There is no doubt that Ecommerce has been on a global rising trajectory, reflected not only in the volume of purchases made online, but also in the expansion of types of goods and services that are being purchased online. In Canada alone, it is predicted that by 2019, ecommerce revenues will reach $39 billion. In this growing marketplace, it is important for companies to stay ahead of consumer trends in order to capitalize on this growth. Some of the most important consumer trends to follow are of course related to how customers shop, what they buy online, and how they respond to various marketing strategies. Here is our list of the top 5 ecommerce consumer trends to follow.
Think of your site speed as the first form of communication you have with your visitors. Before your site even loads, your visitors are beginning to assess whether or not they wish to continue with the experience. Numerous studies have proven that site speed is a contributing factor to abandoned carts and page exits, and that every single second of wait time accounts for a significant drop in customer satisfaction levels and conversion rates. So, no matter how beautiful your online store may be, it is the speed of your site which may determine whether customers stick around long enough to see it.
Design & Usability
It is been said time and time again, visitors seek a frictionless experience when shopping online. A beautifully designed website that has high usability provides visitors with a rewarding and positive experience that not only keeps them on your site, but invites them back again. The usability of a site, including an intuitive navigation system, clear calls-to-action, articulate value propositions, and an easy to complete check-out, helps to make the user experience seamless, and this in turns has a direct and meaningful impact on conversion.
One thing is clear when studying ecommerce customer data - free shipping remains by and large the most powerful marketing tool an online store can offer it’s visitors to entice purchase. Free shipping incentivizes the visitor to conversion, and for many shoppers paying for shipping has become a total deal-breaker when shopping online. AcomScore study on this topic cited that 34% of people polled would not purchase online without free shipping, and 39% of people polled actively seek out free shipping deals when deciding on online purchases. This trend may be troubling to retailers as free shipping can eat into their bottom line, however it is possible to offer this promotion in a way which benefits not only the consumer, but the online retailer as well. Whenpolled, ecommerce shoppers have said they are willing to add items to their cart in order to qualify for free shipping minimum spending thresholds, and are willing to extend delivery dates to qualify for free shipping. Companies can therefore position free shipping both as tool used to optimize online sales, and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.
Building and maintaining good relationships with ecommerce customers is key to transforming visitors into loyal promoters of your brand. In order to excel at customer service, consumers expect online companies to offer more than the standard experience in customer service. Ecommerce customers want to receive personalized assistance from real people when seeking customer service; they want clear customer help platforms and easy to search FAQ sections that contain a comprehensive list of Qs & As; they want tutorials & video tutorials to assist them with installation & the use of their online purchases. But more than anything, online shoppers want easy to use, and complimentary, return policies. Offering a return policy that is buyer-friendly provides visitors with the confidence needed to convert browsing into sales.
In an age where the average person reaches for their smartphone 150-200 times daily and the majority of newsletter emails are opened on a mobile device, it is no surprise that more people are using their smartphones and tablets to shop online. Interestingly however, is while mobile sessions account for the majority of visits to ecommerce sites, desktop browsers continue to dominate as the main locations where conversion occurs. In other words, people use mobile devices for browsing, and desktop for buying. To counteract this trend, ecommerce companies can implement strong mobile-first strategies to create a more seamless path to purchase for customers. The implementation of mobile assistants such as auto-completion of shopper’s account information, auto-completion of saved credit card information, and other tools such like mobile wallets, are all strategies to reinvigorate mobile engagement.