Its time for e-commerce to grow up
Activist Consumers: the rise of ethical eCommerce. The End of Free Returns? Social Media Gets Transactional. The Amazon-ification of Major Retailers. Product Content Syndication. The app is dead — long live the app! Sales Tax OR : Shopping online no longer provides deals. The QR code is back. Bigger, Wider, Deeper selection — retailers are becoming marketplaces. People Shopping in Their Car.
Retailers will hire their first AI employee. From sustainability to excessive packaging, consumers are rewarding merchants who resonate with their value system.
Your Value Proposition
Societal and environmental impact is exerting an increasing influence on consumer choice, and digitally-savvy brands are leveraging eCommerce to create the visibility and the transparency customers are seeking. Word of mouth, site and social fuel their growth. They disclose their environmental footprint in terms of water, carbon dioxide, and waste, covering everything from growing the raw materials, dyeing, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and even garment care.
Return rates from eCommerce sales are 2 to 4 times greater than in brick-and-mortar retail, and customer expectations of generous return policies is bringing retailers to an expensive tipping point. Generous return policies have long been used to increase conversions by reducing consumer uncertainty. But eCommerce growth, free shipping and free returns have created a dangerous side-effect: the cost of managing returns.
In fact, December 26th is the biggest day for returns. UPS estimated it would be handling 1 million returns a day in January In the U. Shopify acquired Return Magic in order to develop a native capacity to manage and optimize returns. Return Magic also enables Shopify merchants to use the data from returns to create a better shopping experience … and reduce return rates. The tax-free party is over for both merchants and consumers, who will have to deal with regional sales taxes in , no matter where the merchant has a physical presence.
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Merchants and solution providers will be fast-forwarding discussions and initiatives around eCommerce taxation and reporting. Tax rates will vary across the different states and jurisdictions, with variable eligibility and applicability criteria. Tax rates will depend on what is being sold products AND services and possibly the jurisdiction where consumers reside.
Avalara is an eCommerce tax management solution that automates sales tax application at checkout, as well as preparation, reporting and filing in every state.
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The solution integrates with several eCommerce and accounting platforms including Magento, Shopify, Amazon, eBay and more. Brands and retailers will begin moving from sites and apps to a new standard; the Progressive Web App — a hybrid between sites and apps which combine the upsides of each and does away with the limitations. PWAs create fast-loading, compelling mobile experiences, similar to what brands and retailers achieve with a native app—while also being discoverable and accessible to everyone via the mobile web.
How To Start an Ecommerce Business From Scratch
No need to market your app; your mobile site is an app. PWA works by transferring the workload to the device, instead of relying on the web server for every page, layout, click and image, creating a standard experience, regardless of browser, device type and connection. Push notifications led to an increase in recovered carts. Not satisfied with simply selling leads and traffic, social media platforms are looking to bridge the eCommerce gap by becoming transactional; users will be able to complete purchases without leaving the platform.
Private messaging services, which are exploding in popularity, are also expected to become transactional. WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger are showing engagement numbers running into the billions. A native payments feature was subtly added to its app for some users, who can now start buying without ever leaving Instagram.
Google Express, though not a social platform, consolidates merchants into a single cart for consumers, centralizing the purchasing experience, including in-store pickup — without ever being a merchant.
Google thus capitalizes on its ecosystem which involves search, ads, maps, reviews and payment. Retailers today carry between 2 and 10 times more SKUs than they did 10 years ago — all of which only exists online if it has the related product content to support it product images, video, descriptions, sizes, attributes and complimentary products.
Even the biggest retailers are struggling to produce product content fast enough to properly commercialize and merchandize their selection. Product content is the heart of eCommerce. It provides superior product discovery and selection capabilities, which requires detailed product information and critical product-specific attributes, coupled with semantic search. Retailers must maintain and provide images and videos, catalog descriptions, names, category-specific metadata e.
Acquiring this information from suppliers is a time-consuming task, requiring various methods and a significant amount of manual activity. AI-based solutions will increasingly automate the creation, optimization, classification, translation and syndication of product content which, combined, have become a must to keep up with consumer demand for more product information: the merchants with the most and best product information win the customer.
