Ecommerce Trends Marketers Need To Understand In 2016
Seventy years ago, nobody would have thought of any other reliable way of buying products aside from traveling to the store to purchase them. Twenty years ago, not many people would have predicted that ecommerce would eventually rival brick-and-mortar stores in every way possible. Today, all of this has become a reality.
The rising popularity of ecommerce shopping has been well-documented for the past few years. It is no longer a matter of predicting whether it is going to stick around. The problem now is predicting trends and getting in front of them before it is too late. What ecommerce trends do marketers need to understand in 2016?
Selling Directly Through Social Media
While using social media to engage with customers is still a necessary tactic, social media is now changing to assume an even larger role in the ecommerce world. Certain social media sites are now allowing users to buy third-party products directly through their sites.
Twitter, for example, began test-running their Buy Now feature near the end of 2014. It had very limited functionality at the time and was only available to select merchants and users in certain areas.
Buy Now is now a fully functional feature available to everyone in the U.S. It is already making big waves in the ecommerce world by changing how customers find and purchase from companies. It works by integrating a ìbuy nowî button in Tweets. People can click the button and purchase a product found in a post without ever leaving Twitter.
Pinterest and Facebook have both been testing similar features. The features are still relatively new. Having your ecommerce site connected with the Buy Now feature on Twitter will take some direct communication with their staff. It is worth it if you can get your online store at the front of this new trend.
Contextual Shopping Develops
In the past, ecommerce was heavily focused on personalizing the shopping experience. This focus is now shifting toward the idea of contextual shopping. The idea behind contextual shopping is that ecommerce store owners can offer purchase opportunities to customers in a natural way at exactly the right time.
The normal process is that the shopper realizes they need something, they eventually head to the ecommerce store and then, they shop around and try to find the product they like. This creates a long gap between wanting a product and actually buying. Plenty of time for the customer to change their mind.
With contextual shopping, real-time data is used by the ecommerce site to determine when a customer needs a product. They then recommend the product to the customer who can complete the purchase with a click of a button. By predicting when a customer needs a product and then providing them with an instant purchase opportunity, they are cutting away time that the customer might use to change their mind.
Contextual shopping is becoming more relevant as more devices that share data are connected to the internet. This includes FitBits, smartphones, and smart watches. It is causing shopping to change from something that happens in a store or behind a computer to something that can happen anywhere at any time.
The difficult part is finding ways for the ecommerce sites to gather this information without becoming invasive. The buyer will need to opt-in to the program and must still have the final decision when it comes to purchases. Using exclusive promotions could encourage more buyers to opt-in to the program.
Two Trends You Should Not Ignore
Contextual commerce and buying through social media are two ecommerce trends that should not be ignored in 2016. Marketers should focus on understanding these trends as best as possible. Both of these techniques could be used together to create an extremely personalized shopping experience unlike any the internet has ever seen.