The world of ecommerce is an exciting place to be in. It is seeing rapid growth with many shopaholics preferring to shop online over visiting a mall. The woes of traffic, challenges of parking and spending hours trying to find the perfect attire or accessories create a nightmarish scenario. Compare that to sitting comfortably in an air-conditioned environment, scanning thousands of options that can be bought with the click of a button. Then there is free home delivery, no-questions asked returns and exchanges. Stepping out to shop is so passé.
For businesses too, ecommerce is a great low-cost alternative to offer more variety to customers. They can also do away with expensive overheads and pass on the advantage to customers. Is it any surprise then that the ecommerce industry has been experiencing steady growth over the past few years?
Studies predict that global retail ecommerce revenue will amount to $4.88 trillion by 2021, with millennials making more than 50% of their purchases online.
This scenario, while exciting, does present a few challenges. Ecommerce businesses need a few tricks of the trade to keep up with this continuous growth and the competition that this brings to the marketplace.
Here are the top 5 emerging ecommerce trends that e-businesses can capitalise on.
Dropshipping or Drop Shipping is an ideal business model for those ecommerce businesses that are just starting off and don’t have much capital. It means acting as the middleman between the manufacturer or supplier of the goods and the customer.
The customer views the products on your portal, you process the purchase, but it gets shipped directly from the manufacturer without you even seeing the actual physical product.
Why is this getting so popular?
- You’re buy the product only after a customer places an order
- There is no inventory
- Your overhead costs drop drastically
Dropshipping is great for businesses that deal in bulky items that eat up warehouse space. Of course, there are also some challenges with dropshipping:
- You have no control over the shipping duration
- Unprofessional or unethical sellers could negatively affect the customer experience. It is important to whet your sellers, and establish shipping and service rules.
There are numerous avenues for your customer to make a purchase. While brick-and-mortar stores are still an alternative, even within the online channels there are options like Amazon, branded stores online, eBay, Facebook and even Instagram now.
As a merchant, you need to have a presence on multiple channels to cater to the needs of the omni-channel shopper. Besides your own website, create a strong ecommerce presence on social media sites as well as other online stores.
No one says it will be easy; you will need to set up a team to manage all these diverse channels. You can also use the services of ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce that help streamline online sales across multiple channels.
Smarter Payment Processing
Did you know that nearly 79% of customers abandon their online shopping cart at the payment gateway if the checkout process isn’t effortless and smooth? Even after researching and considering several products thoroughly, customers are willing to leave it all if the final step isn’t quick and easy.
To stay ahead, you need to relook your payment gateway this year. If your business is global do you offer a local payment option? Can you accept payments in other currencies? Or are you expecting international customers to click again for the ‘other country’ selection?
Look at ways to consolidate all your payment options in a single gateway. Yes, compliance might make it difficult to manage all currencies on one platform. This is where you can consider a third party service provider like Payoneer.
We bring up omni-channel selling again to highlight another important facet. It’s not enough to just be available on multiple channels; you need to also offer an inclusive brand experience by recognising the customer as the same person irrespective of which channel she is on. Else you might end up offering an irrelevant experience which can be quite irritating and intrusive.
A great personalised experience can make the difference between a one-time customer and a repeated shopper. Apply AI-driven targeting to identify customers and match the right experience across multiple channels.
Packaging still matters. Studies have shown that customers perceive packaging as part of the product, and 68% of the shoppers in the study believed that a brand becomes more upscale simply by its packaging. And the more unique the packaging, the greater the customer’s engagement with your product.
Take the time and effort to design customized packaging for your product. This should help set you apart in the marketplace and make your brand more recognisable.
The ecommerce industry is on a roll, growing, changing dynamically with each passing day. And the advent of AI is taking it to unheard of realms, creating new experiences for consumers. By combining omni-channel marketing and consolidating payment options, ecommerce businesses can manage operations more effectively.