Retailers are faced with a few important questions as they roll out marketing plans for 2015 –
‘Should I invest time, money and efforts in forming marketing strategies for eCommerce or m-Commerce?’
‘Can m-Commerce really take my sales figures northwards?’
‘Which of these will yield more results for my business in 2015?’
To find out answers to these questions, we must look at how eCommerce will shape up in 2015 and beyond, and find out why online shoppers are shifting (and will continue shifting) to mobile-enabled commerce.
E-commerce will Change in 2015 (and still be relevant)
There have been many developments in technology last year, specifically in the field of big data, social media and analytics. These have allowed businesses to refine their eCommerce development strategies and make them more attuned to the needs of the market and their target customers.
We are nearing the end of 2014 and it is therefore the right time to look at our crystal ball and see how businesses will use technology to push growth in the New Year:
- Big Data and Predictive AnalyticsCompanies will start using extensive datasets that they collect from loyalty programs, visitor browsing patterns or past purchase behavior to offer personalized shopping experiences that are tailored to make an extremely positive impression on customers.The use of the right tools will help online stores determine patterns and predict outcomes and trends, allowing them to confidently leverage new strategies, explore newer markets and add to their business operations.Many big eCommerce players are already using these technologies to boost revenues. But, in 2015 we will see their adoption going up, especially amongst small online retailers.
- Social CommerceThis year, Amazon launched a feature that allows Twitter users to add items to their wish list on Amazon without leaving the social networking site.Social media platforms are also rolling out some features that will enable consumers to directly buy from these social sites.In September, Twitter announced that it is testing a new feature – a ‘Buy’ button, which will let users make purchases from their Twitter feeds. According to Venture Beat, Twitter is aiming to launch this feature in the first quarter of 2015. This is an attractive opportunity for retailers looking to reach large audiences.Facebook is also working on a similar feature.
- Crypto-CurrenciesDigital cryptocurrency is a technology enabled medium of exchange that has the potential to change the way business is conducted on the World Wide Web.Many retailers are already accepting Bitcoin, a type of cryptocurrency that can improve global access to commerce.Of course, cryptocurrency has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream; but there is very little doubt we are looking at a future in which this currency will be a commonly used method for making online payments.
- Focus on Interactive ContentApart from the tried and tested tactic of showcasing products from different angles with high-quality images, retailers will need to do something different in 2015 to persuade visitors to buy their products.Retailers need to keep differentiating their eCommerce presence from their competitors if they are to persuade buyers to purchase from their site. We are already seeing instances of retailers using a range of interactive content to shore up their sales efforts.Jimmy Choo has an online magazine named Choo World that also acts as its products catalog. It offers comprehensive information about Jimmy Choo products and uses videos and how-to guides to offer a more interactive experience to potential shoppers. It recommends product ‘looks’ that can suit different types of users and also showcases pictures of celebrities using the brand’s products; at the same time it provides a link back to the same products on its online store.
Shift towards M-Commerce
Stats don’t lie. Let’s look at some stats that underline the growth of m-commerce and prove its going to be ‘really big’ in the coming years:
- M-commerce retail sales are expected to rise to $61 billion for tablets and $25 billion for smartphones and other mobile devices by 2016.
- 37% of mobile users in US favor m-commerce over in-store shopping.
- M-commerce growth is outpacing traditional eCommerce growth by 200%.
- Mobile commerce transactions are set to surpass record levels of $3.2 trillion by 2017.
- Mobile sales will make up 9% of all online sales in 2017.
These stats clearly show that the wave in consumer behavior is moving from eCommerce to m-commerce. It won’t be any surprise, if we get to see m-commerce taking up a lion’s share of the retailer’s marketing budget in near future!
So, why is this shift happening? Why would people prefer to shop from their smartphones rather than in-store or through their laptops/desktops in the future?
Here are a few answers:
- Any Time Shopping: Mobile commerce allows retailers to put their store in the customers’ pockets. People can shop for products at any given time, for e.g. when they are waiting in a queue or commuting on a train.
- Help Make Decision While In-Store: According to reports, 84% of smartphone shoppers use their phones to assist them in their shopping while they are actually in the physical store.With smartphones in their hand, consumers can research their preferred products, read product reviews and compare prices. And if they find that a competitor is offering the same product at a lesser price, they can leave the showroom and buy that product online through their cell-phone instantly.
Though retailers are seeing a rise in sales via mobile shopping, there are some challenges they need to overcome to ensure they keep cart abandonment rates to a bare minimum.
Take a look at some challenges they need to face head on:
- One of the main reasons many consumers aren’t shopping on their phones is because many retailers make the checkout process quite cumbersome on their mobile sites or apps. This problem needs to be sorted out.
- The other challenge with mobile commerce is the smaller screen sizes of mobiles compared to a desktop or a laptop. This makes entering credit details and shipping addresses time consuming and fiddly; this frustrates shoppers and many of them choose to abandon their purchase. Again, a major problem that needs to be solved.
M-commerce is clearly on the rise and retailers need to be completely on top of this changing landscape. Having said that, it doesn’t mean ‘traditional’ eCommerce, i.e. purchase made on desktop and laptop computers is dead. In fact, if you want to run a successful online business, it is important you make both eCommerce and m-Commerce a part of your marketing strategy rather than just focusing on one medium.
The idea is to use any and every medium that helps you increase the sales of your business.