A lot has changed for Ecommerce in 2014, with 2015 trends looking to extend the shopping revolution even further.
So what exactly can we expect to see from the world of Ecommerce and online shopping in 2015?
Mobile and Responsive Web Design for Ecommerce
To begin with, we must tackle the rise in mobile adoption and online shopping. This has resulted in a growing amount of mobile ecommerce, or mcommerce, which consists of many more people shopping from the convenience of their phone or tablet device.
This rise in smaller touch-screen devices means that the fundamental logistics behind shopping online must be changed to facilitate a customer’s experience.
Many more businesses will invest in mobile web design, with the best option being a responsive web design, resulting in an increase of engagement and revenue from different sources.
Investing in a mobile web design also involves ensuring website speeds are fast, websites are user friendly and can be used via touch-screen interfaces, and that the mobile presentation of the website does not deter users.
For a more in-depth look at Responsive Web Design for Ecommerce, take a look at our blog here:
Streamlined checkouts and shipping costs
Always-online audiences are becoming more impatient; and rightfully so. Why should consumers put up with slow checkouts when fast checkouts are possible?
Customers are becoming more inclined to opt for websites with an easy and quick to navigate checkout.
Shipping is something that also concerns consumers, and so 2015 will see a rise in free, fast shipping. The popularity and growth of Amazon Prime demonstrates that consumers are expecting fast delivery more and more, and will allow Ecommerce businesses to compete with brick-and-mortar stores.
As far as speed is concerned, same day services will become more normal. Fast turnaround times on orders, with free standard deliveries, are sure to become a relatively common practice online in 2015.
The next trend to take a hold will be free return shipping, which will create more brand loyalty, and an incentive to shop online for those wary of the easiness of returning goods.
Combined with a mobile world and mobile web design, mobile payments will become more commonly found on Ecommerce sites.
Consumers are now used to shopping online, but speed is now the issue. Mobile payments means they can log into one account, whether it’s PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Wallet, and pay for whatever they want across the web. It’s easier, faster, and opens up your web to new users without them needing to enter in a long list of data time and time again.
This may also bleed into retail stores within Point of Sale (POS) terminals, allowing users to scan their mobile phone to pay for their goods. Mobile payments also adds another layer of security, and may build trust with consumers to spend online in places they wouldn’t normally.
To go along with the mobile approach, social media is also growing rapidly; with much of its use deriving from mobile devices.
To make the most of social commerce, businesses will make more use of social-specific discounts, special offers, and creating posts which highlight bestselling products and more.
Social media is a great way to encourage engagement, and capture the minds of your loyal customers wherever they may be. Social reviews and recommendations of your brand ensure high engagement, and that the word gets out about your business. And this is where having everything right with the rest of your Ecommerce business is essential; as you want what is said about your brand to be positive, to encourage more users to do business with you.
Alongside this engagement, paid social advertising is also going to come into its own throughout 2015. Twitter have introduced their new cards which allows you to purchase from the main feed, with other social platforms such as Tumblr also following suit. Facebook have introduced a number of new ways to encourage advertising via paid promotions rather than organic ones, which means that digital marketers may no longer have a choice in the near future.
Paid social advertising also means that you can promote content and products to select individuals with certain interests highlighted in their profile, which is invaluable information to have at your hands.
Social media also means you can promote timely deals. Target and Facebook have paved the way with a new project named “Cartwheel” which aims to give customers offers in different categories, which can then be scanned at Target in-store, and save customers money.
With this in mind, it means many marketing efforts and deals can be customised, providing specific service offerings to customers who require it.
Personalisation and customisation
Consumers are more accustomed to shopping online than ever, and therefore, are increasingly expecting websites to tailor to their needs. Why would they put up with a website which does not cater to their needs, when there are a range of websites out there who will?
This means that 2015 will see a rise in customisation and personalisation; whether it’s down to the marketing or the website itself. Whatever it is, the website or offers will be customised for the individual visitor. This also includes targeted digital marketing; whether through specific social media updates targeted towards certain customers, or content geared towards a certain type of customer.
Additionally, web design will become more customisable to allow a personalised presentation designed for each customer when they return. This gives them an incentive to sign up, log in, and return to your website. As consumers give away more of their personal data, it allows businesses to learn more about their users, and how they can cater for their needs. Give them what they want, in essence.
As far as Ecommerce website features go, inventory visibility is sure to become a major trend throughout 2015.
Showing potential customers how many items are in stock can encourage them to make a purchase, for fear of the item running out, and provide more information in general to ensure customers are not disappointed or deflated when an item runs out. If you saw there is only one desired item left in stock, wouldn’t you be more inclined to buy on a whim?
Inventory visibility means customers can manage their expectations, and it also adds valuable information to your website which will encourage return visits and purchases in the future.
Mobile Digital Marketing
The way in which we use our phones is also changing. Now everyone has a computer hiding in their pocket, people shop and research wherever they are; at home, on the bus, even in retail stores themselves. This means businesses need to ensure customers are comfortable shopping on their phone, and provide a top notch instant shopping experience.
