In an ideal world, customers would come to your ecommerce site, search for what they need, complete the checkout form quickly and easily and write rave reviews to say how excellent their customer experience was. In reality, shoppers make mistakes, get frustrated in the checkout and abandon the process.
According to Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 67.91% - a worrying statistic for ecommerce companies. Recent research from Invesp also stated that 12% of carts are abandoned due to the amount of information buyers need to enter. However, these issues can be remedied with the implementation of address validation, a solution that is often overlooked by ecommerce companies.
To combat this issue, many companies have invested in address validation tools - however not all tools are created equally, and most companies use a simple postcode lookup which still requires a large amount of typing on the customer’s part. Even worse, some companies don’t provide pre validation, meaning that customers are expected to complete form fields manually and for address data to be checked after the customer has completed. In an age where customers expect the checkout journey to be completed as speedily as possible, the prospect of filling out seemingly endless form fields is not relished by shoppers and drives many customers away.
At PCA Predict, we offer an effective solution to this dilemma that is quick and simple. Our smart address validation service allows the customer to search for their address, typing the first few letters of their street name, town or postcode. Our intelligent technology then accurately auto-completes the entire address verifying against official postal sources. Taking out potential extra steps (such as fixing address errors), and reducing the amount of typing required has a noticeable impact on the conversion rate through the checkout. In fact, some of our customers have even increased conversions by up to 40% after implementing our address validation tool.
Not only this, but PCA Predict’s address validation is also quick and easy to integrate, and you could be up and running in minutes.
Try our demo for free and see the benefits of user experience and deliveries for yourself.
In this interview, Robin von Hein from the Simplesurance Group explains how the digital change paved their way to success and how e-commerce companies and their customers can benefit from insurances made easier. Also, in the run up to his talk at the E-commerce Berlin Expo on 2nd February 2017, this interview will definitely inspire you to simplify things for your customers too. And perhaps, to insure your pet with just a few clicks.
Paulina, E-commerce Berlin: Simplesurance develops and distributes innovative cross-selling software solutions that have revolutionized the insurance and the e-commerce industry. How did you come up with the idea for this business?
Robin von Hein, the CEO and Founder of Simplesurance-group: I worked in the traditional insurance industry for almost 10 years and experienced how the insurance market was standing still for a long time, not transforming, not using the possibilities provided by digitalization, like other industries. Receiving insurance coverage always meant combing through lots of fine print, a lot of bureaucracy and it was always considered a highly complex product. The gap between traditional insurance and the new digital environment grew further apart. When I traveled in South Africa, I saw how easy it was to get a risk life insurance for a bus ride via SMS, because traffic there is considered more dangerous than any other form of crime. I was instantly fascinated by the beauty and simplicity of closing a contract as fast as by sending a short message. It was there, when the idea for simplesurance was planted. I realized that the insurance market should use the potential offered by technology. I wanted to make insurance for everyday objects just as easy as any digital offer. I saw the most potential in the gap between e-commerce and the insurance industry, especially since cross-selling of two different types of products has been best practice in offline retail stores for many years. Many stationary stores already offered insurance and warranty extensions with their products, but the market looked empty in online retail. I envisioned a company that mediates between traditional insurances and online stores, enabling customers to insure any type of product at the digital point of sale with just one additional click.
You have your own nine retail portals that offer consumers the possibility to directly insure purchased products – this done completely paperless and with only a few clicks. How did you notice that people need such solutions?
Along with the digital change, customer’s behavior has been changing. Nowadays, people are media-oriented, they don’t want to comb through a lot of fine print. The mobile phone has become the new anchor for acquiring new customers, because the mobile phone is omnipresent in people’s lives. It is used for communication, orientation, guidance, entertainment and shopping. Why should the insurance continue to be complex and complicated? Our platform as well as our cross-selling solution that can be easily implemented via software-plugins in various common shop-systems and allow customers to purchase an insurance via just one click.
Do you plan to extend the scope of insurances offered in the future?
Yes, we are constantly driven by our ambition to provide our customers and partners with the best service and products, so we are constantly working on new products. We offer insurances for mobile electronic devices, stationary electronic devices, tools, musical instruments, pets, car legal insurance, tyres, bikes and furniture. In 2016 we started offering stroller insurances and travel insurances as well. We continuously do research to establish new market entry strategies and to develop new products. We’re planning to release a cyber insurance for different types of online activities. More information will follow soon. We’re also currently working on extending our business model.
