2017 has brought its fair share of advancements in e-commerce trends. Customers have already latched on to some of these advancements, while other trends might not last past December. Check out some of the latest trends for e-commerce to keep up with the competition and boost conversion rates for your site.
Checking accounts for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and many other social media platforms has become as habitual as brushing teeth for many consumers. Companies have taken note of the prevalence of social media and used it to sell more products. Because these social media accounts collect personalized data, allowing for a direct marketing approach to the potential customer’s newsfeed, many specialized start-ups and large online brands have begun using this tactic. Social media introduces their target audience to products based on search history, other page likes, and demographic information. Not only can social selling gather interest in products, it can increase engagement on your company social media pages to draw even more attention to the brand.
Many e-commerce sites have started using artificial intelligence to improve the customer experience by way of chatbots. These chatbots are computer programs that can be used with messaging interfaces to have a conversation with a consumer using natural language. Companies can program the chatbot to have specific responses to inquiries or welcoming greetings to new customers. This frees up customer service employees to work on more pressing matters and personalizes the shopping experience.
Every customer that visits your online site will want something slightly different out of their shopping experience. They will have preferences for color, materials, and every style element that contributes to a product’s design. In 2017, letting the customer communicate their preferences and using that data to provide a unique shopping experience is likely to become the norm. Some sites such as Third Love and Stitch Fix have site visitors complete a short quiz to determine preferences prior to shopping; they can adjust the preference data with each purchase and product view. Media sites like Netflix and Pandora have been using this method by allowing users to rate movies, shows, or songs, and suggesting new items based on past preferences.
Major names in online shopping like Amazon and Zappos have been providing reliable, speedy, cheap (or free) delivery services for a few years now, and it is something savvy customers have come to expect. Finding a way to offer quick shipping can increase conversions by attracting customers who need the product as soon as possible. In fact, studies show that 40 percent of online shoppers leave a site without completing the purchase if there is no same-day delivery option. Including free return shipping is also a plus, especially for e-commerce sites that sell apparel.
Another trend that is decreasing cart abandonment rates is the simplification of the online user experience, especially during the checkout process. Sites that are intuitively designed with clear menus and organized product pages attract and retain shoppers. Make it easy for site visitors to find what they are looking for with easy-to-use search functions and detailed product descriptions. When it comes time for checkout, gather only the necessary data for shipping and purchasing. Give returning customers the option of saving their checkout information for an even easier and faster purchasing process.
Customers want to know that their information is safe. Reluctance to shop online is thinning as more products become available, but many customers are still afraid their identity will be stolen if they enter information on an unsecure site. The use of fraud management tools can greatly increase the confidence consumers have in your online checkout process. HTTPS encryption and SSL certificates can secure your site from hacking attempts that leak sensitive data. Additionally, even if a site has taken the necessary security measures to keep information safe, an outdated appearance may cause customers to lose confidence in the legitimacy of the checkout process.
Several studies show the number of mobile internet searches is surpassing desktop searches in 2017. Therefore, it is even more important to have an e-commerce website that can easily be viewed and used on a handheld mobile device. Responsive web design is a great tool to create one website that can work on multiple page sizes by stacking pictures, columns, and other page items rather than cutting them out and increasing the need for horizontal scrolling. When users can easily access a site on their phone, they are more likely to stay on the site and follow through with a purchase.
Take a good look at your e-commerce site and consider incorporating one or more of these new trending features. Your conversions and sales will likely increase and your current customers will appreciate the improvements. Remember to check your site for ease-of-use, a personalized experience, mobile-friendliness, and security. Take advantage of the data available to you to give shoppers what they want and show them what they didn’t know they could have. Watch for new trends to stay on top of the latest in e-commerce before 2018 hits.