E-commerce continues to evolve, and you almost always see fresh ideas each year on how to better engage with customers and improve sale tactics. As 2016 approaches, it's time to start thinking of refreshing the e-commerce practices on your website.
This time around, evidence points to more focus on making things easier for customers, as well as dealing with new technologies.
In the world of technology, things never slow down. Ultimately, this complements your drive toward creating better shopping experiences for customers who expect new and innovative ways to shop. Much of this centers around mobile usage, which has numerous trends that you need to focus on to stay ahead of the game.
Let's look at what you can focus on in the coming year to make your e-commerce experience full of surprises with quicker service to consumers.
More Global Sales
You'll find some online sources saying that global sales are a top goal for many online companies now. One reason is because it's so much easier to reach people nowadays with crowdsourcing being so ubiquitous. While localized e-commerce is still effective for products that can benefit those in your city or state, going global opens more prominent markets with the potential for more loyal customers.
The way toward balancing this correctly is to provide numerous shopping options for those in other countries. By offering international shipping, international currency conversion, and in-country fulfillment, you can tap into markets you never thought possible before.
Earlier Promotions and Holiday Sales
It seems that online stores start earlier and earlier with holiday shopping sales. Many sources remind you that the fourth quarter is the most important time for many businesses. It’s when most of your sales will probably take place. In that regard, the trend is starting to learn toward starting promotions even earlier than your competitors.
Even if you think this isn't right on a personal level, getting a leg up on your competitors on fourth-quarter sales is something to take into serious consideration. You may also want to consider doing sales beyond holidays in the fourth quarter, since you'll find most consumers start buying around that time.
Flash Sales vs. Subscription Sales
You've perhaps noticed your competitors starting to participate in the flash sale concept that plays on a consumer’s buying impulses. Despite this being popular recently, subscription sales have also begun to usurp this concept.
Once you read up on how subscription sales work, it's not hard to see why they’re rising in popularity, since subscriptions help nurture more personal relationships with customers. It also gives you more time to develop marketing content that can tap into what those customers want. When you offer well-timed special deals and behavior-triggered workflows, you'll still have impulse buys from a targeted group you know will buy from you.
More Efficient Fulfillment Centers
When Amazon.com sealed a deal in 2013 with the U.S. Post Office for more efficient deliveries nationwide, it gave them a strong advantage on getting packages to customers faster. It's something to think about with your own fulfillment center (or centers) to help facilitate faster delivery.
That's an emerging trend for many companies since customers want fast service, especially on mobile. Making it easier to buy on mobile and get a package delivered in at least a day or two is an essential way to stay ahead of competitors.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that online stores like Zulily are using a concept where consumers get bigger discounts (up to 70% off) on items in exchange for longer delivery times.
No matter what product(s) you’re selling or who your target demographic is, keeping these trends in mind as we enter 2016 will give you a smarter sense of how to plan for the new year. By keeping ahead of technology trends and tapping into your customers’ needs on a more personal level, you can head into the new year with more solid goals on the road to more sales.