The e-commerce industry is on a roll, as digital consumers are buying more and more products and services from online retailers. And it’s not just limited to giant e-commerce stores like Amazon and eBay. Small to medium enterprises are also seeing spikes in their online sales—thanks to the continuous growth of digital technologies, as well as digital consumers.
Nowadays, people who are on the go are looking for fast and convenient methods of shopping, and e-commerce addresses this need for them. With just a click or tap on your devices, you can order items or subscribe to a service. You can also take advantage of hamper delivery when you shop online. It’s shopping made easy for consumers who do not have the time to go to brick-and-mortar stores.
With these scenarios, it’s safe to say that e-commerce will continue to grow and attract a wider market globally. Look at this infographic showing existing and upcoming trends in e-commerce, the buying behaviour and preferences among digital shoppers, and how things will pan out for your e-commerce business.
Consumers’ Buying Behaviour Online
Mobile commerce is gaining traction among online shoppers. It’s now common to find people use their smartphone or tablet to search for and buy products online, which makes it imperative for businesses to make themselves visible on mobile apps. E-commerce brands also utilise social pages for mobile shopping.
Industry reports predict that:
By 2020, 45% of e-commerce purchases will take place on mobile devices—that’s about $284 in sales revenue for e-commerce sellers.
One of the things that makes online shopping appealing to customers is the fast delivery of goods. Most e-commerce stores tie-up with courier or hamper delivery services to make sure that buyers receive their items on the day of purchase.
With 25% of consumers willing to pay for shipping fees, it’s no surprise that we’ll be seeing increased volumes in parcel delivery in the B2C market, especially in areas where e-commerce continues to boom.
Australia, for example, has one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets today. Out of its population of 23 million, you will find that there are four customers out of 10 who are buying products from e-commerce sellers at least once every month.
Australia’s good IT or internet infrastructure makes it easy for anyone to choose online shopping over traditional shopping. Since this trend is likely to continue this year, retailers are expected to make 31% of their sales via online channels.
How will the future of e-shopping look like? Here are some trends to watch out for:
Increasing video use and recognition
Businesses in the e-commerce space have been using videos to promote their products or services and demonstrate how they work. In the years to come, experts predict that digital ads will form the bulk of ad spending.
Video use can be especially useful when marketing smartphones as it enables buyers to see the features of the phone in action and help them decide if it’s the right product to buy.
However, this doesn’t mean that other product categories will not benefit from having video coverage in your e-commerce site, as this trend will likely catch on across industries.
Virtual reality / Augmented reality
Breakthrough technologies like VR and AR are helping shape the e-commerce landscape by leaps and bounds. It’s now possible, for example, for a cosmetic company to allow potential buyers to see how its products will look on their faces through special AR apps.
Businesses can tap AR and VR to provide a unique and meaningful experience for shoppers, which can help set their brand apart from competitors.
Multiple shopping channels
Marketers commonly use the term “buyer’s journey” to describe the various stages that consumers go through before completing a purchase. In this journey, customers would search for options, look at product reviews, compare prices, and so on, until they make the final decision to buy.
For e-commerce customers, each stage in their buying journey happens online. They might be following several merchants on Instagram to look at their latest line-up of products and go to Facebook to find out more information about the company.
This makes it essential for businesses to establish their digital presence in multimedia channels and make sure that buyers can easily find them on their preferred platform.
Last, but not least, e-commerce retailers should have a multi-channel system in place that lets them provide a seamless shopping experience for their customers.
An automated e-commerce platform is one that makes use of available technologies to help retailers save time, lower costs, or sell more. Automation is also helpful for buyers, as it allows them to have a well-coordinated customer experience on the platform.
When customers visit an e-commerce site and perform any sales-related action such as putting products or items in a shopping cart, specific triggers will be launched. Some of these triggers might show other relevant products that customers could add to their cart. The site can also recognise once a customer has reached the checkout tab, and automatically serve up a discount depending on how much the purchase is worth.
