As sophistication, integration and innovation continue their steady march of progress, the realm of eCommerce is continuously evolving. 2015 will likely see a number of major upheavals as well as the seeds of change from yesteryear finally take hold on the eCommerce landscape. In anticipation of these changes, here are some of the trends that are predicted to define 2015’s eCommerce market:
Location Becomes Irrelevant
The internet has helped many brands become multinational powerhouses since the late ’90s, but the latest developments see globalized brand positioning becoming the new norm. Worldwide eCommerce B2C sales continue to grow at a rate of around 20% per year, accounting for 1.5 trillion total USD spent in 2014 alone. By 2016, worldwide eCommerce spending is predicted to top $2 trillion.
For evidence of the global foothold most brands are taking, look no further than crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Before the products even complete their manufacturing or, in some cases, design phase, they have been pre-purchased by thousands of backers around the planet.
Other brands demonstrate their global reach by establishing convenient distribution centers located closer to in-demand customer markets. Amazon recently announced that they will be pre-stocking items in warehouses all across the world that certain customers and markets are predicted to buy in the coming months. When a customer purchases a product Amazon happened to stock in advance, it can ship and arrive in next to no time whatsoever.
Peak Buying Days Are Getting More Hectic
While many brick-and-mortar retailers are trying to eat into competitors’ market share by announcing pre-Black Friday sales earlier and earlier, eCommerce brands are enjoying swelling “event” days without going through such efforts. Cyber Monday sales in the U.S. skyrocketed up 29 percent from 2013 to 2014, reaching an estimated $2.3 billion total.
If you think that is a staggering number, consider that China’s big sales day on November 11 made Cyber Monday sales look like chump change. Within two hours, Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba pulled in $2 billion and allegedly made $9 billion by the time the day was over.
Customers Have More Demands and Are More Important to Satisfy Than Ever
Unlike physical retail, eCommerce sales platforms offer consumers nearly infinite choices with no hesitation to speak of when switching from company to company while browsing. Competition for eCommerce customer dollars has gotten incredibly fierce as a result.
On top of that fact, social media, user reviews and online commenting empowers these same customers to be more vocal than ever before. Leads are generated by brand advocacy alone, but an entire brand’s reputation can be squandered with a bit of highly visible negative feedback. An extreme example would be one couple posting an image of a mysterious charge on their hotel lobby bar bill that now has major press outlets accusing the prestigious Ritz-Carlton chain of economic racism.
To prevent this sort of blowout and to reap the benefits of positive customer evangelism, brands are bending over backwards to meet and exceed customer demands. Aspects like free shipping and price matching that were once considered luxuries before are now givens in customer minds. Other services like no-fee return shipping and loyalty discounts are being added to the table to keep consumers pleased.
These expectations are not all bad, though. Aspects like in-store pickup are now succeeding thanks to a wider buyer base and more familiarity with eCommerce advantages. Same-day delivery and in-store pickup are becoming increasingly viable options for a customer base that wants more immediacy and instant fulfillment as a part of their shopping experience.
Brands that want to keep up with these trends can help revolutionize their eCommerce platform with mobile, software and third party solutions that let them agilely respond to ever-changing market demands. Visit our web page to learn more about how we can help you find strategies to succeed.