Top 8 Trends for Online Retailers in 2017

The e-commerce industry is rapidly changing with ever-evolving trends and an increasing number of online shoppers every year. Convenience is attributed as the biggest factor in the growth in the e-commerce industry. The total online sales estimate by 2020 is $523 billion from $335 billion in 2015. This is a 9.3% increase in growth every year with current e-commerce sales growing at around 14%.

About 67% of millennials prefer online shopping and this group of people will have the most buying power in our society. Here are the top eight trends that e-commerce merchants can leverage upon to succeed in today’s market by continuously improving on their business strategy.

Image source: Top Trends for Online Retailers in 2017

Omnichannel: By omnichannel for e-commerce, we mean the ability to sell by providing a seamless experience across different channels irrespective of the user device. Multichannel shoppers typically spend over three times as much as shoppers on a single channel.

Mobile: Mobile has overtaken desktop for search traffic and it's no surprise when experts say that in 2017, up to 75% of all internet use will come from mobile. Though e-commerce sales are still skewed toward desktop, mobile retail is expected to evolve. Merchants that are mobile friendly are already seeing the benefits of this trend.

Social Selling: Social selling is gaining traction and will continue to grow. E-commerce merchants can catch their consumers within social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., and have them buy their product from within the app. In addition to social media platforms, apps like Soldsie can help sell on Instagram and Facebook, and Curalate, a visual marketing company can also help drive sales. Social selling plays on convenience by combining the trends of omnichannel and mobile.

Subscriptions: Since convenience is the mantra we see subscription-based services have gained momentum in the past 10 years where people prefer subscribing to services that deliver everyday items on their doorstep at a set interval of time so that people don’t have to go to a store. The focus here is on retaining customers versus growing the customer base. A successful subscription-based service is Dollar Shave Club bought by Unilever for $1 billion.

Chatbots: Chatbot is a trend that is expected to rise. These AI agents can not only be the first point of contact with your customers but also track and understand customer data to gain insights that can influence your website strategy. For example, if many people are asking about something to the chatbot then it can be addressed directly on the website.

Personalization: Personation is going to separate the winners from the losers. Personalized content can be based on market trends, geographical locations, brand interactions, past purchases, preferences - you name it. Behind the computer screens, users crave for personalized content.

Content: One disadvantage that e-commerce merchants face from the beginning is that consumers cannot touch or see the actual product. About 90% of consumers abandon a purchase due to poor product description. E-commerce retailers that provide compelling and complete product information will see higher purchases.

Shipping: Consumers want free and fast shipping. About 88% of shoppers say that they want free shipping and 93% of shoppers say that free shipping encourages them to buy. Not only is free shipping a huge deal but delivery time should be within four days to please the consumers. Amazon Prime is an impressive example of delivery within a couple of hours.