Latest E-commerce Trends Shaping Up
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Latest E-commerce Trends Shaping Up

By Advait Kulkarni, IT Director, Cetera Financial Group

Advait Kulkarni, IT Director, Cetera Financial Group

E-commerce these days has exploded many times, hitting new milestones and achieving numbers never seen. In the year 2014, sales hit a high of $1.3 trillion reaching almost $2 trillion by the end of 2016.

By 2020, it is estimated that the value of e-commerce sales will have topped $4 Trillion. This article discusses some of the top trends in e-commerce sales that has had far reaching consequences in the way enterprises design a strategy, develop software and execute a plan that gives seamless experience to the end users while keeping them in line with latest trends.

Multi-Device Shopping: Given that sixty-six percent of all time spent on ecommerce sites is done across mobile devices, companies are aligning their web design aligned with the mobile first strategy. eRetailers will need to ensure that the site is accessible from devices of different form factors like phones, tablets and laptops having different resolutions. 61 percent of customers leave a site if it isn’t mobile-friendly, it is hardly a surprise that responsive web design is becoming a key component of any web site’s strategy.

Material Design – This vibrant and content focused pattern has been gaining popularity since late 2014 and continues to be used extensively in modern e-commerce site. It is the unified and playful experience provided by Material design which makes it extremely attractive. Even for development shops, this frameworks allows for rapid and consistent baseline that can be utilized for almost a “game” kind of experience.

“By 2020, it is estimated that the value of e-commerce sales will have topped $4 Trillion”

Custom Product demonstrations/Real time customization – Providing interactive product demonstrations is a very compelling way to showcase your product offering and how they work. Lot of companies would like to give a real time experience of building models and clothings so that it is customized to the need of the customer.

Hidden Menus – With the advent of bold modern designs, the concept of menus has been replaced with large images and alternative mechanisms to toggle between choices. Even the hamburger menu in the corner is being replaced by innovative ways of allowing users to choose between different modes and choices.

Multi-channel marketing – Using a combination of e-commerce indirect and direct communication channels like websites, direct mail, email, mobile apps and social media campaigns, companies are maximizing their investment in digital assets and also investing in a variety of digital asset management products. As the pace of this marketing mechanism picks up, there will surely an uptrend in the usage of these asset management products.

Location Targeting – Given that there is an innate integration of a GPS device pinpointing the location of a customer, it is natural for companies to start focusing on location centric targeting through relevant advertisement. Using Beacons and accurate location sensors coupled with preferences and profile specifics of the individuals, it is even more possible to pinpoint the kind of discounts and promotions that could be transmitted to the individual to encourage buying specific merchandise.

Social Media Advertising – Social Media advertisements have come a long way in being used as an effective advertising mechanism. Taking the example of Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads which automatically promote relevant products from your entire catalog with unique creative, showcasing one or more products, across any device, users can be literally reminded about the quality and uniqueness of the product that they just viewed minutes back thereby refreshing their memory and giving a good visibility for the product.

Marketing Automation – As the email campaigns to promote different products become more and more annoying, technology has found ways to classify the mails as junk or “clutter”. Marketing automation helps in a way that makes the emails a lot more relevant, attractive and possibly worthwhile to the email receiver to spend some time understanding the material.

Rich Media – Audio, Video Product – As the competition for attracting more and more eyeballs intensifies, companies are trying to find every possible way to get more “stickiness” to their e-commerce channel. One very practical way to do this is by using rich media generously. A recent survey has indicated that more than 90 percent of the buyers have revealed that a video explaining the features can play a much better role for them to make a buying decision. Use of bold colors, pleasing to the eyes can surely help e-commerce retailers generate more interest for their customers.

Data Aggregators – As the concept of “Data as a service” intensifies, using variety of data in real time and aggregating it to give a contextual and specific experience continues to help customers make their decisions easy. In this information age, where data is on the fingertips of most millennials, nothing can be more irritating for the customer than to see outdated or wrong information just because aggregation and data cleansing has not been done correctly. This reflects very poorly on the quality of the product and directly influences the product buying decision process.

Artificial intelligence in E-commerce – The three areas that artificial intelligence is playing a big role in e-commerce is advanced search, Personalization and Predictive analysis. Given the behavior of the buyer, most AI algorithms can foretell the taste of the individual and suggest specific products based on context when the user is trying to search. Given that the inventory of most retailers is considerable, it surely helps to zero in the customer to the required merchandise quicker. From a personalization standpoint, using the preferences that the user has mentioned in his profile as well as any traits that the algorithm can gather from his publicly available social or professional datapoints, companies will need to create a virtual profile of the customer and help in suggesting options accordingly. Finally, predictive analysis helps enterprises predict future purchasing patterns or possible interest points for the customer so that recommendations can be made accordingly. Used effectively by Amazon initially, this has now become a standard process

Emergence of Payment Wearables– With the emergence of mobile wallets, rings and small wearables capable of making digital payments, there has been a new trends of companies using Tap and Go kind of techniques for payments in the e-commerce arena. There is a huge market for this and it will continue to expand in the coming years.

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