Another way that businesses benefit from this trend is through automated notifications. Each time there’s a special sale, customers will receive alerts via email or SMS and will be prompted to visit the site to find out more or to make a purchase.
Cryptocurrencies as payment method
Cryptocurrencies like the much-talked-about Bitcoin use encryption techniques that make it possible for people to pay for products or services online without using cold cash.
For merchants, this new method of payment ensures that they do not have to pay merchant fees from every sale they make. When customers use a debit or credit card to make a purchase, a certain percentage of the payment goes to the bank or the credit card company. That is not the case with cryptocurrencies, which allow cryptocurrency owners to transfer funds without any control or regulation from any bank.
Meanwhile, e-commerce customers may appreciate the fact that crypto tokens are more secure to use than credit cards since cryptocurrencies are using a special kind of technology that puts the control directly in the hands of merchants and users.
On-site and in-app mobile commerce
As mentioned, many consumers now rely on their mobile devices for online shopping. It is said that by 2020, the entire shopping journey—from product search to comparisons and payments will be made solely on mobile platforms since everyone is carrying either a smartphone or tablet anywhere they go.
That said, it would be best to complement your site with a mobile app that can engage buyers at every touchpoint and close sales for your business. Just remember to optimise your website and app for mobile devices so that they will have a good customer experience when interacting with your company.
Today’s consumers have an ever-increasing set of demands and expectations mainly due to their exposure to technologies that make it possible to speed up all kinds of tasks.
In response, many e-commerce businesses are now offering the option of same-day delivery to their customers. This type of service can be appealing to buyers who won’t mind paying additional fees to receive their packages within the day of purchase.
The Future of Delivery Services
One of the most important factors that can make or break your e-commerce business is the delivery services you offer. You might provide an enjoyable shopping experience to your customers online, but if you fail to deliver their order or purchase immediately, the whole buying process is not considered complete. That’s why it’s a must that you invest in delivery services that can meet your customers’ expectations and help you achieve your business goals.
Here are some of the delivery service options for e-commerce retailers:
Drones are now being used to deliver parcels in a matter of minutes, thanks to pioneering efforts of companies like Amazon. Drone delivery is especially useful for hard-to-reach areas since aerial vehicles are used to transport the items.
At the moment, drone delivery has certain limitations. These include being suitable only for lightweight products and being available only in selected areas during daytime. Once these limitations are worked out, drones may become a regular part of delivery services.
The concept of an electric, joystick-controlled Vision Van comes courtesy of car company, Mercedes-Benz. It describes the Vision Van as an “intelligently networked delivery vehicle of the future,” which could reduce the amount of time to sort packages for delivery to as short as 30 seconds, as well as completing the actual delivery by integrating the use of drones in the delivery process.
Starship robots are ground drones that are used to deliver goods to customers of local businesses. The unmanned robots or drones made by UK company, Starship Technologies, are fitted with cameras and sensors to enable them to navigate around roads and streets.
It’s possible that ride-hailing services like Uber might cross over into delivery services, too. They could use their communications technology to connect merchants with buyers who want to avail of their delivery driving services.
Underground networks of train tracks
Roadside deliveries are prone to delays due to traffic. As a workaround to this problem, Cambridge-based Mole Solutions proposes taking delivery services underground using a network of train tracks.
This concept of delivery, called the Mole, can transport multiple quantities of goods to their destinations, which are mostly suppliers and businesses. In the future, the Mole might also be able to deliver single packages to customers’ houses.
Indeed, 2018 and the years to come are very promising for e-commerce. You can expect that this will be a crowded business market, so be sure to stay on top of trends and utilise the right tools and systems to make your brand stand out.
Nick Hartman is the Marketing and Communications Manager for Go People. The prospect of seamless, same day deliveries excites him and he hopes Go People will one day achieve that. Outside of making the delivery world a better place, you can often see him down at the SCG taking high class photos for his Instagram page.