Today businesses are connected to consumers like never before, so it's hardly surprising that the E-commerce industry continues to see phenomenal growth.
In fact, if you take a look at this Statista report, E-commerce sales are projected to grow to 534.95 billion U.S. dollars by 2018.
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There's little disputing that the future is bright for E-commerce, but what will online shopping look like in five years time? What changes do store owners need to be aware of in order to evolve?
Take a look at these five key predictions to find out.
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1. Social Selling
According to this BI Intelligence report, social networks are now driving more sales than email, with Facebook being the number one driver of traffic. Facebook makes it easy for store owners to promote, market and sell their products from within the app, and it won't be long before other social platform leaders such as Twitter and Instagram follow suit.
Not only will this improve E-commerce sales, it'll make digital shopping so much easier for consumers, as they will be targeted based on their interests and won't need to leave the app to make a purchase.
2. Instant Delivery
This is currently a hot topic in the world of E-commerce, and when you look at the likes of Amazon, you'll see that this retailer has paved the way for same-day delivery. This feature is still in its infancy so there are location limitations, but it won't be long before this is an option for everyone.
In fact, the retailer is currently in the process of creating a drone-based delivery system. The idea behind Amazon Prime Air is that a customer can order a product and a drone will deliver it to them within 30 minutes. This kind of “instant delivery” is in high demand and something that retailers should prepare for in future.
3. Omni-Channel Marketing
This has been talked about a lot over the past few years, but many retailers are still slow on the mark. Whether it's via social, mobile, in-store, or online, omnichannel is all about aligning every channel you own so that you provide a seamless experience to every shopper.
So for example, if you run a promotion on your E-commerce site, then you need to make sure that promotion is available to access via your mobile app too. And the key to getting this to work is to get every single department communicating with each other. Every message should be aligned so that your customers can shop with you however they want and enjoy the same experience across every single channel.
4. Interactive Content
So we all know how powerful content marketing can be, but where can we expect content to transition to in future? Many experts are starting to talk about interactive content, and how it's a more effective way to generating conversions.
So for example, the content marketing model currently works well in that you create a piece of content that informs customers about your products, to nurture them further along the sales cycle. But interactive content takes it one step further and interacts with each consumer to find out what they are looking for, and will then suggest relevant content based on their answers.
This method takes personalized marketing to the next level and is certainly one to watch.
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Micro-moments is another trend to look out for that can help you personalize the shopping experience. What's a micro-moment? The idea has formed from the explosive growth of mobile technology, in that consumers now have the ability to solve their problems in the moment. Google essentially describes micro-moments as in-the-moment purchase decisions, meaning that consumers are more impulsive than ever when making their purchases.
This way of marketing opens the way for huge opportunities within the world of retail. It's no longer enough to create a generic ad in the hope that people will buy, you need to think about targeted ads across social, within email campaigns, on purchase transactions, and basically any communication that you have with your audience.
With shopping available at the touch of a button, you never know when a person is ready to buy, and micro-moments look set to change the sales cycle forever.
With so much growth in E-commerce, staying ahead of the competition can be a difficult one to master. Remember to stay connected to the latest technology, provide a personalized shopping experience for your audience, and continue to move with the trends.