It’s 2014, and no matter the way you look at it, ecommerce is big and it’s here to stay. And whether your business is brick-and-mortar, exists only on the Internet, or perhaps it’s a mixture of both, understanding ecommerce trends and predictions of 2014 will go a long way in boosting your profit levels; this is of course assuming you’re willing to take advantage of the trends and predictions you come across.
If you thought today was just another day where you could sit back and let your business run itself, boy were you wrong. Today is the day that you’re going to read about the next big things in ecommerce, meaning it will then be your responsibility to take what you learn and apply it to your business. Once you do, you won’t regret it. Let’s get started.
It’s Time to Get Some Survey Answers
Sure, any business can send out online surveys or have them incorporated within its websites, and there’s a good chance that the surveys will be viewed by thousands of both existing and potential customers. But what do YOU do when you come across a survey, especially a lengthy one? If you’re anything like most Internet users, you simply hit the X button. For your ecommerce company, this translates into a lost opportunity to gain data that could improve the overall success of your business.
So, the question is, how in the world do you get Internet surfers to quit hitting the X button? How do you get them to actually complete the survey? It’s simple and more importantly, it’s a 2014 ecommerce trend that is big: you persuade them that filling out the survey is worth their time. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this. You could offer them a discount for filling out the survey, such as 10 percent off their next purchase, or you could even offer free shipping. If consumers think they will gain something from filling out the survey, they are much more likely to do so.
Blogging will Boost Your Website Traffic
You might think that your e-commerce business is doing well, and if that’s the case, then good for you. But you should always be looking for ways to boost your profit levels, and to do this, you will need to boost your website traffic. Blogging is a great way to do this. Even if you’ve never blogged a day in your life, your e-commerce website needs to start. If you think that blogging is overrated, check out these statistics:
- Blogging leads to 55 percent more website visitors
- You’ll have 434 percent more indexed pages than e-commerce sites that don’t blog
- You’ll have 97 percent more inbound links than e-commerce sites that don’t blog
Establishing Trust Through Content Marketing
Content marketing grew and grew in 2013, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t get even bigger in 2014. In fact, a study conducted not too long ago found that 82 percent of ecommerce marketing managers plan to increase the amount of money they spend on content marketing.
To connect with online customers, the content provided via your blogs, websites and social media profiles must be meaningful, and to acquire this type of content, it takes quite a bit of money. If you want, you can create the content yourself, but you need to have excellent writing, grammar and spelling skills to do this. If you don’t have such skills, you may as well plan on outsourcing your content marketing tasks. And better yet, you need to outsource them to a professional writer who has experience with search engine optimization. This will go a long way toward making sure your site establishes high rankings on search engine results pages.
Staying Relevant By Going Mobile
If you have an ecommerce company and you haven’t optimized for mobile, then you haven’t even scratched the surface of where your business could be. Mobile optimization means creating a website that allows for seamless handheld browsing to take place, and most importantly, it means your website can be viewed across all major browsers that are used on mobile devices. After all, mre people viewing your site on their mobile devices means more customers you’re likely to sell products/services to.
Providing Additional Support via Emails
Your ecommerce business, no matter the products and/or services that it’s selling, should always be looking for ways to boost customer assistance. And although you may think that you have customer support covered, you need to think again. As your business grows, new customer issues will arise, meaning additional customer help will always be needed.
One way to provide optimal customer support is via emails. Even if some of your customers don’t ever ask for assistance, at least on a weekly basis, you need to send out an email that asks if any help is needed. You will be amazed at how many people are in need of support, yet they are afraid to ask for it unless you offer it first. Keeping this in mind, it’s also a good idea to include a live support widget on all webpages of your site that customers are most likely to need help on.
Free Shipping That’s Fast
Not only is the new thing in 2014 to provide free shipping, but most ecommerce businesses are also striving to provide incredibly fast shipping. In fact, a next-day shipping schedule is not uncommon anymore. While all businesses would love to provide their customers with this type of shipping, for some, it’s simply not affordable. If your business happens to be one of these, you must find creative ways to enhance the shipping experience. For starters, you should always provide customers with a tracking number. In addition, leave a personal note in their shipments explaining that you hope they are happy with the product and that a refund is available if they aren’t satisfied.
Data-Driven Communications is the Only Way to Drive
Your ecommerce business can be compared to driving a car. If you don’t watch where you’re going, you’re likely to run off the road and crash. If you don’t drive your business the right way, failure is inevitable. And just as you must get a permit to drive a car, you must also get your permit (data) to drive your business. Once you have your data, USE IT! Data can be collected from many outlets, including surveys, email registrations, customer social media profiles, etc. You must let this collected data drive the direction that your business is going.
All communications that take place with customers need to be customized according to the data that you have. For example, if you have a customer named Dana and she lives in Houston, TX, when you send out your weekly customer support email, make sure you start the email with something that reads like, “Hey Dana. We sure hope the weather is treating you right in Houston. We just wanted to know if there was anything we could help you with today. If so, just shoot a quick reply to this email and we’ll provide the assistance you’re in need of.” See, how the data-driven communication was carried out? It’s simple, but very effective.
Ecommerce Trends in 2014: The Takeaway
Now that you know seven of the ecommerce tactics we expect to keep growing in 2014, it’s your duty to act on them. Sure, some of them will take time and money to carry out, but the great thing is, you’ll notice almost immediate results. And even if the results are small at first, they tend to have a snowball effect. The most important thing to remember is that not all trending strategies will work for your business. If you come across one that doesn’t work after an extended period of time, quit wasting money and time on it and move on to another one.