The world of eCommerce is constantly evolving, and online businesses are always looking for new ways to innovate the online shopping experience. According to E-Marketer, the entire retail industry is worth around $28.3 trillion while the ecommerce industry sells around $1.316 trillion (5.5%) per year and is growing at a staggering 20% annually.
The two main countries that are fueling this massive expansion are the United States and China. Most consumers in these vast marketplaces are experienced with online shopping and as a result it has become increasingly important for businesses to take advantage of this platform to find innovative ways to move their products.
As 2015 is approaching its end, this year showcased several new concepts and technologies that lead the growth of the marketplace Amongst the winners were recommendation engines, developing a personalized shopping experience, in-store shipping options, and social media shopping.
Highly sophisticated recommendation engines have existed for several years, but they are continuing to develop and grow into highly intelligent applications that are capable of understanding consumers in ways that were never before imaginable.
Using data collected from users, these recommendation engines are finding ways to recommend products and suggest services that are useful to a consumer, but not always obvious. For retailers, this has led to an increase in sales and it has helped marketing strategies evolve as we continue to learn more about a user’s shopping habits and overall behavior.
A recommendation engine is a unique tool that has the ability to think on its own and to provide meaningful suggestions that are likely to trigger a sale.
THE PERSONALIZED SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Personalization is often seen as a buzzword in the digital marketing world. When users visit online stores, they are typically interested in shopping for what they want and that’s about it. However, it isn’t always easy for them to find the items they want and sometimes they need a little push in the right direction to find that perfect product.
Personalization has provided businesses with a precise tool that allows them to identify the preferences of their consumers through collected data and the ability to use that data to create unique shopping experiences. The entire process of personalization is a positive for the shopping experience and consumers enjoy the benefits that it provides. Both BMW and Co-operative Travel noticed significant increases in their conversion rates when they personalized their shopping experiences.
Shipping is the most problematic part of the online shopping experience. The simple fact is that nobody likes to pay shipping fees. According to ComScore, 61 percent of online shoppers are likely to cancel an order if they have to pay an extra shipping fee. For brick-and-mortar stores that have an online presence, they have noticed a decent sales boost and increase in customer satisfaction when they offer in-store shipping options. By offering flexible shipping options, customers are more likely to purchase an item from you.
If Amazon Prime and Prime Day were any indicator, free shipping has become an industry norm and something that will need to be implemented across the board for any online store. Amazon’s Prime Day saw the company sell 34.4 million items at a rate of 398 items per second. Unpacking these numbers, the company unloaded 51,000 Bose Headphones, compared to 8 headphones the previous Wednesday, 47,000 televisions, 14,000 iRobot Roombas, 56,000 copies of Lord of the Rings, 28,000 Rubbermaid sets, 24,000 pressure cookers, and much more. What do these numbers show us? Shoppers like free shipping and they like their shipping to be fast.
SOCIAL MEDIA SHOPPING
Amazon is the king of eCommerce, rivaled only by AliBaba. Amazon understands the importance of converting sales as quickly as possible. Some of their past innovations included the one-click purchase, the Amazon Prime program, and now the Amazon Cart.
When users see a product tweet that interests them on Twitter, they can reply to the tweet with #AmazonCart and the item will be added to their cart on Amazon’s website. Tying together the social and retail experiences will be a valuable tool for retailers who are looking to advertise their products and convert sales through viral marketing and other advertising methods.
The year isn’t over yet but if we look back to the beginning and compare it to the previous year, eCommerce technology is advancing at such a rapid pace it feels like the entire marketplace undergoes a radical shift every 6 months. With each innovation, it becomes easier for the average person to both buy items and create their own eCommerce stores which only grows the market and makes innovation occur faster.