As the new year progresses, more reports are available about e-commerce activity and performance for 2016. These reports have identified some major e-commerce trends that developed last year, and it’s worth taking the time to review them and see how you can use the information you glean to improve your operations this year. Before you know it, the festive season will be here, so now is a good time to consider adapting to these trends while you’re not as busy as you will be later in the year.
Mobile online shopping continues to grow
The trend for consumers to use mobile devices continues to grow, and these figures from the US market are indicative of the trend worldwide. According to Business Insider, mobile devices accounted for holiday sales of $24 billion (£19.5 billion) during the last two months of 2016. Mobile devices accounted for 31% of all online sales in 2016, which is an increase from 25% in 2015 and 14% in 2014. The percentage is expected to grow again in 2017, so you cannot afford not to optimise your e-commerce site for shopping on mobile devices, otherwise you risk losing customers to your competitors that have mobile-friendly sites. Your customers now expect to have the same experience when shopping on mobile devices as they do on desktops.
Customers want fast website loading times
To provide the best user experience (UX), you need a website that loads quickly. You may have the most attractive website imaginable, but your potential customers will not stick around to experience it if your site does not load quickly. There are many studies available that show the link between fast loading time and increased sales, but a recent study conducted by UK retailer Trainline is instructive. The firm found they experienced a revenue increase of £8 million by reducing the page loading time by 0.3 seconds. Set quick performance standards for your website and consider using a website monitoring service to monitor page loading speed to promptly inform you if you experience any degradation in page loading time.
Customers expect quick delivery
These days, your customers expect fast delivery of their purchases, and five to seven days now seems a very long time to many of them. Of course, both the time and cost it takes to deliver a package depends on the distance it must travel, so consider using multiple warehouses for shipping, and locating those warehouses closer to your customers. This way, you can reduce the average distance a package needs to travel and reduce your shipping costs.
More customers are making purchasing decisions based on reviews
Online shoppers are relying more and more on customer reviews. They are more likely to make a purchase if they see that other customers like the product, so you should encourage your customers to post reviews of their purchases. After a customer makes a purchase, send a follow-up email asking for a review and if the product met their expectations.
Taking these factors into account will help make you more competitive.