From the point of view of your customers, what are the biggest advantages of using your portals?
The three main advantages of using our portals are: simplicity, automatization and service. We enable our customers to receive insurance coverage for one product in particular and set them free from insuring more than necessary, while reassuring the best service and insuring a broad variety of damages, such as water damage, breakage and fire damages. This makes it possible for us to offer insurances at a rather low price. The household insurance for instance protects the household, but doesn’t protect self-imposed damages and different types of theft that occur outside of a locked place. By using our portals, our clients can insure any product they want, from smartphones and other mobile devices to bikes, furniture and electric household devices. It only takes one click to insure these products, by simply entering an email-address and the serial number of the product that has to be insured. Customers, who purchase a new product, e.g. a smartphone at one of our partner’s shop just need to make one additional click in the checkout box to add the product insurance, while all information required are automatically taken from the purchase details. For customers, the one-click-solution creates several benefits: the insurance isn’t automatically extended, the process is automatized and mostly anonymous. In case of a damage claim, we handle the process fully automated. Thus we offer an enjoyable and simple customer journey in which customers can report claims to us 24/7 online and have to provide only little data. The claim management is regulated fully automatized as well: after filling in the claim form, our algorithm-based system can handle claims at scale and speed.
And from the point of view of e-commerce, how can e-commerce companies benefit from partnering with simplesurance?
We have more than 1.700 partnerships with e-commerce-companies. The number speaks for itself and shows, that we are the most important provider of cross-selling solutions at the interface of online retail and insurance. Our innovative software enables online retailers with a new way to extend the level of service they supply to customers, as well as increase their profit margins by offering product insurances and extended warranties on their products. Customers have a one-click-experience by adding the product insurance to their shopping basket and have increased protection for their purchased goods. By this means, the shops become more attractive to the customers as they offer additional service and makes the respective shop stand out from competitors. Most importantly, the integration is also simple for the e-commerce. We offer two solutions, one via Plugin which takes two hours to integrate. We also offer a full integration via API, which takes a little more effort but is just as easy to integrate as the Plugin. All interactions can be customized and constantly improved via A/B-testing, by adjusting the design, user experience or prices, to guarantee a high conversion rate.
Based on your expertise, what is the hardest part of connecting the world of insurances with the world of e-commerce?
Insurance has always been seen as a very complex product. However, offline retailers have been selling insurances and warranty extensions for a long time. For us, the first challenge was the implementation of our technology into the e-shop as well as the optimization of the conversion rate. Therefore, we constantly conduct A/B-tests by testing different parameters, such as the user experience, design, price options and different products.
Was Simplesurance so innovative that it did not have any direct competition at that time? Or if you had competitors, what helped you outscore them?
We were the first movers on the market with our cross-selling software solution. It took us two years to perfect it and we are continuously optimizing our software and the conversion rates for the e-commerce.
On February 2, 2017, you will give a talk at the E-commerce Berlin Expo, which is the biggest event of this type in Berlin. What will you focus on in your presentation? Can you reveal some details?
I’m very excited to speak at the E-Commerce Berlin Expo! I’m going to show how e-commerce companies can profit from a cross-selling software solution and show how many awesome and easy ways there are to use cross-selling software plugins in the e-commerce systems. However, I don’t want to spoil the ending.
“There is a significant chunk of revenue tucked away in that long tail that is always at risk of being overlooked. Your C-Items may not be top sellers, but it doesn't mean that no one wants them… They just need to find the right audience!”, says Fernando Angulo, the Head of International Partnerships at SEMrush. In this interview before his SEO-oriented talk at the E-commerce Berlin Expo, you will learn more about his expert background and his insights on the most frequent SEO mistakes of Ecommerce websites.
Paulina, E-commerce Berlin: You have more than 5 years of professional experience in online marketing. In your eyes, how has online marketing changed over time?
Fernando Angulo, Head of International Partnerships, SEMrush: Marketing has not changed conceptually in the last 5 years, ten or thirty years. Absolutely. We can talk about the evolution of how we consume products and services, and how it has evolved with the society itself and the advancement of technologies. Marketing is strictly a living discipline that is much more technical than many "sell" it.
