As e-Commerce is making its grip tighter on the conventional commerce, it is also evolving into much complex and proficient way to serve the sellers and buyers.
Every after a while, there comes some big trend in the market which takes the process to a whole new level. It makes it comprehensive, yet much more effective than before.
Basing on the past up-downs and current technological waves, here are the top 8 trends which are most likely to become mainstream in eCommerce in 2014.
M-commerce or mobile commerce is going to be the next big thing in the eCommerce market. Companies will take mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops) as their main focus to sell their services and to gain the advantage of the technology which rests in their prospective customer’s pockets.
Here is an report by comScore about how the mobile users will take over the desktop users in near future:
Thus, mobile will be the most vital marketing strategy for companies and very convenient for customers. Some even calls mobile devices as small retail shops in customer’s pockets. Targeting mobile devices to pursue visitors to become customers could be the most effective and streamlined marketing strategy. Even the PC-based eCommerce couldn’t be as much tailor-made for each customer as m-commerce could be.
According to reports, around 29% of mobile users have already made at least one purchase on their mobile devices. That means, people love to buy online and loves it more when they are doing it on their mobile devices. The freedom they get on mobile devices maybe indirectly encourages them to buy more. Also, the big retailers and eCommerce websites are getting more and more visitors from mobile. Such, reports and statistics are the clear indicators of people’s affection and love towards mobile-devices.
On this basis, companies and retailers are obviously going to focus on mobile games and applications, mobile websites and such mobile-centric strategies. Mobile will drive the eCommerce in future.
2. Responsive Design and Mobile Applications/Games
As mentioned above, people are using more and more mobile devices. If the mobile visitors are growing up, then companies will change their marketing strategies to mobile devices or at least, would consider them more importantly than ever.
For mobile users, companies have two ways:
1. Responsive Designs
2. Mobile Applications/Games.
Right now, there are more than 230 different unique screen-sizes being used in the market compared to 2010’s 92. Also, 28% people are habituated to use mobile devices more than the desktop. This increase of numbers created a problem of uncomfortable or distorted outlay of websites on the unsupported devices or devices with smaller screen sizes. This distortion and inconsistency just irritates mobile-users.
There comes the responsive designs.
Developers came up with their own solution of responsive design. A single design which would adjust the content and templates according to the screen size. You don’t need any special mobile website.
Another solution the developers brought was developing mobile apps. They are encouraged to make their company’s app in form of a client which stays in customer’s pocket 24 x 7. After the application is installed, the direct availability of company’s services and information makes it more likely for the customer to return and purchase from it.
There is a possibility of customers to forget about revisiting the same website, but the unique icon flashing on their mobile-screens would constantly remind them about the company. It is the most personalized and effective marketing right now.
3. Offline Marketing
Companies are preferring online marketing more than the conventional offline marketing for its advantages like convenience and easy-operation.
But, offline marketing hasn’t died either. It has just saw evolution and upgradation in modern times and has made itself much more effective.
Offline marketing includes sponsorship, flyers, hoardings, commercials, special gatherings, contests and many more ways. Even the unique business cards are considered as the way of effective offline marketing for the great first impression.
4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is an online marketing strategy. In it any form of content marketing, SEO, Pay per Click (PPC) or Email marketing, it is operated according to the success those ways bring in. Thus, affiliate marketing is more of a performance based marketing strategy.
At the beginning of the e-commerce, there was a method called CPT (Cost Per Thousand) in which per thousand views the website owner would get payment from the advertiser. After that came CPC (Cost Per Click), which meant the payment would be green lit according to the numbers of clicks on the banner. Even that strategy turned out not to be the most proficient one and marketers came up with the latest strategy of CPA (Cost Per Action), in which the payment would happen only when the customer takes some desirable actionthrough the advertising. It could be buying a product or service or clicking on an advertisement.
It is similar in E-mail marketing, content marketing or search engine marketing.
Another way of Affiliate Marketing is using the online Affiliate Network such as CJ, Click2Sell or work directly with publishers using HasOffers affiliate tracking software.
5. Multichannel Marketing
Multichannel marketing, in simple terms, is approaching to the customers in more than one way. Depending on only one method to reach out to the customers will limit the number of potential customers or the types of customers. Instead, multichannel marketing enables you to have different ways to find out the prospective customers.
Types of multichannel marketing includes E-mails, Direct mails, mobile, websites, retail stores, etc. Such options gives the customer a freedom of choice.
Multichannel marketing uplifts the company’s general impression on customer’s mind positively about company’s reach and efforts in multiple facades of advertising. It also establishes the company’s brand image in their minds for future reference and creates trust which is the element every advertising effort in the world is aligned towards.
6. Personalization and Marketing Intelligence
Companies are operating their marketing strategies with more personalized experiences. According to the place, type of group or requirement, marketers change some elements of their strategies to appeal the audience in the best way.
It should be made for the target audience. A banner with china wall isn’t going to appeal African audience in the advertisement of local cultures. The same goes on to the individual level. Users from different locations are going to have different choices and habits and companies needs to find out those habits for the optimized services for targeted audience.
For instance, providing local languages in the mobile devices is a good way of personalization. Such personalization in advertisement could be much more appealing.
It doesn’t mean you can’t have a general marketing idea for all types of market or you are forced to create specialized marketing efforts for each region. But, if you consider that every region should be addressed in the language they understand, they you can’t be lazy doing it.
Such decisions of personalization are taken after the Marketing Intelligence is acquired. Marketing Intelligence is the information about the habits, choices, likes-dislikes and general disposition of people. It could be gathered from social websites, email accounts or through the direct research campaigns. Such marketing intelligence is useful to come up with the most streamlined and personal marketing approach.
7. Algorithmic Recommendations
Algorithmic recommendations are similar to gathering marketing intelligence. The way of collecting the information stays mostly online. The best example is Amazon.com.
The products Amazon.com recommends you are the algorithmic conclusions based on your history on the site. Things like past purchases, preferences, wish-lists and product reviews, everything is considered. Thus, it mostly works with statistical data using different correlations and set of rules to guess the best recommendation.
Such algorithmic recommendations are very much effective for the end user as he would get to surf through the products which relates to his necessities and will make the whole search, surf, decision and buy procedure faster for all.
8. Location based Services
Among mobile users, 1 out of 3 keeps the location tracking on for applications and services to improve. This way, companies like Microsoft, Google and Facebook are getting big amount of data of the location of the users and their daily habits.
Using the similar algorithms mentioned above on these data, companies can now offer better services according to the end-user’s location. Also, the advertisers would get a clearer idea of which part of an area is more active than the others or what their primary interests are. All of such correlated information becomes gold-mine for companies.
eCommerce websites could take advantages of location based services through personalized sales approach, real time customer communication through push messages sent on the mobile devices or increase the customer flow at the brick-and-mortar stores.
These 8 trends are most likely to become mainstream in the years after 2014 until their better versions come out. Until then, you wouldn’t want to miss the significant benefits they could derive for you.