E-commerce used to be just an option. Back then, people bought their products from physical stores and flesh-and-blood salespeople – it was a real and physical event.
Today, we have a virtual world that runs 24/7 and e-commerce is now an integral part of doing business in this Internet age. It is no longer something that can be ignored.
As online commerce is continues to mature rapidly, here is a summary of the top trends in e-commerce you shouldn’t ignore:
Modern logistics and technology are making it easier to sell across borders and oceans. This opens up the market for countries with small populations.
Australian companies for example can now access the Chinese, US and European markets with billions of consumers. This can be done simply by designing their online store for foreign currencies and overseas markets.
Selling a larger volume of products means that manual systems need to be automated.
Technology and integrated online stores can help existing e-commerce sites scale. Scaling business needs infrastructure and processes and the right technology can help with this.
The rapid evolution, rise and consumer penetration of the smartphone and the tablet might easily be one of the biggest changes in the last few years to how we communicate, shop and consume media.
This has also affected how we design and build websites. It also has implications for the optimising of content and even email for viewing on small screens.
Personalisation in the old shopping experience was when you dropped into your corner store and the owner knew exactly what lollies you liked.
Technology is now providing the intelligence to scale that personal experience. Algorithms and software that can detect whether you are male or female and what you prefer between Nike and Adidas have been developed.
Most shoppers today are using multiple channels with the same retailer. They research in-store and then buy online.
Omni-channel is an integrated approach to multi-channel marketing. It is a strategy to ensure consistent communication with your customer across all channels.
It is also not just about the channels but the devices. It is about keeping the communication congruent on mobile, desktops and the physical store. It needs to be a one customer view.
All in all, these e-commerce trends display the diversity and complexity that is now online shopping. You not only need to be a retail company but a technology company. That will become your competitive edge.
Jeff Bullas is a blogger, author, strategist and speaker. He works with companies and executives to optimise their online personal and company presence and brand with digital and social media marketing. He is currently the head digital marketing strategist at Infinity Technologies, which has launched a free ebook discussing 10 advanced e-commerce strategies to help you take your online store to the next level.