Looking at the developments in online marketing, what do you perceive as a must-do to succeed in running a business online in 2017? Are there any areas that we simply must not overlook?
For all types of business, there are 5 areas that I'd suggest to improve constantly:
You have lived and worked in Argentina, Chile, Spain and Russia. If you were to compare the state of online marketing in these countries, what differences would you list?
Interestingly, there are many similarities. The main differences are, of course, the language and the Internet speed. In the Spanish-speaking world, digital marketing moves in Google in an absolute majority. In Russia, where I have lived for the last 15 years, the presence of Google is significant, but has not yet displaced the regional giant Yandex.
What has working in such an international environment taught you?
I take the experience of working in a multinational leader among its sector, with a great team of professionals who have really helped me grow professionally with their knowledge, experience and advice. And what I really think has gratified me the most, has been knowing the value of proactivity and what it can bring in a working environment.
Since 2013 you work as the Head of international Partnerships at SEMrush Inc., a powerful and versatile competitive intelligence suite for online marketing, from SEO and PPC to social media and video advertising research. What does your job actually entail?
Yes. In a very few words, we have a business based on the analysis of data. We are providers of data. So if you are a marketer you can deeply analyze any online marketing channel directly from our platform. I'm right now developing and organizing our partnerships with Opinion Leaders from different niches related to Online Marketing.
SEMrush has made its way from a small startup to a big international company. It started out in 2008 – and now has offices in 4 countries and employs more than 350 employees. What made it possible for the company to grow so rapidly?
A lot has happened in the recent years. How did we achieve what we have now? On the one hand, our answer will sound simple — we were doing a job we loved and we listened to our users. Our users keep giving us tons of great ideas and we generate a lot of them too. By the way, only during 2016 we launched 100 new more features in our platform and we are already developing more for 2017. Saying that, I think we are doing a pretty good job here.
On 2nd February 2017 you will appear on the stage of the E-commerce Berlin Expo with a talk titled ”Strategies to improve your SEO and get even more conversions for your Ecommerce”. Why the choice of this specific topic for this event?
For me it was very clear from the beginning, since I heard about the E-commerce Berlin Expo and the type of audience we will have there. I knew that I have to talk about my specialty. I knew that my experience in the Ecommerce organic growth using SEO techniques was the right choice and I have a lot of data and case studies to show.
In this talk you will focus specifically on long tail keywords and their potential for Ecommerce. Why is long tail a better way to connect with customers?
There is a significant chunk of revenue tucked away in that long tail that is always at risk of being overlooked. Your C-Items may not be top sellers, but it doesn't mean that no one wants them… They just need to find the right audience! And once that audience finds you, you’re going to realize that they’ll buy your C-Items, and conveniently pick up B-Items and A-Items from you along the way (especially if they’re complementary) to take advantage of combined shipping.
While A-Items may be fast moving, these encounter plenty of competition from other retailers. After all, if a certain product is really popular with consumers, many retailers will jump at the opportunity to boost their sales by selling similar products. Moreover, if you’re selling the same or similar popular products like your competitors, there’s a high chance customers will flock to either big brands or the seller who sells it the cheapest… and the latter means really thin margins where you generate little to no profit (let alone covering your carrying costs).
SEO is fundamental to ecommerce. From your perspective, what are the most frequent sins and mistakes that ecommerce companies (especially SMBs) make with their SEO?
My top 3 sins working with different Ecommerce businesses belong to these categories:
1. Poor navigation and indexability of an Ecommerce website.
These are the pillars to determine the behavior of a user and their possible transformation into a final client. In addition to facilitate indexing to search engine spiders, our SEO Long Tail improves, something fundamental in any online store with an average quantity of products.
Segmenting tree categories and subcategories correctly improve the route that the user must take from any page of the online store to the desired product. Ideally, in this the user has to make no more than three clicks, although in stores of a large size in terms of quantity of products it is difficult to achieve it through category navigation, so remember to also integrate an internal search engine that works correctly. It is essential.
Another good tip is to integrate product-related links in each product tab always at the end, so if the product itself is not of interest to the user, they will help make the user stay on the website and jump to another related product that may be of interest. This way we improve the conversion and improve the Long Tail SEO through a good strategy of internal links.
