It’s that time of the year when we take a look at what to expect over the next twelve months in ecommerce. We had a look around the web for trends that are forecast for 2015 and distilled them down into 5 areas that experts agree will be the major ecommerce trends for 2015:
No surprise here as mobile devices continue to grow in importance within the customer purchase path. Both mobile traffic and share of transactions are increasing as consumers switch to bigger smartphones and retailers improve the user experience on smaller screens. The majority of opinion leans toward the decreasing importance of apps as mobile and responsive sites improve to bridge the gap between web and native UX. Against the grain, e-business consultant Dan Barker sees an app resurgence in 2015 especially for retailers that are looking to leverage the power of content. Either way, retailers must ensure that their mobile experience is exceptional if they want to delight their customers and facilitate the shopping journey.
There is strong consensus that multichannel retailers in 2015 will continue to strive towards merging channels to improve the shopping experience for their customers. Customers expect to be able to engage with retailers on various channels and switch between channels during the purchase path.
Paul Skeldon of Internet Retailing identifies this as probably the key trend for 2015 as “there is a desperate need to incorporate mobile, the web and stores into making shopping a much better and more flexible experience.” This really is the Holy Grail of multichannel retailing and requires unified view of both inventory and the customer to enable the customer to effectively engage with the retailer on any channel of their choosing.
Most expect cross-border commerce to increase as it becomes easier for retailers to sell to foreign customers. Factors that are facilitating this push include the increase in availability of third party fulfilment services (such as Shipwire and Borderfree in addition to Fulfilment By Amazon) as well as the relaxing of international trade laws to encourage cross-border trade (for example see here).
This is obviously a double-edged sword for retailers. On one hand, it means that it is much easier to increase your customer base by serving more markets. On the other, it makes it easier for foreign competitors to take a slice out of your domestic market share. The result is increased competition everywhere and pressure on retailers to either differentiate or reduce prices to compete more effectively. This could in turn lead to consolidation in the industry as those that are able to leverage scale are able to reduce costs and squeeze out smaller competitors.
Certainly not a new theme, personalization retains its importance for 2015 as retailers attempt to capitalize on collected data to make the shopping experience more relevant to individual customers. Retailers will improve the way they use the data they collect so they can target smaller and smaller segments to make their offers increasingly relevant and drive conversions and sales.
Consumers expectations are getting higher and higher when it comes to delivery. Big players like Amazon have set the bar and now customers are expecting free and fast delivery whenever they shop online. This trend is set to continue in 2015 as ecommerce retailers attempt to meet the expectations of their customers and logistics companies invest in technology to improve delivery times and reduce costs..