With more mobile use, means more marketing will be dedicated to mobile. This may include using SMS coupons, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and many other platforms which could evolve and grow over the next year.
The power of high quality content has shown itself throughout 2014, so 2015 is a year where brands who doubted content marketing will simply have to jump on board.
Content marketing will see a rise in loyal customers to specific brands, and selfless businesses providing useful and inspiring content in order to gain new business.
The rise in targeted marketing and mobile marketing means that content will be created with a specific person or demographic in mind, and marketed as such. It also means that content will be consumed anywhere; whether it’s on-the-go via trains on the way to work, or whilst watching TV on the sofa in the evening.
For more on digital marketing in the future, read our blog here:
Omni-channel shopping – On and offline merging
With more time on mobile doesn’t mean that people have stopped using their computers or tablet devices. This means marketing and shopping needs to become omni-channel, to ensure you can gain the most business wherever a customer may be visiting your site.
It’s not outside the realms of possibility for someone to stumble across a product on their desktop PC at work, research more on their phone on the way home from work, to then purchase an item on their tablet once they get home. Similarly, there’s nothing to stop them purchasing at any one of these steps; but if one step looks odd or doesn’t work properly, it could ruin the entire process and result in a lost sale.
Nowadays we are online at all times. We are not simply online for an hour in the evening, or whilst at work. Our phones keep us connected at all times, with push notifications and alerts meaning that we are contactable for messages and updates whenever, wherever. Of course, ensuring people see these updates is another problem entirely, but the fact is that Ecommerce must adapt to this always-online nature in 2015.
Similarly, omni-channel shopping and marketing means connecting the online experience to the offline world. For retailers with a brick-and-mortar store, this involves free shipping to stores, or being able to see how many items are in stock nearby.
Other channels also include companion apps, which may provide a better experience for more specific uses.
iBeacons and Proximity Technology
iBeacons and proximity detection devices could also become much more common, and allow a form of marketing which merges the on and offline worlds.
For instance; say you’re walking by a restaurant, and a promotion comes up on your phone which highlights their new range of food. It could tempt you into their retail store. Or perhaps they will automatically push a coupon to use in-store, to encourage you to do business with them. No doubt this form of marketing will evolve in time, and could become something entirely different; but even in the most basic form it’s not hard to see the potential it has.
Read up on iBeacons and what they can achieve here:
2015 will also be the year where Wearable Technology blossoms. Sure, it exists in 2014, but adoption rates have been very slow. But 2015 looks set to change all that. Gartner have predicted the Wearable Technology market will be worth £3.2 billion by 2016; not a statistic to be sniffed at.
Remember the MP3 player, the netbook, and the tablet computer? The iPod, Macbook Air, and iPad all changed how these products are perceived. And so, the launch of the Apple Watch means Wearable tech placed on your wrist may see a surge in popularity. And guess what? People will want notifications on their wrist, and perhaps even viewing portions of the web there.
Similarly, headgear such as the Oculus Rift, now owned by Facebook, and Google Glass may become increasingly popular. Although some uses will be for gaming, browsing the web will still be a core part of these products; especially if Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has anything to say about it, surely keen to extend his reach in online advertising.
This also ties into the idea of an interactive shopping experience: what if you could browse the store virtually? Sure, this may not apply to everything. But imagine walking around the showroom looking for a new car, and then getting a virtual tour of the interior? Imagine being able to virtually attend industry events or promotions? You would be there in mind, if not in body.
Wearable technology also means users can use them in store; perhaps scanning a barcode with a headset-mounted camera, or receiving alerts through their smart-watch. It also means users can receive deals or offers based on their location more quickly and easily.
The increase in Wearable Tech will also mean a rise in “Passive Internet Access”; meaning we have more devices on us at all times that are connected. This means marketers and ecommerce companies will need to make the most of such opportunities. Already, Netflix have made the most of Android Wear, being able to use a watch to send friends social recommendations.
If Wearable Tech interests you, click below to find out more on how it could revolutionise the web and online shopping:
Recreating in-store experiences
Another way the web design and website experience will grow is replication of an in-store experience online. Many aspects of websites will become more interactive, and engage the consumer on a more regular basis.
How can you replicate an in-store experience on screen? Features such as online chats, allowing quick responses and discussions with staff, will mean that any consumer queries can be answered quickly before they leave the site.
Also, when it comes to products, online window shopping will be improved greatly. This includes interactive product pages, whereby you can view a product from multiple angles. Also, product comparisons and specifications will come in handy for customers looking to choose between a range of products.
In the same vein, we will also see more businesses creating unique content for their products, as from an SEO standpoint, avoiding duplicate content will mean products will be listed higher on Google, and gain more traffic to the page.
If you’re looking for a top Ecommerce Web Design, see our blog here for some ideas:
There we have it, a list of predictions and trends which are set to revolutionise the world of Ecommerce and shopping online.
Do you have any additional predictions for Ecommerce in 2015? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Twitter @XanthosDigital.