For indexability, nothing is better than a segmented, clean, XML sitemap linked in our Google Webmaster Tools account.
2. Duplicity of content on Ecommerce sites. The most typical SEO error.
If you use the description that the manufacturer gives for each product as standard in our online store, we will automatically have a serious problem of duplicate content for all products of your store.
3. No integration of Microdata.
Very few Ecommerce websites currently integrate the microdata correctly. We have a range of formats to integrate that to improve the visibility of our products in the SERPs, hence as we have said, the CTR improves from the valuation that will appear on the search pages by means of stars (ranking), to the opinions of the product, or the prices. Showing these features directly on the search page when a user is looking for our product decants towards us the choice.
This year again, E-commerce Berlin Expo is promising to be one of the best industry gatherings in Europe. What do you personally expect from the 2017 edition?
One of the first things I look for is to learn more from professionals in the sector, and to be able to give more of myself in the things that I have learnt over time. I am very anxious to see new faces and engage in long and productive talks.
Jack Ma, the founder of the Alibaba group, once said “in other countries, ecommerce is a way of shopping. In China, it’s a way of life”. In this interview Nenad Cetkovic, the Chief Operating Officer at Lengow, shares his expert insights on the changes in ecommerce technologies and tools, and tips on how European businesses should approach the Chinese market to seize its incredible potential.
Paulina, E-commerce Berlin: Lengow is a SaaS solution for managing and optimising the profitability of ecommerce sites. You help brands and distributors improve their performance, automate their business processes, and grow internationally. What are the roots of Lengow’s success and international growth?
Nenad Cetkovic, Lengow: In 2009, there were only a few tools for online retailers looking to distribute their products on various different channels. So, our CEO Mickael Froger founded Lengow, a solution to optimise the visibility and profitability of ecommerce sites. We are entering an era of coherence and centralisation: there are many tools and services that retailers use on a daily basis, but to simplify their work and to boost their productivity, they need a solution that gathers all their services together in one place, to get the best of each one in a single solution. From there, it was only natural to expand internationally, so that retailers from all over the globe could benefit from our multichannel platform.
Today we are taking the solution to the next level. With revamped and more intuitive features and an interface that’s easier to use, the platform provides a new level of automation capability for online retailers. It reduces the bulk of time-consuming product data management and automates processes, analytics, and campaigns. In the new, updated ecommerce automation platform, Lengow have also added an app store that integrates major ecommerce tools, allowing customers to centrally manage and automate all ecommerce processes within a single platform. The Lengow platform integrates tools, services, and partners, including product listing translation, delivery and/or payment management interface, and analytics services within a few clicks. All in all, Lengow is a true all-in-one platform for online retailers.
As the Chief Operating Officer at Lengow, you are in charge of developing Lengow's presence and client portfolio in more than 40 countries in Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
How large is your team? How do you and your team work to support clients from so many countries – and so diverse regions of the world?
Our team is made up of 120 people of 20 different nationalities, so having native speakers is a definite bonus. We’re able to offer clients assistance in their native language, and we can adapt and optimise product catalogues to the different requirements and regulations of channels in different countries. The whole idea behind the Lengow product is adaptation – it’s what we do best!
You are also a Strategic Advisor and Board Member for startups in ecommerce businesses. Based on these experiences, how would you describe the contemporary startup scene? What is most striking for you about startups in ecommerce nowadays?
One of the most prominent trends is the very fast division of the market. Nowadays, there seems to be more and more SaaS software solutions emerging every day to address the needs of online retailers. There are no more “generalist” approach startups. Everybody’s focusing on a very specific issue to solve. This, at the same time, creates another issue for retailers: how do I handle, manage and/or organise all the applications that I need to use to have a state-of-the-art organisation? And at the same time, it’s beginning to be more and more complex for a decision-maker in the ecommerce industry to stay updated and aware about all technologies that can boost their business and its sales. And as these technologies are everywhere, the issue is spreading far and wide both in online and offline commerce.
Every year, new ecommerce startups and companies appear. “Success stories” are easy to spot, but it is hard to find the negative examples. Based on your observations, what are the biggest sins – and most frequent mistakes – made by startups? What is it that kills new companies in ecommerce?
