Top Trends That Will Drive E-Commerce in 2014

by Sohini Bagchi    Dec 20, 2013

ecommerce

For the E-commerce industry, 2013 has been a notable year. Global online sales not only increased significantly, but also other developments such as entry of several new players in the e-commerce fray, more number of M&A deals and expansions and new innovations have kept the E-commerce industry busy all through the year. Experts believe these trends will continue to dominate in the coming months, and at the same time, 2014 will see a lot more consolidation in the e-commerce market.

Experts point out some of the key trends that will continue to shape the e-commerce industry in the next one year.

From e-commerce to social commerce

Experts believe companies that will view e-commerce strictly as a website-driven channel will fail to compete in 2014 and beyond. Even though majority of e-commerce purchases will happen through websites, social media networks will increasingly be the initial point of contact for many. Consumers will rely on their networks for facts about products and services, and they also will look for discounts, offers and information about loyalty rewards programs. Brands will also actively encourage buyers to make purchases and talk about goods on social platforms. “As social media analytics evolve, companies will seek better ways to measure the ROI from their social efforts,” says Pritha Chaudhuri, CEO and Co-founder, Analytics Quotient.

For example, Jabong, for example saw traffic and revenue from social marketing grown between 250-300% in the last one year. Myntra saw an increase of 120% originating from Facebook in six months. With over 5-6 lacs page visits per day, Myntra believes that social marketing works extremely well for young brands as it helps them to get expsoure.

A year back while scaling up its digital presence, Myntra saw an increase of 120% originating from Facebook in six months and 25% of their overall revenue can actually be attributed to Facebook for that period. Their Facebook page has also nearly 1.6 mn ‘likes’, while Twitter has approximately 16,000 followers. Myntra believes that social marketing works extremely well for young brands as it helps them to get expsoure.

The marketing on social platforms leads to increase in organic traffic to the website. Myntra today has 5-6 lacs page visits per day.

More data means more money!

In the next one year, the importance of Big Data and analytics to e-commerce cannot be overstated. E-commerce players will collect and analyze data of customers to have predictive value and to understand consumer experiences in both digital and physical contexts. James Gagliardi VP of product and innovation for Digital River in a Wired Inside blog that Big data and analytics will also give rise to new ways of generating revenue. Online players will come up with new monetization models that will rely on an in-depth understanding of customers to deliver value over a long stretch of time, according to him.

[Read: E-commerce players use innovative strategies to woo customers]

More online stores, more customization

In 2014, the number of online stores will increase across categories, and they will provide better services and features to their shopper. Currently clothes, electronic goods, books and jewelry, are some of the most popular items sold online. However, with increase in real time assistance - response time and speed, more customers would go for items, such as groceries and medicines, among others. Moreover, online stores will provide a more personalized experience to customers by modifying and design products, mentions Chaudhuri.

Content - The real ‘king’

 A growing number of online companies will work on a content strategy to create the best user experience online. For this, e-commerce companies will create high quality, appealing and SEO-friendly e-commerce content. Building long relationship with customers with exclusive content will help in increasing the profit volume ratio. The focus will be more towards quality content, including images and video, believe experts.

 

Smartphones: A driving force

A large number of e-commerce queries from customers will happen on smartphones. Many will use mobiles to research products online before buying them through PCs or in physical stores. Quite a few will people visit online stores and buy products right through their smartphones or tablets. As a consequence, all the ecommerce stores need to be accessible through a wide range of mobile devices. Just as 2013 showed a rise of response web design, in 2014 most ecommerce stores will already start supporting all kinds of mobile devices. mobile POS devices will also be on the rise in the coming months.

[Read: What's so Great About Google's Online Shopping Fest]

 

According to an eMarketer report, e-commerce sales are forecast to increase 17% worldwide in 2013, from $1,04 to $1,22 trillion, led by growth in the Asia-Pacific region, with growth coming from markets such as China, Indian and Indonesia.
 
The e-commerce industry in India is set to witness an exciting time with a recent Zinnov study predicting the e-commerce growth to increase from $10 billion to $125-260 billion by 2015.
 
“E-commerce has experienced stupendous growth in recent times in India and we do not see this growth slowing down anytime in the near future. Scale is certainly necessary to survive in this business and India presents that scale to anyone who is serious about this business,” said Praveen Bhadada, Director-Market Expansion, Zinnov. Likewise, e-commerce players are heavily investing in advertising, marketing as well as technology.
 
Despite some of the biggest challenges such as cash on delivery payment and security issues – which need constant attention, the Indian e-commerce space is soon entering an exciting growth phase in the next 12 months, believe experts.
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