ expertise and economies of scale.
Consider what modern engagement means and select platforms that will grow to meet those new challenges. Your next customers are engaging in ways you never thought of. As you consider new business tools, look for platforms that will grow with market changes and offer new, innovative solutions to engage customers wherever they are.
Don’t be afraid to rethink business models and implement technology that helps you do that. As competition shifts around you, you are bound to ask questions about your business model and how you deliver. Are you a brand to product? Or a product to brand? Or something else? The key will be technology and partners that understand those shifts and help you navigate the waters.
It’s sure to be an exciting week as we consider these trends and we reconnect with partners, clients and colleagues for invigorating discussion. Because in a world where change is constant, you can see how the timing of IRCE is the perfect opportunity to address these trends and chart a path forward.
What do you think? Do you have a different opinion? Be sure to visit McFadyen Solutions at booth 1707 in the Expo Hall at the 2016 Internet Retailer Conference and Expo to share your thoughts.
For more of Mary Meeker’s presentation, be sure to check out her original slides and the video of her presentation.
View the original Slides: 2016 Internet Trends – Mary Meeker, KPCB
US ecommerce shoppers increased their spending by 16% Year-on-Year in the second quarter of 2013, according to web measurement firm comScore Inc.
According to comScore, ecommerce spending reached $49.84 billion, up from $43.15 billion in Q2, 2012. This is the 15th consecutive quarter where US ecommerce have grown positively and 11th consecutive quarter with double-digit growth.
In their second report on mobile commerce, comScore reports that the online spending via mobile devices saw an increase of 24%, which is roughly $4.7 billion(close to 10% of the overall spending)
“Increased spending growth for the quarter not only reflects the long term share shift towards digital commerce, but also the near-term signals of sustained improvement in consumer sentiment,” says comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “This strength is particularly significant since the second quarter tends to be seasonally lighter for e-commerce, and, as such, represents a positive indicator for the back half of the year.”
Five product categories have registered an increase of 19% or more in online sales – apparel and accessories, digital content and subscriptions, sport and fitness, consumer packaged goods and home and garden, comScore says.
The $2 billion Indian ecommerce industry is still struggling to be profitable, but the investors are quite upbeat about its future and continues to invest more money, eyeing long term growth.
Within the first four months in 2014, Investors (PE & VC) have already put in $141 million, which is almost half of last year’s investment of $295 million, according to research firm Venture Intelligence.
The $150 million investment received by Flipkart from various investors formed the lion-share of last year investments in the ecommerce industry.
$50 million by Kalaari capital Nexus Ventures, Samaa Capital and others in marketplace ecommerce firm Snapdeal, $14 million by Sequoia Capital India and Intel Capital in Health are some the major investments in 2013.
“The PE investment in brick-and-mortar retail has failed. Brands are also realizing that e-commerce is a better way to penetrate into the tier-II and tier-III cities as building the physical infrastructure is never going to be profitable,” says Arun Natarajan, CEO, Venture Intelligence.
Wal-Mart’s ecommerce website gets a revamp with new social features like ‘Trending Now’, which is designed to match the shopping patterns of the new-age online customers.
The world’s largest retailer is making extensive use of its 4,000-plus store footprint along with mobility to achieve dominance in the digital sphere.
Walmart now credits revenues to brick-and-mortar stores for online purchases that are picked up there, reducing the sense of internal inter-channel competition, according to Neil Ashe, CEO of Walmart’s global ecommerce division. He added that about half of the merchandise ordered on Walmart’s website is shipped directly to a store, according to published reports, and that Walmart is also the only e-commerce site that allows its customers to pay cash for online purchases.
Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has decided to acquire 17% stake in Weibo, microblogging website owned by online media company Sina Corp, for $586 million. Both companies have also agreed on another term in which Alibaba will increase the stake to 30% over a certain period of time on for a mutually agreed valuation.
Both companies decided to forge partnership in the areas like online marketing, data exchange, online payment, and account connectivity. Weibo and Alibaba also looks to explore new business models in the social commerce arena to leverage their large user base in their ecommerce platforms.
Over the next three years, Weibo is expected to generate $380 million in advertising and social commerce through this deal. Read more