As mentioned in my previous answer, the main mistake made by startups is forgetting to actually listen to the clients. You may have a perfect technology which may address lots of clients’ needs, but you mustn’t forget the world doesn’t revolve around your business. Your client and your product will need to work together to fit in with and respect the client's business model, based on their needs and those of third party apps. Irrespective of how efficient it may be, your solution will never be set as a standard if it’s not open enough. If your prospective clients need to change all their habits or behaviours to embrace your solution, then you’re facing a potentially fatal sales problem.
On 2nd February 2017 you will appear at the E-commerce Berlin Expo with a talk titled “Cross Border Ecommerce: Making the Most of China’s Potential”. This event is one of the biggest gatherings of ecommerce professionals from different countries and companies of different size – both big international players and SMBs. What have been your motivations behind the choice of this specific topic for this specific event?
I think China is becoming an increasingly popular topic in the European ecommerce, especially with events like Single’s Day that continually achieve such incredible results. This year, Single’s Day revenue reached over $14 billion, in just one day. European retailers are starting to see how lucrative the Chinese market is, so now we just need to focus on how to break the borders, and start selling in China, as it’s very different to selling in Europe or Latin America. Hopefully, my presentation will give European businesses an insight into the market, and help companies looking to expand there to take the first steps on this adventure!
It’s estimated that, by 2018, the Chinese ecommerce market will be worth 871 billion Euros, representing 40% of the global ecommerce market. By 2020, the Chinese e-commerce market is expected to be larger than ecommerce markets in the USA, Japan, Germany, Britain and France combined. What makes this development so fast?
Aside from the fact that China has such a huge population, with approximately 1,382,323,332 people, China has always been a fast-developing market. The fact is, people simply love to shop online in China. Jack Ma, the founder of the Alibaba group, once said “in other countries, ecommerce is a way of shopping. In China, it’s a way of life”. China has always been one step ahead in technological developments, and with a boom in m-commerce, online shopping is just getting easier and easier to do. 69% of Chinese consumers have purchased a product or service through their smartphone, and this is only set to increase as technology develops to make online shopping faster and easier.
How can European retailers appeal to the Chinese customers?
The best way for European retailers to appeal to Chinese shoppers would be to sell products that are authentically European. For example, German retailers would do well to sell products that are authentically German - the phrase ‘Made in Germany’ is associated with efficiency, creativity, and order by Chinese consumers, and it gives the impression of high quality products from the core of Western Europe. In general, European retailers would also do well to offer discounts on their products, no matter how small. A lot of Chinese consumers love to feel as if they are getting a bargain, especially amongst older generations.
As an expert in cross border ecommerce, what would you recommend to any retailer planning to sell to China? What steps should be taken as first?
The first step to selling in China would be to establish a relationship with a local partner. For example, selling on a Chinese marketplace is the ideal way to enter the market with minimal risks, as your products will be shown on sites with a pre-established audience. Other things to do first would be to make sure you have a native speaker to translate your product catalogue, and work out your delivery and logistics, as Chinese consumers are used to fast delivery, with some marketplaces offering same day delivery in some of the larger Chinese cities.
What type of products or services from Europe are most likely to succeed on the Chinese market?
Luxury goods are one of the most popular foreign imports in China as a lot of consumers like to show off their wealth by buying foreign brands. Certain designers such as Dior and Mulberry have picked up on this, launching campaigns on the no.1 social media platform in China, WeChat. There are a lot of counterfeit products in China, and as such, 61% of Chinese consumers are willing to pay more for designer goods that are imported from their origin country. A lot of pregnant women in China also like to buy milk powder and vitamins online, so ecommerce sites in the pharmaceutical industry would also do well to distribute their products in China.
And finally, new year means new challenges – and new opportunities. In your opinion, what will 2017 mean for ecommerce?
2017 will continue to see a lot of trends we already saw rising in the last quarter of 2016. First of all, emerging marketplaces are a strong trend. Many are emerging from France as a lot of worldwide leaders in these technologies are French, but more and more international companies have told us during clients meetings that they’re looking to go more in that direction: their objective is to better monetise their audience. This rise will also mean more cross-border ecommerce opportunities making it easier and easier for retailers to sell internationally.
