Ecommerce Trends To Watch For In 2017

Many studies have shown a double-digit rise in worldwide ecommerce sales in 2016. Many analysts even predict that the worldwide ecommerce sales will increase consistently till 2020. However, the number of people accessing ecommerce websites on their mobile devices has been increasing rapidly. Likewise, a number of studies have shown a steady increase in mobile commerce sales driven by customers’ mobile engagement behavior.

Each enterprise needs to ensure that its ecommerce website keep users engaged by functioning like a mobile app. It must optimize its ecommerce website for mobile devices and allow users make payment through popular mobile wallets. At the same time, the business also needs to keep track of the emerging ecommerce trends to accomplish higher conversion rate and increase digital commerce revenue. There is a series of trends that will impact and shape ecommerce sales in 2017.

7 Trends that will Impact and Shape Ecommerce Business in 2017

1) Personalized Shopping Experience

Unlike mobile apps, websites lack the capability to personalize user experience by taking advantage of the features of underlying device and operating system. But many enterprises nowadays use analytics tools to gather a wide variety of customer data. The data collected through analytics tools help businesses to identify the preferences and understand the behavior of individual customers. Also, an ecommerce business can leverage the information to engage customers by showing the right product, content, ads, and deals to each customer. It can further personalize the shopping experience of each customer and boost ecommerce sales by delivering app-like user experience.

2) Social Selling

The data posted on various websites depict that people spend more time on social networking platforms than other websites. Many businesses promote their products or services on popular social networks to divert visitors to their ecommerce websites regularly. There are a number of social networking websites that allow users to buy products or services directly without visiting an ecommerce website. Many social networks are even planning to roll out new features to generate more revenue by facilitating social selling. The ecommerce business owners can take advantage of these social selling options to promote their products more effectively and boost sales.

3) Chat Bots

Many high-traffic websites nowadays interact with customers through chat bots. In addition to working as customer service executives, the chat bots also help users to perform commercial activities like shopping and booking. Many ecommerce website developers and owners will soon explore ways to keep visitors engaged by interacting with the machines efficiently. However, an enterprise has to deploy a variety of chat bots to meet the varying needs and preferences of customers. Some ecommerce companies have already used chat bots to provide personal shopping service and send messages. Many enterprises will soon use chat bots to make their ecommerce website more interactive and make shopping experience personalized.

4) Artificial Intelligence

The popular mobile platforms make people use artificial intelligence on a daily basis. A large number of people nowadays perform common tasks by talking to their machines through Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri, or Microsoft’s Cortana. Large ecommerce companies like Amazon have already started using artificial intelligence to chat with customer. But the ecommerce websites will need a variety of personal assistant to optimize the end-to-end shopping experience. More and more ecommerce businesses will take advantage of artificial intelligence to interact with customers in a smarter way and without deploying additional staff.

5) Contactless Payment

The mobile commerce apps enable users to choose from many payment modes – debit/credit card, internet banking and mobile wallets. A large number of buyers nowadays prefer making payment through their mobile wallets to debit or credit cards. In USA, some companies like Starbucks are using contactless payment options successfully to generate more revenue. Hence, the customers will love to buy product from an ecommerce website that allows them to use contactless payment options. Hence, many enterprises have to redesign their ecommerce websites in 2017 to accommodate the emerging mobile and contactless payment options.

6) Same Day Delivery and Return

There are many people who still prefer brick-and-mortar stores to web stores due to instant delivery. The web store owners must focus on reducing the delivery time of online orders to make more people buy products online. A number of studies have also shown that many customers do not hesitate to pay extra for same-day delivery. Hence, the ecommerce businesses have to explore ways to reduce delivery time of orders. Some companies will even provide flexible delivery option to customers and set up local drop-off points to ensure faster delivery. Likewise, they also need to ensure that each customer has option to return orders without putting extra time, effort and money.

7) User Generated Content

Many people nowadays read the product review and comments posted by other buyers before buying a product. Likewise, many people even choose a web store based on the shopping experience posted by other customers. Hence, enterprises can easily boost ecommerce sales by providing additional information about the products through pictures, description, specifications, and user reviews. Many ecommerce businesses will encourage customers to write reviews and share their shopping experience. They will even explore ways to promote the product more effectively through the user generated content.

