The eCommerce industry is booming, but it has a lot more room to boom.
Experts suspect we are on the edge of a golden age for online retail. Here are just a few opinions for you.
- S. online spending is expected to exceed $400 billion per year by 2018.
- According to engadget, “The average consumer now spends $1,842.57 a year on shopping online and overall user penetration is expected to hit whooping 70.18% by 2020.”
The question isn’t up or down, it is which rocketships will shoot eCommerce to the moon first?
Amazon Prime Set the Bar High, Now You Have to Meet It
With fast and free shipping for Prime members, Amazon moved one step closer to meeting the high customer needs of instant gratification.
Shoppers can now do everything, even try on apparel and say yes or no within a few days. With a quick and easy automated return process, they can also ship the items back.
Basically, consumers have even less reason to trudge into a physical location than ever before. So online orders are rising.
In fact, 81% of customers want an easier way to return items they bought online, and 68% of online shoppers would feel more confident in completing a purchase if complimentary return shipping were included.
Online clothing retailers such as JackThreads or Five Four have used this strategy to cater to the online apparel shoppers with great success. Should you?
A Rise in Popularity of Subscription Based Models
In the absence of branding on a large scale, the best way to capture the lifetime value of a customer is through subscription-based models.
Consumers receive the value of automation and potential subscription discounts — as seen with Amazon.
Why burden users with the responsibility of going through the entire processes of buying the same product if they are satisfied with it?
Subscription based goods and services are predicted to continue growing towards 2020. SAAS platforms have been taking advantage of subscription based business models for years, but physical-product based eCommerce businesses have started to incorporate this strategy to great results relatively recently.
Think of businesses such as Dollar Shave Club, FiveFour, Trunk Club, and Birchbox. Dollar Shave Club received a hefty valuation of $615 million in only five years. Guess what? They used a subscription-based business model.
The Blooming Opportunity of China
The United States e-Commerce market has had annual growth rates of around $10 for the last 15 years, but the flood of competition has made us wonder when online retailers can expect a saturation point.
China, on the other hand, is expected to double its e-Commerce sales by 2019 and has started to attract attention. Statistically, nearly half of all of the 3.5 billion Internet users around the world are in Asia, China accounting for 22% of the world Internet users.
China’s total eCommerce sales are estimated to double by 2019, making the United States look like a tinker toy.
Alibaba, the Amazon of China, has grown to 434 million global users with roughly 12.7 billion annual orders. Yes, you read that correctly: not 12.7 billion in revenue, 12.7 billion orders.
As of 2014, Alibaba owned 86.2% of China’s mobile shopping market. The Chinese market has long been validated by Alibaba and e-Commerce as a consumer shopping habit is growing among China’s population.
That’s a fast rocket.
In an Online World Lacking Security, Be Secure
The massive growth of the Internet was not without its growing pains. Big online names such as Yahoo, Myspace, Tumblr, and LinkedIn often made headlines about having security breaches that exposed billions of accounts’ information to hackers. User’s personal information would then go up for sale on the dark market.
The amount of reported fraud in 2015 surged by 30%, and 2016 was a huge year in battling online fraud. Even with heightened online security becoming the standard for online retailers, Card Not Present fraud is expected to double to $6.4 billion in 2018.
You can see why consumers might be squeamish about making an online sale; they’re afraid someone is watching.
Taking precautionary measures to protect your customer’s security is standard, but we think consumer anxiety will not be quelled without further signs of an unbreakable security net.
Further security proof includes:
- obtaining a valid certificate
- secure connection
- secure resources
- making security information easily available and accessible to your visitors.
The art of executing this advanced security is to seamlessly integrate it with your checkout process without a clunky, multi-layer check out. Other solutions to consider are photo authentication, finger scans, and the more common two-step text message verification process. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s visible and reputable.
Personal Shoppers for All
Chatbots and virtual sales forces proved to be extremely effective in addressing customer concerns in 2016, and are expected to become an industry standard in 2016.
These live sales assistants provide visitors with the solution to their problems in real time, and have had a huge impact in site conversion rates.
Having a non-intrusive chat box somewhere on your site gives customers the convenience of having any shopping questions answered within a few seconds, while not feeling unnecessarily pressured to buy something.
As machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies advance, online retailers will be able to rely solely on chatbot software rather than having a warm body sitting behind that chat. Until then, there are services such as zendesk to assist with customer interactions and other methods of cutting costs for your eCommerce business.