Top eCommerce trends of 2017

Global online purchasing power continues to expand each year, and it is estimated to reach 8.8% of all retail spending in 2017. It’s no wonder eCommerce businesses are beginning to boom. As online shopping slowly becomes the preferred method of buying products, eCommerce owners have to keep up with the new trends on the market.

While the number of customers grows rapidly, the current shifts towards improved user experience and simplified management for the retailers. Here are the top eCommerce trends to pursue in 2017.  

eCommerce trends: AI Algorithms for Personalization

In the last few years, retailers have experienced the benefit of the amount of data available to successfully target the customers. Targeting as we know it today begun in the early 2000s with companies who took advantage of browsing pattern gathered from the users to offer more personalized ads.

Tracking visitor’s behavior starts with a tiny text file otherwise known as a cookie, which is inserted within the user’s browser when he visits a certain website. Cookies track the activity on the site and collects data like viewed or purchased items, time spent on the page, and search history.

The eCommerce owners use that data to offer the products corresponding to the consumer’s searches. Consequently, the problem with traditional targeting is that a user might be seeing the same ads that were there a week ago, or the ads might display the product he already bought.

Despite the bulk of data retailers have and collect daily, the identification needs to be more precise and smart. That’s when the artificial intelligence or AI algorithms step in. They have the power to thoroughly analyze the piles of information and give more accurate inquiry about user’s browsing behavior, thus providing a solid ground for better personalization features.

Online store owners could greatly benefit from AI algorithms and should consider turning to this trend if they want an improved user examination.

Nevertheless, the study’s accuracy is greatly affected by the quantity of the data analyzed. Therefore, small eCommerce owners could face quite a challenge since they do not have big amounts of information about their users.  

eCommerce trends: The Use of Programmatic Advertising

The way retargeting worked in the past was to display advertisements when the user was scrolling through other websites after he or she had first seen your site.

The new method, called programmatic advertising takes profound datasets before establishing what kind of audience it works with and what kind of ad should be given to the targeted audience. In layman’s terms, it is essentially inviting the intended audience to see the right ad at the right moment, and in the end, the retailers only pay for the highly effective ads.

However, the intended audience doesn’t necessarily mean people that have visited your online shop. The programmatic advertising calculated the parameters by which the ads are later placed even though the users might not have seen your website yet. Programmatic advertising can make buying, placement and ads’ improvement simpler and faster while controlling the overall efficiency.

eCommerce trends: Social Selling on the Rise

Social media has tremendously influenced the eCommerce businesses in terms of visibility. Online stores that market themselves on social media have 32% more sales than stores that don’t maintain an online presence.

ECommece retailers have recognized the potential of social media to engage primarily younger generations. The chart below shows which social networks are the most popular among teen and young adult population in the U.S., according to Mary Meeker’s survey.

eCommerce trends social media

Not only did they succeed in attracting younger generations via social media, but eCommerce owners wanted to merge their online stores with social media platforms as well. The idea quickly came to realization and eCommerce platforms started incorporating online stores with websites like Facebook.

Social selling is a trend that isn’t likely to go away. It is boosting online retailer’s visibility because every customer can share the product via giveaways and leave reviews on your Facebook store. The reviews serve as an opportunity for new customers to visit your eCommerce and eventually buy something from you.

eCommerce trends: Mobile Shopping Becomes the Norm

Another big trend that has been steadily growing for the past couple of years is the use of mobile devices to shop online. It is estimated that 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase through their device in the past six months. Mobile shopping is at its peak during the holidays and if your eCommerce isn’t mobile-friendly at those times, you’re certainly missing out.

The chart below shows the most common starting point for mobile research according to a study conducted by Google in 2013.

We can see that the majority of mobile users begins their search for products on search engines. That means your primary goal should be investing in optimizing your website in order to rank higher on search engines.

Except optimizing your website, you should convert your online store to a more mobile-friendly version by rebuilding your website. This means the design of the website should fit nicely to multiple devices so that user experience on the go is the same as using a desktop computer.

Another way to elevate the mobile purchasing process is to redirect the users to a subdomain. A website within that subdomain is a perfect fix when you cannot create the all mobile devices responsive site. The subdomain is easy to recognize by lowercase letter “m” before the website’s url. Its primary intention is not creating an entirely new website, but a structure that gets changed instantly when you alter the main website.

The reason behind increasing numbers of mobile shoppers is a broad use of mobile devices. People don’t leave the house without their gadgets, and now is the best time to start thinking about mobile marketing and mobile-optimized eCommerce sites.

eCommerce trends: The Death of the Wallet

In 2016, MasterCard introduced „selfie pay“, an option that confirms a customer’s identity by scanning the user’s face. Selfie pay is now used to verify an online transaction, but it looks like a first bigger step to cashless purchases.

Meanwhile, the standard online payment methods among others include Stripe, WePay, and PayPal as main online payment processors. They operate on three main principles:

  • The one-time customer-to-vendor principle – this direct option requires credit card information from the buyer for the purchase which the vendor authorizes via the customer’s bank
  • The recurring customer-to-vendor principle – the payment with this option is made by automatic credit card charge or through a direct debit from a checking account
  • The automatic bank-to-vendor principle – this principle works through online bill pay which is offered to a customer so that he can authorize the bank to transfer the payment

Online payment processors make it easy and convenient for the users to safely buy products online. We may still need credit cards to get on with the purchase, but it is most likely that even credit cards will become a thing of the past. That’s why eCommerce owners should optimize the electronic payment process and keep up with the trends in the online transaction domain.

eCommerce trends: Better Shipping Options

The last eCommerce trend that started to evolve recently is better shipping options for the purchased items. Not long ago, shipping was an aspect of online store businesses that wasn’t given much attention to. In 2013, a number of delivery services started offering the option of same-day delivery and things started changing.

With the exception of quick delivery, customers want convenience in terms of returns. According to comScore, 68% of customers want a simplified return process.

Larger eCommerce companies even experimented with drone deliveries, and Amazon considered enlisting random people to pick up and drop off packages. As weird as it sounds, it may be a normal practice in the future.

Although shipping services and shipping possibilities vary from country to country, it is wise to stay informed about the new options out there. If you don’t, it’s inevitable that you will fall behind the ever-strong online shop competition.

Ted Bauer