With so many buzz words littering today’s eCommerce landscape, it can be difficult to read between the tweets. Which form of social media should we be keeping our eye on? Which is more important, mCommerce or socCommerce? To give you a head start for this coming year, here are the top five trends which are expected to take off.
The world of eCommerce is constantly changing, so it’s no wonder that so many people are running to catch up. Five years ago the face of the Internet was very different. There wasn’t as much prolific use of Twitter, Facebook wasn’t somewhere you would think of promoting a business, and mCommerce was steadily growing.
But, things change, and never more quickly than they do today. So, what are the top trends which will be sweeping across our tablets and smartphones in 2015?
1) Mobile Commerce
The speed at which the smartphone and tablet have developed is astounding, and this isn’t set to slow down any time soon. The Centre of Retail Research figures suggested that UK Christmas retail figures would grow by 19.5%, compared to the £14.5billion spent in 2013, and yet high street commerce sales were estimated at £56.9billion – 2.1% less than last year.
The most staggering figures (unsurprisingly) were owed to the growing proportion of mCommerce sales; it was estimated that 29.8% of all online Christmas sales would come from tablets and smartphones – 301% more than Christmas 2013. While the majority of sales supposedly still took place over PC and laptop, it is fair to say that mobile is more than on the radar now – only time will tell if these figures turned out to be correct – with an estimated total of £2.1billion to be spent over tablets and £3billion – or 18% – over smartphones. The sheer volume of people conducting their business on the go means that it is probably unfair to label this a trend – it is commerce evolution.
There is yet more evidence to suggest that mobile will change again by the time we come to predict 2016 trends however, as wearables are gaining more and more traction in the marketplace. Certain strains of wearable tech have been released for some time, but with Apple putting their bid in with the iWatch, we are about to find out if wearable really will take off this year.
2) Social Commerce
The use of social networking as a means of more than just communication has been building for some time now, and people are actually building businesses from something which started out as a virtual university common room. The power of ‘liking’ something, commenting on something or sharing a recent buy has huge marketing potential for a brand, because you can put out all the advertising you want – but that doesn’t mean the right message is getting across. The ordinary consumer trusts what the ordinary consumer has to say, not what you have to say.
Social commerce, or socCommerce, is the process of utilising social media to sell, but through a totally different means. In 2015, people will more than likely let go of the typical constraints which the word ‘commerce’ invokes, because selling direct to consumer via these channels is becoming frighteningly common. With the introduction of the ‘Buy Now’ button on Facebook, or the patent-pending Spreesy startup, which can turn followers on Instagram into customers, we could be looking at a totally different commerce landscape to discuss in a year’s time.
As discussed above, social media is no longer just a way of posting what you had for lunch, it is a major source of information and potential for anyone running an eCommerce site. However, it goes even further than a business selling from social media, what about businesses bringing the customer to their online forum? As we have already covered, people are now rarely without their smartphones or tablets, and spend hours each day on various social media platforms. This has created an online identity for every single e-consumer.
By ‘liking’ certain brands, tweeting certain companies and so on, so much of the e-citizen’s life is accessible, so why shouldn’t we utilise it? In 2014, Gartner predicted that by this year, 50% of all retail identities would in some way be built by a social network profile, so if you have the ability to target specific products at them based on the interests they have logged, it would be pretty careless to just dismiss that data. Plus, the very nature of social media and how it has been woven into our every-day lives means that the customer wants to feel unique; in 2015, they want to feel as though they aren’t just another sale, they want you to make the effort because everything else has been made so easy for them, and they want the same experience that they get in a shop.
4) Bricks and Clicks
People need to get away from thinking of bricks and mortar and online as two separate things – these barriers are breaking down and next year could see their eradication. People don’t consciously shop through various screens – in 2015, it comes completely naturally and is part of the flow of the seamless customer experience.
It would not be unusual for someone to use their laptop to research a product, go in store to see it in the flesh whilst comparing the prices on their smartphone, before completing the purchase via their tablet once they have found the best deal. This is not just a trend, but the future of eCommerce. Aside from the ability to physically go and see your future purchase, there is only one thing holding the marketplace back from the complete dismissal of bricks-and-mortar retail...
5) Instantaneous Gratification
The beauty of buying from a shop is the immediate feeling of fulfilment after purchasing an item. However, the fifth trend of 2015 could see the removal of instant satisfaction as solely accessible through the bricks-and-mortar experience: same-day shipping. Now, you may be thinking “but that has been around for ages”, but I’m not talking about same-day shipping as we know it; just like everything else in the marketplace, same-day shipping has evolved into same-day delivery.
People are not willing to wait to get what they want: they know what they want, and they want it the instant they have decided, but they want it without the hassle of getting elbowed in the ribs and queueing at till points. “Don’t bother with that,” cry online retailers, “if you shop online we’ll get it to you the same day!” With big names like Amazon raising the bar in this area, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the next big thing by 2016.
However, all is not lost for good ‘ole brick and mortar experiences; there has been a huge surge in popularity, particularly throughout the Christmas period of 2014, for the Click and Collect method. This is for a variety of reasons, but the top three are 1) people get the best of both worlds being able to browse in the peace of their own home but with the gratification of going to a shop to physically get the object, 2) postage is often free given the number of daily runs to various stores anyway 3) it’s often much quicker, again owing to the heightened speed of store delivery over home delivery, supplemented by the public need to buy something and have it instantly.
So there you have it, the top five trends to consider this year! The crux of the matter is, these aren’t new trends, but evolving trends. The above five headings may be phrases you’ve heard before, but technological advancement is making sure that they rapidly change on a yearly basis. Be sure not to fall behind.