Ecommerce Trends that Increase Sales
Surely you’re familiar with the saying, “The customer is always right.” Whether you agree or disagree, it’s a mentality that you have to maintain if you want to please your customers. And customers are only getting more powerful, particularly when it comes to ecommerce.
With online shopping, customers have access to all products and brands. They can search for what they want, compare prices, read reviews, look for coupon codes and more all from the convenience of their mobile device, tablet or computer. If you want to boost ecommerce sales, you need to wow your audience.
It was predicted earlier this year by the National Retail Foundation that ecommerce sales are expected to reach $350 billion. Global sales are predicted to reach $1.5 trillion. Even the holidays are expected to be bigger than ever, with an estimated $617 billion in sales. You don’t want to miss out on these opportunities, but you must be prepared to serve your customers in new ways.
In this post, we’re going to discuss the various ecommerce trends that increase sales, and how they can be used for your own ecommerce site.
Trend #1: Customers are pulling brands into new territories.
If you didn’t plan on reaching the global market, think again. Ecommerce allows you to widen your reach, and customers may pull you right into territories that you never thought possible. This is a huge benefit for companies that may have been hurt by declines in their local territories. Graphically accept your presence in other territories and give customers what they want. But, be prepared for a few things.
First, you must get familiar with the local pricing and shipping options available in the new territory. Your must also present your customers with a user experience that they will enjoy. What users prefer in one territory may not translate over to another. Also get ready to explore local delivery and supply chains, and think about how you’re going to balance your global and local markets.
Trend #2: Customers want brands to be available 24/7.
The moment you launched your ecommerce site, your brand became open 24/7. Customers could buy anything they wanted from your website at any time. But now consumers want something more. They want you to be available around the clock to answer questions, engage in live chat, ship products immediately and so forth.
To accommodate these needs, your brand is going to have to align with the right supply chain, fulfillment center and customer service team. Perhaps your current arrangement is already working – perhaps not. Ask yourself if your current support network is able to support extended pickup and delivery times and fulfill orders quickly.
What about customer service? Is there a voice for your company during the after hours? More delivery and fulfillment centers will be open 7 days a week to match the high demand for 24/7 online retail.
Trend #3: Big buying days are huge, bringing in billions of dollars.
Before online retail exploded, there were a set number of big buying days, and you could mark your calendar in anticipation of them. Nowadays, there are no rules when it comes to big buying days. Aside from days like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, we now have Cyber Monday, Singles Day and big buying days in other countries. These are all opportunities for your brand to increase sales.
ComScore reported that Cyber Monday exceeded $2 billion in desktop sales in 2014 and ranked as the heaviest US online spending day in history. You’d be silly not to capitalize on this, but you also must be prepared to serve your customers. Big buying days have a lot of competition, and customers are ready to act fast. Make sure you have the appropriate stock, pricing and shipping rates/times ready to go for these key dates.
Trend #4: Same-day, in-store pick-up is highly relevant.
Same-day, in-store pick-up bridges the gap between in-store and online shopping. Customers can take advantage of the convenient online shopping experience while getting their order on the same day. This is more attractive than having to wait several days or weeks to have the product delivered, especially if the customer needs or wants it right away.
You may not be able to offer this service on all your products, and that’s okay. But if you do plan to offer this convenient option, you’ll need a few things. First, your warehouse will need to be close to your location. You also need to keep an updated inventory of your products as well as have the ability to provide free and immediate shipping. Partnering with brick and mortar stores can also be helpful.
Trend #5: Customers expect you to deliver on what you promise.
If you say that an item is in stock, it better be sitting on the shelves. If you assure customers that their product will be shipped by a certain date, it better be packaged and ready to go out. If you don’t deliver on what you promise, customers are going to lose trust very quickly. With more shopping and shipping options than ever before, customers have a lot of power, and they know it.
Not only might you hear from your customers after they receive their product but also during the entire transaction. Customers track every aspect of their experience, and they’re not afraid to be vocal about how you’re doing. They also aren’t afraid to share their opinion with the rest of the world. The stakes are high. Your buyer’s loyalty is on the line, and so is that of your prospects.
Customers want options – it’s true. But it’s better to be able to deliver what you say you will, even if it limits options for the time being.
Trend #6: The offline shopping experience is growing.
While the online shopping experience grows, so does the offline experience. This is a good thing, as both sides should form a mutually rewarding partnership. Be ready to embrace both sides of the shopping experience as you give customers convenience and flexibility coupled with an intimate customer experience.
Aside from offering same-day, in-store pickup, you should also make it a commitment to bridge together your online site and physical location, if you have one. Customers get frustrated when they walk into a store and the employees are unfamiliar with what’s on the website or refuse to offer online prices. Your website and store should be synonymous, not separate. This will only confuse shoppers and make the experience with your brand a negative one.
Trend #7: Customers are looking closely at returns policies.
The return experience is crucial to the overall user experience. In fact, free returns is one of the top factors that influence a customer’s decision on where to shop. If your brand doesn’t have a flexible returns policy, you better believe that your customers will take notice. If they aren’t certain about a product, they won’t hesitate to shop somewhere else.
Some industries require especially flexible returns such as with apparel and shoes. Though retailers have tried to help customers with size charts and photos from real customers, this has yet to be perfected. And this is understandable. How many times have you come home from the store with clothes that looked good in the dressing room but don’t in front of your own mirror?
Regardless of the industry you’re in, you should work with your order and fulfillment company to build a customer-friendly returns policy that is flexible and free.
Are you ready for the holiday season? Get ready to wow your customers with the above trends!