We’re about to start a new year. 2017 is looming just around the corner. While the final numbers aren’t in yet, experts predict that 2016 will prove to be the biggest year for ecommerce retailers to date. And that upward climb is nowhere near slowing down. 2017 ecommerce trends are definitely something to start thinking about.
As you consider your business strategies for the next year, it’s important to know exactly what is trending so you can stay ahead of the curve. Here is a list of the top ecommerce trends for 2017 that you should be aware of.
Mobile Engagement is Here to Stay
Mobile devices have made a huge impact on the way that ecommerce customers shop and that trend will continue in 2017. Mobile-responsive sites are getting better and better, and more shoppers are using smartphones and tablets than ever. In fact, phones have overtaken computers as ecommerce websites’ top traffic source, and by 2017’s end, they are expected to account for 60% of ecommerce traffic. Mobile wallet usage is also expected to increase as mobile conversions grow.
What this means for you: If your website is not already mobile-friendly, 2017 is the year to make it so. Not having a responsive website is already costing you potential sales, and the number will continue to increase in the coming year. 2017 ecommerce trends are something to start thinking about in order to have a successful business in the upcoming year.
Customers Will Expect Faster Shipping
We live in the age of instant gratification. It used to be that a couple of days between order and shipment, and another week waiting for delivery was perfectly acceptable. Those days are gone. Customers want shipping that is fast and free. A recent study by Comscore found that 58% of ecommerce shoppers would add more items to their carts in order to qualify for free shipping.
What this means for you: Inventory tracking, order fulfillment, and shipping processes are critical to you creating satisfied and loyal customers. If they cannot count on your store to provide accurate and fast shipping, they will shop somewhere else. Optimize your company’s procedures or use software solutions that will do it for you.
Social Media Selling Will Increase
In 2016, more and more ecommerce businesses made it a priority to sell directly on social media platforms. That trend will continue and increase in 2017. Social selling, on everything from Twitter to Instagram, has been made easy by tools like the Shopify “Buy Now” buttons that can be added to posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. It’s a good thing for sellers who can use this functionality to create sales on each of their social media platforms, keeping customer engagement and social presence levels at their maximum.
What this means for you: Add “Buy Now” buttons to your social media pages. It’s as easy as that.
Video Marketing Will Stand Out
The use of videos for product promotions is on the rise, and it will continue to gain momentum in 2017. Videos are a great way for sellers to communicate their message effectively. In less than 30 seconds, shoppers can get all the information that they need about the products that they are interested in, and see the products in action. It’s a huge selling point for ecommerce products, which customers cannot see and touch in person.
Videos are also becoming easier to produce. There are many apps and video-making services available that are affordable and easy to use.
What this means for you: Try using video to spotlight your products, which is a becoming a big ecommerce trend coming in 2017. Tutorials are great ways to show off all the features and ease-of-use of each of your products. Video-making tools like Animoto, Magisto, and Camtasia Studio are budget-friendly and quick and easy to use.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Optimize Personalization
This trend is new, not a continuation of something that has been building for the last few years, making it trickier to predict.
Technology has made it easy to personalize the customer experience by collecting data about what each specific shopper buys, and what their shopping habits are. Currently, this allows businesses to target advertising to individuals, rather than the masses. In the coming years, artificial intelligence is expected to optimize and automate this process even further.
What this means for you: This is a trend to watch before you leap. However, you can partner with third-party vendors with access to large data sets to get started with targeting customers individually.
The Internet of Things (IoT) Will Get Bigger
You can now control everything from the temperature inside your home and what your DVR records to many settings on your car, all using your smartphone and other devices. It’s expected that this trend will continue, growing in the number of smart devices that can be connected. Each of the connected devices can be used by ecommerce merchants as point of sales, adding another channel to ecommerce selling.
What this means for you: You now have yet another channel to use for your ecommerce business. Watch this trend and see if your products will fit in with this new way of reaching customers.
Customer Returns Will Be Streamlined
Because online shoppers cannot touch, try on, or test products that they are considering purchasing, the return rates for ecommerce products hovers around 33%. That means that online retailers must expect about one-third of their products will be returned. This means that returns should be streamlined so they don’t negatively affect online stores’ branding.
According to a Forrester Consulting study, 81% of customers are more likely to make online purchases when the merchant has an easy return policy. One big thing becoming more popular with 2017 ecommerce trends is online stores will be spending more time on working to make the return process easier for their customers.
What this means for you: Make sure that you have an efficient way of handling customer returns. Including a return shipping label in your shipments is one quick way to do it. Updating or investing in new shipping solutions that include reverse shipping logistics is your best bet though.