At the same time, we’ll also see a lot of technological moves in the GAFA band, where companies like Facebook and Google are really hunting after Amazon trying to catch up with them to become THE shopping destination. New features, like marketplace features, buy buttons, and more and more advertising formats means there are a lot of new things to come. We also shouldn’t forget companies like AOL and Microsoft with Bing Shopping, who may present us with some great opportunities in 2017 to increase sales. Last but not least – looking a little further ahead – innovations like chatbots and VR are something retailers should actively follow, as these technologies are being developed even further, with major advancement in AI and its features.
We have had a great and exciting year in 2016, full of tech news which influenced the whole e-commerce world. In this article we recap some of the more important and influential innovations that were predicted for last year and are further shaping the future and evolution of e-commerce.
We take a look at six of the hottest trends that go hand with one another. Given that the total value of retail ecommerce sales worldwide is projected to reach 2,48 trillion USD in 2018, the question you need to be asking is: what share is your business going to be?
If you understand the upcoming development of e-commerce you’ll understand where and how to improve and upgrade all spheres of your business - sales, delivery, payment, marketing, and data analytics. But don’t worry, there are plenty of guides on how to succeed in this exciting industry.
Check following trends and get ready for your big success!
1. Mobile Commerce
The word ‘mobile’ comes up again and again, and for good reason. Indeed, the M-Commerce trend has been on a non-stop rise since 2014 and shows no signs of slowing. The dominant growth in European online sales has been the source of significant sales via mobiles (+88%) compared to laptops (+6%). Much of this has to do with Google’s development of a new indexing algorithm for mobile searches which was launched November last year. Given these facts it only emphasizes the need for e-commerce companies to focus on achieving a high ranking for their store on devices and search engines tailored toward mobile use.
It’s no longer about responsivity and optimization, but a shift toward mobile friendly apps and service is an absolute must, especially for up and coming businesses. To highlight its importance, marketers even have their own term for it: mobile engagement strategy. It’s about making mobile customer experiences as positive as possible, and as we enter into 2017 this point will become even more relevant as a decrease in desktop activity accompanies an increase in the usage of mobile devices.
To make things easier, try incorporating these 5 tips on how to improve customer mobile experience.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Chat bots & Personal Assistants
As the American tech giants opened up the use of their APIs to developers in 2015, so too was 2016 historically marked as the year chatbots came onto the scene. Founded on basic principles of artificial intelligence, chatbots were launched to help customers shop, provide help, and to engage them with a brand. It’s interactive messaging takes place via social media such Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Google Allo, all with the purpose of putting a customer at ease by making them feel as if they’re talking with a real person. The more customers interact with the bots, the smarter they become, enhancing their ability to provide useful services - most bot programs incorporate an extraordinarily steep learning curve, letting them learn and adapt to human users quickly and efficiently. And, in an otherwise cold and impersonal world of computerized commerce, they also provide an element of humanness.
In an era when people are using messenger apps more than social networks, chatbots are great business opportunity for the upcoming year! If you don’t yet have one, there are already a number of platforms that allow you to create your own chatbot.
Something you can expect to hear a lot in 2017 is: “websites are replaced by apps, and apps are replaced by bots.” This, naturally, has led to the production and design of personal assistants - and you’ve probably had exposure to some of these yourself.
The first thing that might come to mind is Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, or the movie Her. I think the last one is the best representation of what the near future holds in store, and by association, the future of e-commerce. Additionally, mobile personal assistants have also spawned the phenomenon of talk-to-machines which can interact with users, and will be a huge trend in 2017.
But how can you actually apply this technology to your business? Personal assistants can recognize speech and act as browsers, just to start. As a result, search optimization is often the first and easiest factor to take into consideration - specifically, optimization of your product attributes so that the PA can easily find the product the consumer is looking for.
3. Mobile Ordering & Payments
What’s more valuable than convenience? In a word, time. Especially for busy people who live fast and work hard, finding extra minutes in the day that they can spend on recreation or fun has become a huge issue in the dog-eat-dog world of e-commerce. Does that sound like you or your customers? These days time management is drilled into us - we just want to grab a cup of coffee on our way to work and not have to waste any extra time waiting in a queue. The third trend in our list offers a solution to this problem - order-and-pay apps.
