With the rise of mobile commerce and the proliferation of multi-channel selling, there will be plenty of opportunities to grow your business in the coming year. Described below are some of the trends which we feel will be prominent and shape the year ahead
- Ecommerce Going Mobile: The biggest emerging trend for Ecommerce is undoubtedly mobile. Creative and low-cost or no-cost platforms will enable small businesses to handle mobile e-commerce relatively effortlessly, such as payment (including cross-border), reliability, security, and more. The Use of Tablets and smartphones for accessing the Internet will surpass that of traditional computing devices.
- “Simple” Social Ecommerce: Facebook usage is already declining in the 18-34 demographic and the trend will continue as new users prefer the more instant Social Channels such as Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Less “Like my page” and more “Here’s something we know you’d like”. Companies will race to provide the optimal manner in which to present their products and service that fit these relatively simple channels.
- Multi-Channel Selling: It includes retail stores, online stores, mobile stores, mobile app stores, telephone sales, and any other methods of transacting with a customer. Transacting includes browsing, buying, and returning as well as pre and post-sale service. Multi-channel retailing is often said to be dictated by systems and processes when in fact it is the customer that dictates the route they take to transact. As e-commerce blossomed, it opened a third sales channel for merchants; launch a website and you can suddenly sell to a global marketplace. As the cost to enter the e-commerce market is dropping, many businesses are choosing to bypass actual stores and catalogs altogether, preferring to launch a virtual store online. The rise of wirelessly connected devices including Bluetooth low energy and indoor location technologies will increase consumer touch points.
- Multi-Channel Marketing: Marketing and promotional activities will need to do more than just drive sales by leveraging them to increase your social followings and email subscriptions. The use of informational graphics, videos, and even human agents will increase to connect with the customer. There are a large amount of smart (and often free) online tools, platforms, and plug-ins available for companies to leverage this kind of opportunity
- Consumer Driven Demand & Direct to Consumer: Expansion of direct-to-consumer activities from brand manufacturers. Distributors and wholesalers will need to demonstrate their value to brand manufacturers in new ways. The reaction of some distributors and wholesales has been to threaten to discontinue brand manufacturers’ products in order to keep the direct-to-consumer market as it is. As the relative cost of acquiring a direct customer has dropped significantly for manufacturers since the pre-e-commerce days and many customers prefer dealing direct, look for the number of manufacturers undertaking direct-to-consumer efforts to increase
- Personalization – Nike Id, Ford, and other major brands have embraced consumers’ choice to personalize a product before buying it. The new e-commerce platforms and mobile apps will allow retailers to personalize the products or services to cater to the consumer’s preferences and allow him/her to reflect their style
- Enterprise Mobile Expansion in Retail (Business to Business (B2B): Not only will we see the use of mobile as a checkout platform, but as a way to work with customers on-site to present ideas, create custom look-books, remember sizes and preferences, and sharing across stores internally. The use of mobile wallets and secure payment channels will spread with apps getting cheaper and readily available. Essentially this will be the emergence of mobile as a complete customer service platform and not just using mobile as a point-of-sale device.
Other Trends for 2014 include :
- The continued inclusion of entertainment and discovery in the online retail business enhances the shopping experience.
- Growth of borderless e-commerce and online merchants that allows the consumer to engage vendors worldwide in a seamless online environment.
- Greater focus on such services as subscription models and personal shopping.
- Greater abilities to personalize the shopping experience with an easier, less intrusive impression.
- Increased efficiency through logistics to cut costs of shipping and improve the speed of delivery.
- Bluetooth low energy (BTLE ) and other wireless devices increase consumer touch points and enable transactions
- Indoor location for retailers to personal offers to consumers via Location-based services marketing (SMS/Apps)
- Mobile commerce or m-commerce will explode – Tablets, Smartphones
- Consumer-on-demand personalization