If the world of eCommerce in 2017 progresses as quickly as 2016 we could be living in quite a different world by the time we sing Auld Lang Syne again. The space is flooded with new technology while the millennial customer’s disposable income increases. It’s actually incredibly exciting, while being a little bit scary at the same time. The world as we know it is disappearing, and in its place we’re seeing a blend of George Orwell’s 1984 with Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror replacing it.
I believe some technologies that just peeked their nose over the parapet will make a great leap into the world of eCommerce this year. Who will triumph, which one will become commonplace, and what may be laid to waste as we dismiss it as a passing phase, let’s find out.
Google Assistant and the Rise of the Synths – Everyone Wants Their Own PA
Google Assistant should be big news this year and not just for Google and it’s users (that’s all of us). The need to have questions answered and delivered through various technologies should highlight what the 2017 really want. We all want our own virtual PA and the more personalised it is the better. Siri started the trend, but Google assistant will make it stay, and it won’t be too long before we see the Google Assistant take the shape of a synth from the popular TV show Humans.
How can you tap into the popularity of Google Assistant in 2017? Make sure your website answers questions and understand the value of providing information.
Same Day delivery and One Click Ordering – They Want it Now
Despite the costs involved, bigger eCommerce stores were willing to offer same day delivery as a service in 2016. We soon became used to Sunday deliveries through Amazon prime and others, while many independent couriers found there were huge profits to be made, B2B, by offering extended hours. In London, I expect same day delivery to become commonplace in 2017, this may also extend to other major cities in the UK too.
I’m not entirely convinced it’ll be profitable enough to work rurally, but then I’ve been surprised in the past and I may eat my words by the end of the year. However it progresses, eCommerce owners must continue to improve and speed up their delivery offers in order to compete with any competition.
Multichannel Retailing and the Internet of Things – They Want it Every Single Way They Can
Multichannel retailing used to refer to offline advertising, the mobile phone and the PC. Not anymore. To embrace multichannel retailing and to profit from it, eCommerce owners must embrace all of the technologies it involves. This includes those emerging that are set to make quite a splash in 2017, such as virtual reality.
I believe 2017 will see virtual reality become mainstream. I think by the end of the year, customers will use virtual reality for shopping. No longer will it be good enough to browse through items on a single flat screen, shoppers will want the full immersive 360 experience as if they were shopping in store, from their armchairs.
Smart TVs and Buy It Now Buttons – They Want it On Their TV
Smart TVs are now commonplace and are, in my opinion, missing a big opportunity for sales. We can now download any film instantly, we can binge watch series, but still we have to sit through ads. The method of showing an ad, and expecting the customer to remember later is out-dated. Of course, there’s still a place for TV advertising, but there’s also a space for a Buy it now button on the TV remote.
This may seem intrusive but I believe this should be available. As a serial shopper myself, I know I would give into temptation. For the millennial, who doesn’t want to click twice, if they can get away with clicking once, this would be a feature they’d embrace wholeheartedly. It would remove the need for picking up their phone and searching. I do think we’ll start to see this introduced by the end of 2017, or at least mobile phones more integrated to the TV so it’s just a single click. You heard that one here first.
Contactless and Wallet-less Payments – They Want It Without Effort
Easier ways to buy will make up a lot of 2017 from Apple Pay to wallet-less payments. Retailers will rush to provide quicker ways to pay, as the speedier the payment can be made, the less chance there is for basket abandonment.
Recommendations and Browsing Opportunities -They Want You to Think for Them
With the rise of technology making shopping easier, it’s even more important that you ensure your customer rarely has to think for their selves. Amazon’s recommended lists are popular for a reason, as people love suggestions, it’s akin to browsing in a bricks and mortar store. eCommerce leaders will continue to realise the importance of thinking for the consumer, providing gift guides, recommended lists, suggestions and more, creating incredible opportunities for up-selling and cross selling as a result.
Google assistant will grow, and consumers will expect eCommerce sites to answer any or all of their questions, making information even more important than ever before.