The Chinese eCommerce marketplace says its AI-based copywriting tool, which can produce 20, lines of copy a second, is used a million times a day by vendors. Amazon is making an AI-based real-time product recommendations engine available to merchants who use the AWS console. Anyone with the latest mobile phone can now use their camera to detect QR codes and dig into product descriptions, pricing and other related product information.
Users will see a prompt on screen once their device recognizes a QR code which generally takes less than a second , with an option to click a link, which takes the user to the desired location. Marketplaces — when operated effectively — are likely to boost customer loyalty, increase average order values, and build trust.
Retailers with significant traffic will add marketplace functionality to capture new revenue through commissions on sales and to test product and category interest before direct sourcing the SKUs. Whether to beat Amazon, eBay and others at their own game, or to get in on the marketplace action, retailers are broadening their reach and selection by integrating the marketplace model to their digital commerce toolkit. Half of all merchandise sold on Amazon comes from third-party sellers.
When WalMart Canada launched the marketplace feature, they immediately doubled their online product assortment.
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Security of their information is a priority for online shoppers. You need to recognize this and make the necessary adjustments. These are some examples of popular choices. Otherwise, you can find yourself in some legal trouble as well.
What is Ecommerce?
Which one of these security measures is the best? Use video demonstrations Consumers love videos. Create product demonstrations like Nato does with their smart mount: The video shows users how they can use this product in their daily lives. So it appeals to a wider range of people. Use photos when you include customer testimonials User reviews and testimonials are a great way to show proof of concept. Take your testimonials one step further. What do you think looks better and more professional? This testimonial can encourage others to make a purchase and drive more sales.
Their website allows users to share their stories and include pictures as well. If your product is solving a problem, customers will be happy to share their stories. The reality is that people use mobile phones and tablets to shop online. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices.
YouTube for E-Commerce: The Art of Selling Without Selling
Something else you can consider is building a mobile app. Improving the customer experience will help you get more sales and increase your revenue. Find a way to focus on what customers want. Offer more discounts It may sound simple, but not enough companies are offering discounts to their customers. Jack up the base price of each product and then put it on sale. Everyone loves getting a good deal, so this is a great way to drive sales. Showcase your top selling items Give your customers some direction.
Show them what people are buying the most. When someone stumbles upon your site, they may get drawn to products that are popular. Ramp up promotions for the holidays Special events are a time when people are looking to shop and spend more money than on a normal day of the year. Take a look at these statistics for ecommerce sites during cyber week: So break out your best offers during this time of year.
Use that to your advantage. Send out emails to your subscriber list to entice them to buy during the holiday season. Keep in mind people are buying gifts for friends and family as well as themselves. Promote your products accordingly. Airlines do this all the time. Check out this example from Delta: Four out of the 6 prices on this page show a limited quantity remaining.
Another way to do this is by running flash sales. Accept different payment options You have to give people different options to pay for the products and services on your website.
How To Start an Ecommerce Business From Scratch -
Make sure you have the capability to accept debit cards in addition to credit cards. Look at this checkout page from Best Buy: Best Buy accepts 6 different types of credit cards on their website. They also give customers the option of paying through PayPal. Continue to adapt to the new trends as well. Making the checkout process as simple as possible will help you get more ecommerce sales.
Focus on your value proposition What does the customer see when they get to your website? Is it your phone number? Instead, put more emphasis on value. Tell your customers what separates your product from similar items on the market. Look how effectively Square does this with their point of sale systems: Their value proposition tells you everything you need to know about the product. They include a bullet list of their top features for customers to focus on. Square also includes a photograph of their POS system to show customers what it looks like.
Use video demonstrations to show customers how to use your products. But if you want to improve those testimonials, add a photograph to them as well. Create a sense of urgency to entice customers to make an impulse buy. If you want to go the extra mile, consider developing a mobile application. Promote your top selling items. Come up with a unique and actionable value proposition.
These tips will help you boost sales on your website. What methods have you used to help you grow your ecommerce site fast? Learn more about our story here.