It is predicted that by 2016, online shopping will increase by 45%, resulting in $327 billion in sales.

One reason for this is that more people are shopping online, an estimated 197 million, up from 167 million in 2012.

The average online spend in 2012 was $1,200, but is expected to rise to $1,700 by 2016, according to a Forrester report.

To keep up with the rapid rate of development, eCommerce is evolving almost every day. To attract and retain customers, eCommerce businesses must keep up with trends in the industry. It used to be that the cheapest seller won the sale; but slashing prices just doesn’t cut it anymore.

In today’s hyper-competitive market, standing out depends on how customers experience your brand. Brands that can anticipate, meet and exceed their customer’s expectations are those with the most loyal customers. But with the constantly changing eCommerce industry, it can be difficult to choose a long-term business strategy.

  • How does a business choose which trend to adopt?

  • Which ones are here today but will be gone tomorrow?

From a customer poll, Floship has identified five key trends that successful eCommerce sellers use. These trends gained momentum this year and we’re sure they’ll continue to work in 2016:

The Rise of Mobile E-commerce
More people are consuming their info on the go:

It’s estimated that 1.75 billion smartphones are being used all over the world. More people now ‘window-shop’ and complete their shopping transactions from their phones.

In 2013, Kissmetrics reported that a third of all eCommerce purchases during the holiday shopping season were made from a smartphone. Sales from tablets have also steadily increased–meaning that more online sales are done on handheld devices than at a computer.

Customers expect to be able to click and complete transactions hassle-free, so optimizing mobile shopping should be a priority to adopt now.

It’s no longer enough to only offer a mobile, or lite, version of your site.

Successful eCommerce stores optimize for user experience and design, to offer a seamless shopping experience.

Increase in Omni-Channel Shopping
Marketing success is measured by the brand’s ability to reach consumers, right? But, with more consumers using multiple devices, retailers are finding that online shopping is no longer confined to one device.

Customers are not just browsing on mobile devices, according to eMarketer, conversion rates on mobile have also risen year after year. Customers flit from device to device; they may first stumble on your brand from their desktop at work.

They may spend their commute browsing your product selection on their phone before completing a transaction on a laptop or tablet at home.

It doesn’t end with browsing either; up to 71% of shoppers say they use their smartphones for research in the physical store too. Modern customers use as many ways as possible to make their buying decisions and complete transactions.

According to a study by IDC, omni-channel customers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel. To engage customers across platforms, the marketing, site and entire shopping experience must remain congruent across platforms.

Diversified Social Selling
Social media has definitely changed the way we shop.

More people now rely on word-of-mouth recommendations from their social media connections, when making buying decisions. Social media also helps eCommerce sellers, as they can target potential customers by age, sex, location etc. This detailed targeting helps in making important marketing decisions. Facebook Advertising was the go-to platform for (too) many businesses, but with its ever-changing rules, sellers are diversifying into other social networks.

By finding niched-down, tight-knit communities, sellers are guaranteed a more engaged pool of buyers.

One example is Polyvore which has become a go-to platform for eCommerce sellers in the home furnishing and interior design niche. Apart from having a focused audience, this platform also gives eCommerce sellers tools to showcase their designs and products.

Improve the Customer Experience
Across all industries, buyer expectations are changing every day.

These days, customers expect to be blown away by your product or service, every single time.

Free availability of information has empowered consumers, allowing them to make smarter choices. This, in turn, forces the eCommerce seller to constantly look for ways to wow the consumer. Pulling this off is a win-win, as you’ll get the sale, and convert the customer into a brand advocate.

To engage modern consumers, mailing out coupons just won’t cut it. Businesses that steadily wow their customers offer interesting digital content (blogs, newsletters), active engagement on social media (regular giveaways), loyalty programs etc.

One untapped strategy that eCommerce sellers can also adopt is the use of product demonstration videos.

Over 60% of online shoppers surveyed say they’ll spend 2+ minutes watching videos of the product in use, to get a better ‘feel’ of the product.

Flawless Shipping
Running an eCommerce store means you are open for business 24/7, to customers from all over the globe.

To retain and wow your customers, your entire supply chain, from manufacturer to fulfillment centers to customer service must run like clockwork. Locally, a speedy delivery can be accomplished by same-day delivery , next-day or 2-day shipping–international customers also demand speedy delivery.This is where a specialized fulfillment service can help your business as they offer quick and reliable modes of delivery.

Along with guaranteed delivery, the right service can help you with value added services. By providing kitting, repacking, personalization services, they can help your business stand out in the eyes of a customer. While we wait for Amazon’s drones to be cleared for liftoff, eCommerce sellers can study these key trends and which ones they can adopt.

It’s the final quarter of the year, optimize your business and reap extra profits this holiday season.

  • What trends have you used to grow your business this year?

  • What plans do you have for 2016?

Yes, trends change, but at Floship, we know these five will continue to improve the customer experience and your business profits. For more information, contact Floship now.

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