Three Big E-commerce Trends to Watch
23rd July, 2012 | Posted by: Sutton Silver
With online purchases continuing to increase, e-commerce is big news for a large number of businesses. In 2011 Online sales in the UK alone exceeded £50 billion, with this popularity creating an opportunity for business to make big profits by expanding into selling their products and services online. These figures suggest a change in how consumers shop; meaning businesses must adapt to survive in such a competitive market.
With this in mind, we have presented three e-commerce trends that show the directions in which online shopping is moving, along with some insight into how businesses and consumers can get to grips with web-based retail.
1. Unique or Commoditised Products
The success of Etsy and other sites selling artists’ work online relies on the consumer’s desire for unique products that are difficult to find anywhere else. Due to the time and effort used to create these products they tend to compete on originality and aesthetics as opposed to price. The most important goal for these websites is establishing a brand with a reputation for quality, which will in turn bring in sales.
In contrast to this, commoditised products such as electronics are big business in the ecommerce world. Pioneers of online retail such as Amazon and ASOS will generally have the most success from this, as consumers prefer to buy from large, well-established brands due to their competitive prices. However, small businesses have found success through affiliations with major retailers. Lifeproof, a line of waterproof and shock-resistant iPhone cases, were able to penetrate the mainstream audience through aligning themselves with BestBuy.
A new technique for ecommerce is “remarketing”- using multiple touches to generate continued interest in the product. Ads appearing online that seem tailored to your interests show remarketing at its finest.
When a potential customer visits a website and then leaves without making a purchase, companies can ‘follow’ them on the Internet. Ads and offers will appear on other pages the potential customer is viewing.
The negative aspect of this very direct type of marketing is the possibility of users being uncomfortable about the idea of ads following them around. However if they are still considering the purchase of the item they were previously looking at, these ads can persuades them towards this.
According to Think Mobile with Google, 81% of smartphone users access the Internet on their mobile devices, with 59% using the Internet on their phones while waiting. With this in mind, ecommerce sites that are mobile optimised, or have a streamlined mobile application, will get more sales. Being able to access the Internet from mobiles could spell trouble for high street retailers, as consumers can compare prices in shops to those online in an instant, before making a purchase. This suggests that catering for smart-phone users when setting up an e-commerce shop is essential for keeping up with a rapidly changing market.
Ecommerce will continue to develop, and these trends may shift or become obsolete. One thing, however, that remains important is the need to build a loyal following through competitive prices and by providing a quality customer service. Staying on top of e-commerce trends will give your business a firm advantage when interacting and communicating with customers.