By 2022 studies suggest more than 10 percent of U.S. retail sales will be through digital commerce channels. Changes in the way consumers interact with their favorite brands, shifts in consumer preferences, access to mobile commerce channels, arrival of new distribution patterns and emerging retail business models are some of the factors that have transformed the current e-commerce landscape. Online retailers should pay attention to these three consumer shopping trends so that they can re-align their sales and marketing strategies to attain profitability.
Forget the photos of your products and detailed descriptions and specifications on your product page. Today, the average consumer is looking for detailed images and two to three product videos prior to making a purchase decision. Since consumers cannot physically handle your product while shopping online, your product page should include key information, high-resolution photographs taken from crucial angles, and intuitive videos that explain the “what, why, where, when and how” of your product. This kind of holistic “digital packaging” strengthens your brand by making it more recognizable.
In the space of online consumables, price alone is not the key driver of sales. Consumers make more nuanced purchase decisions based on their unique requirements. This forces digital retailers to provide a wide range of choice and information that support consumers in decision-making. For example, answering consumer questions on the product page, providing brand comparisons, highlighting best sellers or buyer preferences, and seasonal promotions can attract more consumers.
Online retail marketing is not just about using digital channels to advertise your product. It is also about how effectively you can persuade consumers to buy your product. Research by McKinsey & Company shows an average consumer values peer recommendations ten times more than endorsements made by salespeople. Posting genuine user reviews and ratings on social networks or invites from peers to follow your e-commerce platform has a strong influence on buying decisions.
Personalized marketing is powered by sophisticated algorithms and predictive models that analyze user behavior, transaction data and digital-media trends. Consumers’ appeal on personalized offering is acknowledged by brands like Netflix who say that 75 percent of what users watch on its streaming services are based on recommendations powered by such algorithms. Consumer feedback on products also gives the brand an opportunity to leverage the suggestions for updating their product page content.
More than half of the U.S. population shops through their smartphones or tablets. Online fashion retailers like Gilt acknowledges that mobile accounts for about 50 percent of their daily traffic and more than 30 percent of their total sales. Mobile technologies influence every touch point of a consumer’s shopping journey – including personalized offerings, geo-targeting to check delivery options and price variations, seller comparisons, simplified online checkout options, payment capabilities, and other convenient shopping experiences including easy returns and refunds. Instead of waiting behind in long lines, mobile brings shopping quite literally into the consumer’s hands.
E-commerce brands should optimize their mobile screens/ apps for making their product instantly identifiable, give concise and legible product descriptions, and improve the overall visual appeal of the mobile screens. Google reports that even if the purchase does not happen on mobile, 76 percent of people who perform a local search on their smartphone happen to visit in-store within 24 hours, and 28 percent of them end up purchasing the item they looked for. Online shopping companies should provide a fast, frictionless mobile experience to influence a shopper’s purchase decision.
While shopping online, consumers mainly look for these things:
Constantly refining and advancing your e-commerce strategy by analyzing these aspects will help position your brand for enduring success, both today and tomorrow.
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