The first one to use this system was Starbucks and it has sky-rocketed in popularity. The next biggest follower of this trend is McDonalds which plans to launch their long-awaited order-and-pay app in 2017.
“Every month of Q2, Starbucks has processed 8 million Mobile Order and Pay transactions, up from 6 million a month the previous quarter” - Adam Brotman, Starbucks’ chief digital officer.
Implementing these kinds of tools into your business model doesn’t come cheap, and involves professional development, but being a “first-mover” definitely pays off in the long run.
4. Loyalty Programs and Personalization
2016 taught us how important personalization is. Consumers are overwhelmed by all the content around them, so they become rather selective and discriminating in their tastes. Only those products or companies who can make an impression and stay in the customer's mind will able to flourish. And that’s a challenge for 2017. One of the keys to success is personalization and if the customer feels that he or she is valued it will be harder for them to leave you.
According to DMNews, “53 % of consumers feel that it’s important for retailers to recognize them as the same person across all channels, and 78% are willing to allow retailers to use information from their in-store purchases to provide a more personalized experience.”
The issue is, how can you manage a personal approach towards hundreds of customers at once? Your data analytics can go a long way towards catering to individual tastes and experiences, but depending on the size and complexity of your company it can be difficult to get a comprehensive picture about your customers. Luckily, a number of technologies are slated for 2017 which will offer comprehensive solutions across a number of useful tools and services. The goal of e-commerce companies then is to find the best apps for analytics, customer behaviour tracking, and loyalty programs, and to set a proper marketing strategy. The sooner you start, the more successful you’ll be.
Customers want to be engaged with the brands they love so as long as the benefits flow both ways. This is where your marketing department comes into play significantly. Next to email and social media marketing, search marketing and ad display marketing will be indispensable in 2017. Read some advice how to split your marketing budget in 2017.
5. Social selling
As many people are familiar with social networks, they consider it a browser, a place where they can check products and brands. The goal for any entrepreneur then is straightforward: once a potential customer visits your page, make it impossible for them to not want to buy your product. Another hint for optimizing your Facebook product page and upgrading product attributes on other social sites you use is to implement buyable buttons.
While social selling in 2016 was provided in a way that was inherently intuitive, projections for 2017 indicate that a more strategically oriented approach will prove more effective in the future. Social selling aims to translate into real sales and marketing channels by putting an emphasis on KPIs such as leads generated and revenue.
Additionally, social selling is tightly connected to messenger bots, as mentioned above. Being available 24/7 to address customer concerns or questions is a must, especially if you want to sell your products globally, and the use of automated apps and software makes this a reality.
6. Same-Day Delivery
The technology of shipping and payment has also experienced expansive growth. As a rule, in a world that is so interconnected in real-time delivery speed has becomes the key factor in whether or not customers choose to buy your products. Delivery automation is a significant trend in this area. What do we mean by this?
Delivering products to the customers costs money, both when dealing with carriers and when international clients or customers are involved. Dealing with the “human factor” and face-to-face transactions, however, always presents some issues such as traffic jams, damaged products, time lost while drivers need to rest, limited amount of vans or vehicles, etc. Of course, many carrier services adhere to a high degree of quality and punctuality, but using them generates costs that you have to count into your product price. Offering free shipping is something taken for granted these days by customers, which may be another factor in determining whether or not you become their “one and only choice”.
Looking ahead, an automation of delivery is your best choice, sooner or later. The pioneer of this idea was none other than Google Express, followed soon after by Amazon Prime Air. With drone usage comes legislation issues, however, as it’s not legal to fly a drone without a special permission from the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S., and other countries have their own legalities as well.
At first glance, it may seem like something out of science fiction to have mid-sized businesses providing delivery via drones. And yet, over the time, it will only become more affordable for carriers to replace trucks with drones or for companies to purchase their own drones as the technology improves and becomes more accessible. For all you tech lovers, 2017 will be a year of unmitigated progress. Be sure to keep your eye on this trend!
Thank you for reading this article to the end - I know it’s rather extensive but hopefully it’s given you an informative and exciting glance at what’s to come. Being successful in e-commerce isn’t easy but it’s applications are numerous. Now that you know some of the more interesting trends for 2017 and some tips on how to follow them, be sure to keep learning, start trying new things, and don’t forget to look back on your data to evaluate your progress. Good luck and have fun!