Top Five E-Commerce Trends For 2015

by Sohini Bagchi    Dec 26, 2014

ecommerce

2014 had been a busy year for the e-commerce industry. While online sales accelerated over the past 12 months, the sector witnessed established players taking the stronghold as well as several new players joining the fray. The industry saw greater consolidation with more number of M&A deals and expansions all through the year. Experts believe these trends will continue to dominate in the coming months, with 2015 witnessing a lot more consolidation in the e-commerce market.

Here are the top five trends in e-commerce.

#1. Mobile, a driving force

While mobile commerce has been a buzzword in the past few years, it never really took off. In 2015, experts see m-commerce finally beginning to make a mark. A Google study found over 50 percent of e-commerce queries is already happening on smartphones and this will drive ecommerce stores to become accessible through a wide range of mobile devices. According to a Juniper report, the provision of mobile wallets will enable services beyond payments such as savings and micro-insurance. Experts believe in order to have an impact, advertisers and e-commerce retailers need to ensure they have responsive websites and optimized ads, which work seamlessly across different sized screens and devices to appeal to customers.

#2. Social commerce – A big thing

According to experts, in 2015, social media will have an even stronger impact on e-commerce sales. So, while majority of e-commerce purchases will happen through websites, consumers will rely on their networks for facts about products and services as the initial point of contact, as 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.

Online social marketing campaigns should be geared at generating a buzz amongst people, and the best ROI comes from users naturally sharing and talking about a brand. “Brands and retailers should certainly seek to integrate their offerings with players such as Facebook and Twitter. Integration offers reach, allied to the potential to target specific user demographics,” says e-commerce evangelist and Juniper researcher Dr. Windsor Holden.

#3. More customization, more personalized experience

In 2014, the number of online stores will increase across categories, and they will provide better services and features to their shopper. The amount of data now available on prospective and existing customers means that e-commerce retailers can actively target exactly who they want.

Market segmentation will continue to grow, with a big focus on targeting niche audiences. 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.

#4. Fast delivery, more innovation

As e-commerce customers are looking for the fastest shipping and delivery, the importance of a speedy delivery will be paramount in 2015, with an increase number of retailers offering click and collect services or home store pick-ups, to speed up the access to purchased products. According to a joint study by consultancy firm PwC and industry body Assocham, Indian e-commerce industry will spend $950-1,900 million in the next 3-4 years on the infrastructure to ensure better speed, efficiency and growth. Expedited shipping is therefore no longer the luxury in 2015 and it once was. To compete, online retailers will need to offer great deals on delivery and a fast turnaround time on all orders, believe experts.

James Gagliardi VP of product and innovation for Digital Riversaid in a blog that data 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 – that is faster and reliable.

#5. Content will be the focus

 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 to drive sales, believe experts.

On the whole, e-commerce continues to play an extremely important role for retailers of all shapes and sizes in 2015. In today’s online marketplace, speed, price and availability matter more than anything and those players who pay attention to these details will have an edge.