Organic SEO and Google Algorithms – Content will Still be King
Content will still play a huge part in accruing customers and retaining them but it’s set to change for 2017. This shift has been gradual but I believe that 2017 will show great leaps in this arena, and those that keep up to date with the trends will win. It all boils down to the millennial again. The millennials are leaving college, they’re getting jobs and they’re earning good disposable incomes and they know what they want. They want to be engaged and entertained, and so all content should be explored from the written word to video to virtual reality and more.
Whatever happens in 2017 one thing is for sure, it’s set to be yet another record breaking year for eCommerce. It can be daunting for the smaller business to keep up with these trends, but as long as the owner understands the importance of delivering what the customer wants, with speed, it shouldn’t be a huge problem!
2016 may have been a horrendous year for celebrities but it was a defining year for eCommerce. A lot of trends materialised while predictions from as far back as 2012 came true.
2016 set the pace for the development of ecommerce and the speed was at breakneck level throughout. It seemed that only the best could keep up, while others jumped on the bandwagon, frantically trying to secure a place in the race for the best eCommerce store.
I look back on the predictions and trends of 2016 in eCommerce, and in my next article I’ll share some of my own predictions for 2017.
We’ve known, for half a decade, about the importance of multichannel retailing. As consumers we love to combine our personal and professional lives and this extends to shopping. It was clear that those stores who offered multichannel options in 2016 were the ones to enjoy big profits. This is because we love to start our shopping with the mail, we then continue on to mobile, before completing the transaction on a PC at work. We now want to shop at any time, anywhere, and only multichannel retailing can feed this hunger.
Intelligent Delivery Options
Amazon are always the one to look to, the benchmark to aim for, the leader to follow and 2016 was no different. Many tried to emulate the Prime Membership, with grocery stores offering a one off fee for all deliveries. Delivery spots opened up and lockers became popular, while the same day delivery service entered the arena and claimed its spot as the must have feature for any discerning eCommerce owner.
It became clear that consumers would pay if it meant they could receive their item quicker, while show-rooming put many bricks and mortar stores out of business as shoppers would browse while ordering items using Amazon prime, leaving the store empty handed.
Another sneaky but genius tool for making a profit also derived from Amazon. It became clear that Amazon prices fluctuate depending on the trend and demand. Many eCommerce stores found, through PPC and AdWords, that this real time marketing and pricing strategy had a great impact on sales
The millennial customer was on the minds of every business owner in 2016 as these babies became adults and more importantly, paying customers. The millennials are those born into a world where the internet already existed. They don’t understand the world without eCommerce and so their demands are much higher.
To appeal to the millennial market an eCommerce store must be faster, stronger, hipper and cooler than the rest. Did you manage it? With the millennials came introductions to new technologies that will form a huge part of 2017 such as Beacon Technology.
Beacons made it impossible for any shopper to avoid special offers, whether walking around Weybridge, with the likes of BrandStreet or shopping in Covent Garden. Push notifications paled in significance compared to the sophisticated, almost personal nature of beacon notifications, and beacon stickers made it easy for retailers to showcase products in real time.
Find out more about iBeacons on this video…
The Internet of Things
The internet of things (IoT) became a “thing” in 2016. For years, people like me have been waiting with bated breath for this to kick off and become the norm. In 2016 this happened. We expected our TVs to stream live movies, we even expected our kettles to boil with the help of an APP, and some of us even expected the kettle at our grans to tell us when she’d woken up. Of course, there’s much more to explore and much more room for growth in the world of The Internet of Things, and I, for one, am excited about what the future brings.
The cloud, like the universe, is a never ending space that can seemingly handle almost anything. The cloud made much more possible for ecommerce owners in 2016, from the accounts to order tracking, to gathering data and reselling. B2C eCommerce obviously grew significantly in 2016 but B2B saw unprecedented growth with the cloud facilitating most.
Other introductions included the Google Assistant and Virtual Reality, see how I think these will shape eCommerce in 2017 below: