E-commerce is constantly changing to keep up with the needs of today’s customer as brands fight to get noticed in a sea of choices. For your business to keep up and have a chance in the market, it’s important to stay on top of current trends and figure out how to connect with your consumer. Here are a few key current and emerging trends in the e-commerce industry that can improve your business and your customer’s interaction with you.
1. Make the Process Easier on Customers
Consumers want their shopping experience to be as quick and easy as possible. That’s usually why they’re shopping online in the first place. If you make the process easier on them, you will create a better connection with the customer, help them find what they’re looking for and encourage them to continue to shop with you. To achieve this, create ways for the customer to find their product and to order as quickly and easily as possible. Part of this can include having fewer products available to choose from and getting rid of unnecessary information or features on your site. In addition, make your site run smoothly without shutdowns so nothing impedes the consumer experience. Many companies are focusing on tactics to lower latency, such as putting more important information on flash storage and the rest on hard disks.
2. Focus on Mobile Shopping and Engagement
Mobile shopping from a smartphone is increasing in popularity with consumers, so your e-commerce company should focus on mobile to keep up. To be on top of this trend, create a site that people can easily maneuver on a device. You should focus on short blocks of text and a simple ordering process. You can also create apps for mobile devices that consumers can engage with to connect with your company and to order products. Apps are not always about ordering, but also about creating a connection and an experience. For example, James Gagliardi explains in a Wired article that a fitness equipment company can create health-tracking apps to go with their equipment.
3. Use Software for a Better Customer Experience
Consumers are looking for personalization and a positive shopping experience, and software can help you with that. Configurator software can help you create custom product designs and price quotes to generate sales and production outputs. You can integrate this software with other software that will help your business, including your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. CRM helps a company manage its customer service, marketing, sales and support to control its customer interactions, while ERP can help companies track and interpret marketing, sales, inventory and other data. Software can help you figure out the “big data” to understand customers and target your business to them.
4. Personalize Your Marketing and the Shopping Experience
Personalization is the way to go with e-commerce. Customers do not have much time to focus on shopping when they are bombarded with a lot of different companies and products. When you collect information on your customers through big data analytics, you can target your ads, emails and products to them. You can target based on gender, career, lifestyle and other factors. Also, if a customer bought one of your products before, you can personalize emails and ads based on their previous purchase. For example, you could suggest when it’s time to repurchase a food or beauty product. Or you could make suggestions to your customers on products they might like that are similar to their previous purchases. Sometimes, you can even customize the products themselves. Many other current e-commerce trends tie into this, creating ways to cater to customers and facilitating a personal interaction between them and your company. That’s what customers are looking for and that’s how your business will thrive in the current e-commerce climate.
Ron Mouw, VP of Business Development at Configure One, a leading provider of product configurator and CPQ (configure price quote) software for enterprises.