In the ever-changing world of eCommerce, a new year brings fresh ideas, key practices and evolving technologies. Online entrepreneurs must keep informed of these trends to remain competitive in business.

Read below for the latest industry trends that are expected to make an impact on your eCommerce business in 2017.

1. eCommerce is becoming more and more mobile

Online consumers are now more likely to shop from their mobile device than from desktops according to TechCrunch. This trend will only continue to grow, especially as Facebook recently relaunched its Marketplace venue, causing an increase of mobile usage on the platform.

In Alexandra Sheehan’s article, Judy Mottl, Editor at Retail Customer Experience, explains the increasing mobile shopping experience:

“The gorgeous promise of mobile retail will evolve and strengthen and become much more relevant to both consumers and retailers as the hiccups and glitches happening now will quickly become memories. Retailer strategies incorporating the mobile device will become much more sophisticated and honed for smooth integration into the overall customer experience.”  Read More

2. eCommerce websites will become mobile sites

Due to the trend of eCommerce becoming increasingly mobile, “eCommerce websites will really be mobile websites,” writes Armando Roggio of PracticalEcommerce. Website designers will begin to think of a project in its mobile form before designing the computer-compatible screen. Known as responsive or adaptive design, websites will be made for larger screens with mobile devices in mind.

Roggio explains how websites will change featuring the use of the full-width of the device’s screen and more hidden, or “hamburger” menus for when the website is being viewed from a mobile device.

Google’s Material Design influence will become more popular as an increasing number of sites begin using it. Cinemagraphs, or a still picture enhanced by a small, repeating animation, and vivid color will also be seen on more sites.

Image Credit: blog.goodvid.io

3. Customer connection is key

Connecting with the customer is paramount. As Michelle Evans of Forbes.com says, “In this mobile-first world, the possibilities in terms of connecting with the consumer before, during and after a purchase are endless, though few do it in a seamless manner.”

Both retailers and online sellers want to establish a better connection with consumers, which in turn can lead to less fraud and more customer engagement. For offline shoppers, retailers should understand who they are when they enter the door.

4. Personal connections to brands

Image Credit: Linkedin.com

Customers who once shopped in small stores have become used to having personal connections with retailers. Although malls and large chain stores have erased some of those connections, shoppers are not satisfied with buying from faceless brands, even if they are popular.

READ
What Amazon Understands Better Than Any Other eCommerce Company

Harley Finkelstein, writing on Forbes, reports that “smart retailers are using creative tools to build a personal relationship with would-be buyers.”

So, how do you develop relationships with potential customers in the eCommerce world?

The answer is through social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are powerful tools in developing an emotional bond between a brand and its users. Entrepreneurs should log onto these and other relevant sites to promote their brand, product or service.

Another important aspect of social media is that it gives online sellers the opportunity to listen to customers’ wants and needs. Social media sites are great avenues to be responsive to customers, answer customer service questions and build loyalty.

5. eCommerce involves more social media

Social media sites will not only serve to communicate with customers but also be integrated with data or product analysis and direct purchasing. In Oliver Lindberg’s article on Shopify, Tiffany Tse reveals, “more and more merchants will integrate with third parties, and use Google Analytics and UTMs to track traffic campaigns coming from Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.”

She also recommends Shopify Messenger for purchasing, order confirmation and shipping information.

6. The flash sale is revolutionized by the internet

Flash sales, or daily deals, have become standard in launching products on the internet. Finkelstein uses Kylie Jenner’s cosmetic line's flash sales for her limited edition birthday and holiday collections as an example. Apparently, Jenner’s sales would make any entrepreneur blush!

Resellers pedaling products at enormous rates above the retail price heighten competition. Entrepreneurs need to attract loyal buyers and make sure they are first at checkout.

7. Ratings and reviews become services

According to Irina Weber on Business 2 Community , “90% of customers admit, that reviews and comments from other customers influence their purchase decision, and 81% of online shoppers trust the information and tips from blogs.”

Ratings and reviews matter greatly to online sellers and positive feedback will become even more important as merchants seek to generate content. Current and helpful information about products will equate to increased sales.

To encourage customers to write product reviews or create video reviews, offer discounts on future purchases.

8. Mobile payments will become easier

Since more people will be shopping on mobile devices, mobile payment gateways will increase significantly this year. Shoppers will be using Apple Pay, Android Pay, Amazon Payments or PayPal instead of taking out a credit card to purchase items on a smartphone.

READ
Reading Roundup: Latest Happenings in eCommerce ~ September 3, 2016

In Lindberg’s post, “eCommerce specialist Mari Corella agrees, and says customers can expect faster load times, easier navigations, and quicker checkouts.”

As a result, the trend of mobile shopping will continue to spike.

9. Cyber November

Don’t think “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” as two separate entities anymore, since these holiday shopping events have meshed together in recent years. Last year, Amazon began counting down on November 1 and other websites are expected to do the same.

“Think of it as Cyber November, a month-long selling season that peaks at the start of December,” says Kurt Elster, senior eCommerce consultant and founder of eCommerce agency Ethercycle.

10. Everyone will compete with Amazon

Does this trend surprise you? It shouldn’t. Tammy Everts, senior researcher and evangelist at digital performance management company SOASTA, comments, “Amazon has moved into a staggeringly broad range of markets — including music, cars, clothing, photo processing, even lumber. No matter what kind of business you’re in, it’s safe to say that Amazon has its eye on it.”

Online consumers trust Amazon and rely on the site’s fast and excellent customer service experience. Although shoppers are browsing on other sites, they ultimately buy on Amazon. What do you do if you want shoppers to buy directly from you? The answer is to understand your customer as much as possible and to build customer and brand loyalty.

Let’s Discuss: Do you already use these trends to build a customer base? What trends will you adapt in 2017?

Stephanie Torreno

Stephanie Torreno

Stephanie Torreno's portfolio includes articles exploring education, special education, and mental health topics. She also wrote an online newsletter for employment professionals focused on obtaining work for individuals with disabilities. Her book, Keeping My Balance: A Memoir of Disability and Determination, was published in 2013. Stephanie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Houston Baptist University.
Stephanie Torreno