The New Year isn’t so new any more. But the further we get into 2014, the more innovations we’re seeing in the world of e-commerce. If you’ve got a Magento store – large or small – you’ll want to make sure you’re staying on the cusp of the newest tech curves and customer requirements. Online retail is an environment that evolves very quickly...so do your business and your customers a favor, and look ahead to see what’s around the corner.
Here are five key e-commerce trends you should watch out for – and take advantage of – this year.
Trend #1: The rise of mobile. Haven’t invested in mobile technology for your site yet? Haven’t switched to responsive design, so your site adapts to all types of devices? Now’s the time.
As more and more people move away from the desktop and choose to browse the web on their tablets and smartphones, online stores must establish a presence in the mobile market. You know how those people are browsing on the phone? Guess what – they’re shopping on the phone, too. Or they would be, if you gave them the opportunity.
And if you don’t offer them the mobile experience they’re looking for, they’ll go find other companies who will.
The switch to mobile isn’t really that scary. You’ll want to make sure you’ve installed responsive web design – an adaptive interface that allows customers to view your site on any screen – and convenient mobile payment options like Google Wallet and PayPal. A sales conversion tracking program will help you figure out what you’re doing right, and where you have opportunities to improve. The bottom line: If you haven’t gone mobile yet, you should.
Trend #2: Better communication platforms.
Expect a move towards integrated communication systems that include e-commerce, content management, and email marketing platforms – all tied up in a single package. Many times, e-retailers suffer from a disconnect between their storefront and their communications. Customers don’t get the information they need or want (or they get lots of information they don’t need or want.)
In 2014, you can expect to see increasingly integrated programs that observe individual viewing and purchasing trends, and tailor customers’ email communications to reflect those interests. That way, site visitors get targeted communications based on their own preferences – and they’re more likely to re-visit the site and buy more things in the future.
Trend #3: Multi-channel presence.
Your customers have short attention spans. And they’re getting shorter every year. Today’s Internet users never stay in one place for long – they hop from page to page, site to site, network to network. That means you have to follow them, go where they go, and be where they are. You need a true multi-channel presence: a consistent brand across all the networks where your customers spend time.
This year, you should figure out where your target audience likes to hang out – and then bring your message to them on those sites. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Google+...the list goes on. Tailor your content to each site and create an engaging message your customers will remember and take with them wherever they go.
Trend #4: Personalized experience.
The days of rote, boilerplate marketing emails are gone. (Sorry, guys.) Today’s customer expects communications that are directly tailored to their experience, and offer them valuable, personalized insight. The plus side is that these customers are also very vocal and active in engaging online with the brands that they love. So, you provide a personalized experience for them – they’ll provide personalized feedback for you. Deal?
Trend #5: Crowd funding.
Telling an engaging story, raising money online, and meeting funding goals with the help of individuals you’ve never met? That’s the premise for crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo....and boy, have they taken off. Expect to see more and more small online businesses getting a boost this way, as they craft exciting narratives, create buzz and get people invested in their project. What about your e-commerce store? Do you need capital? 2014 could be your year.
For more e-commerce tips, or to see our e-commerce article, click here.