As I mentioned in a previous post, there are several big trends in E-commerce to keep an eye on in 2014 (and the coming years). Three of the biggest, and in my opinion, most important ones, are Mobile Optimization, Personalization, and Same Day Delivery. These trends all go hand-in-hand due to the fact that E-commerce is evolving to better serve consumers across the world. With this evolution comes many improvements to the current system, and these changes are all connected to one another. Let’s take a look at these three trends, and see how they interact!
Mobile Optimization is perhaps one of the more noticeable trends you’ll see this coming year. In the past, businesses spent a lot of time and money on their websites, figuring that consumers were going to make the majority of their purchases using their computers. Nowadays, the average person owns a smartphone or a tablet, and is able to make those same purchases on the go. It is vital for businesses to have their websites be mobile friendly, and for them to streamline their original sites to make a more cohesive virtual storefront for shoppers. You’ll begin to see more mobile sites that are very user-friendly, instead of the slow to load, full of extra content, and badly sized mobile sites of the past. Additionally, these new mobile sites will be the first priority for businesses. Instead of getting their main website up first, companies will be focusing first on launching a fully-loaded app or site, optimized for mobile devices. This takes us straight to the next trend.
Personalization means several things in the E-commerce world. It means that consumers will more frequently have the ability to customize their merchandise before purchasing it. For instance, Coca-Cola now gives you the ability to order Coke cans with your name on them. You can pick the exact color of your new bicycle, change the handlebars to fit your hand size, and buy tire caps in the exact color of your choice, all at Heritage General Store, based in Chicago.
Personalization also means that the world of E-commerce is beginning to recognize the consumer base as individuals, not just one mass of buyers who all want the same thing. This is very important, because it ties in with marketing trends that are also changing. Based on customer’s purchasing history, businesses can now use data they’ve collected to more effectively target people with specific ads. The more efficient these advertising methods become, the higher the percentage of return shoppers. Personalization is key to the success of E-commerce businesses.
Finally, Same Day Delivery (or next day)is going to become standard in the next couple of years. With it becoming increasingly important for businesses to have an E-commerce presence, everyone is suddenly online trying to sell their products. This mass influx of business is creating stiff competition for retailers, and they are now looking for ways to one-up their competitors. Along with offering improved mobile sites and personalized products, they have realized the importance of prompt delivery services as well. In light of Amazon’s recent declaration to begin Drone Deliveries (after the FAA changes some airspace regulations), IBM has been looking for a way to compete with this new standard. They announced on June 11, 2014 that they will now be offering same-day delivery services through a partnership with a start-up called Deliv. I predict we’ll be seeing a lot more similar announcements in the coming months.
In conclusion, the world we are familiar with is rapidly changing to incorporate new technologies (3D Printers!) and social trends. We are in for one heck of a ride in the next couple of decades! It is very exciting to see so much focus on individual consumers finally, and these trends I’ve mentioned are just the beginning of what I believe is going to be a future brimming with endless possibilities. E-commerce will be around until the end of civilization, so we can expect to continue to see a lot more customization, excellent service, and user-friendly formats.