Friday 17 January, 2014
Things change fast in the world of ecommerce. It’s the beginning of a New Year, so out with the old and in with the new. Nobody can tell exactly what will happen, but I’ve scoured the web for some predictions that sound realistic for the year 2014.
It’s pretty obvious but needs to be stated here again – There will be more mobile shopping this year than there was last year. That’s been the trend for several years straight and it shows no sign of slowing down. This year, more companies will create mobile versions of their site and options for mobile shoppers. It will become even more of a standard necessity than it is right now. There will probably be more low-cost and no-cost options for small businesses to get started with mobile.
More Personalized Shopping
Another trend that’s sure to continue in the coming year is more personalization of the shopping experience. When shopping goes online, you lose the personal touch and people desperately want it back. This is even more important for those who, this year, will shop online for the first time. There will be an increase in loyalty programs, social engagement and responsive websites. I suspect that ecommerce sites will find more ways to use big data to enhance and personalize the user experience.
Many predict that more brands will sell on marketplaces, rather than exclusively through their own stores. This means a smaller cut for the ecommerce store, but it has other benefits. By selling through a marketplace, you have a chance to grow your customer base.
As more people shop online, there will be more payment options available, such as mobile wallets. Security concerns keep people from using credit cards online while there’s growing discontent with the big guys in online payment processing like PayPal. Mobile wallets, to take just one option, have really taken off in Asian countries and that’s likely to spread around the world. People will be not only shopping but also using online payment processors to buy offline goods as well.
Internet marketers and ecommerce stores need to expand into the global marketplace. You can’t just sell locally. The number of digital buyers in China, Russia, Brazil, India and the developing world is growing in leaps and bounds. We’ll need multilingual content, global payment options and 24/7 support for the many different time zones where we have customers.
Finally, there’s one more prediction that doesn’t relate to all ecommerce businesses but relates directly to most start-ups. Increasingly, small businesses will look for funding from alternative sources rather than traditional venture capital. The simple reason is that there are so many other options available in the form of new models such as business incubators.
How should you prepare for the New Year? That’s a tough question to answer, but it will help to be flexible. Things change fast and your business needs to be able to handle the changes and scale accordingly.