However, the ecommerce trends keep changing at regular intervals. Hence, an enterprise has to keep track of the emerging trends to generate more ecommerce revenue. At the same time, it must explore ways to attract and retain customers by improving discovery, logistics and delivery through latest technologies.

How SMBs Can Increase ECommerce Revenue

eCommerce is the ultimate market-leveling tool for SMBs. Through eCommerce, the location and size of a business no longer matters.

In essence, the Internet has created a jumbo-sized virtual shopping mall in which any and every conceivable retailer can be a tenant.

Yet, cyber mall occupancy alone does not guarantee long-term commercial success. Rather, nextgeneration site functionality and ultra-reliable, highly responsive site performance are essential ingredients for increasing eCommerce revenues. Retailers with the deepest pockets gain a decided market advantage since they have the money both to develop next-generation site functionality, and to build and maintain an eCommerce platform capable of delivering the full impact of this functionality to each and every site visitor.

In reality, options today offer small business more choices that help in leveling the competitive playing field. With today’s web hosting environments — optimized for next-generation eCommerce — platform investments are reduced to a fraction of the cost of individually owning and operating an eCommerce site. With this approach, small retailers gain a significant market equalizer that enables them to compete effectively against their larger rivals.

In this article, we will describe the direction of next-generation eCommerce sites and also highlight how web hosting can dramatically reduce the IT costs necessary to effectively support next-generation eCommerce. As a result, SMBs can increase eCommerce sites and simultaneously decrease their IT costs.

1. Functionality that replicates the in-store shopping experience, and

2. Functionality that creates a distinctive online shopping experience.

o 360° product views – One of the eCommerce drawbacks is the physical separation between shoppers and products. Products such as books and DVDs – for which physical touch is not a decision variable — are two products that have sold well through an eCommerce channel. Other products, such as apparel, do benefit by physical touch. And even though apparel is sold online, the lack of physical touch contributes to instances of shopping online but buying instore.

Next-generation eCommerce sites will do more to transform the online shopping experience into online buying by presenting the product in user-controlled 360° views. In this manner, the shopper gains a richer perspective on the product’s appearance, similar to the instore buyer behavior of holding up and turning the product for closer examination.

o Layered informational mini-screens – In current-generation eCommerce sites, shoppers commonly click through several full screens to gain a deeper knowledge of the product being considered. This site design dictates back and forth navigation by the shopper to re-visit information. Consequently, the full breadth of information sought for a purchase decision seldom resides on a single screen. Next-generation eCommerce sites will offer mini-screens overlaid on the initial product screen, which allows shoppers to zoom in and out of relevant product details and, in the process, never lose connection with the product being evaluated.

o Upfront alerts on product availability – A strong benefit of eCommerce is the capability to present the full range of products and product features. Inventory costs and space limitations of brick and mortar stores are challenged to equal this capability. At the same time, product presentation in an eCommerce site without availability status is frustrating for shoppers, particularly those who have expended time loading their shopping carts only to be informed that availability of one or more products or a specially designed product will be delayed. This scenario is far less common with in-store shopping since the range of inventory is directly visible to the shopper. In next-generation eCommerce sites, product availability status can be offered to the shopper throughout the shopping and selection process. By presenting product alternatives when there are availability delays – which can be built as an option into the site design — allows shoppers to balance their desire for product immediacy and selection range.

o Streaming video – Brick and mortar stores are naturally restrained in the contextual presentation of their products, with actual product benefits limited to a shopper’s understanding of the product and imagination, and perhaps the creativity of in-store displays and external advertising (print, audio, and video). In next-generation eCommerce sites, streaming video propels contextual presentation to an entirely new level, with streaming video mini-clips that spotlight beneficial product features in multiple real-world contexts. Not only will streaming video stimulate a shopper’s imagination and strengthen intent to purchase, it can also be effective in cross-selling other products and optional features, which provide a valuable means to increasing sale size and revenue growth.

o Live chat – An eCommerce site enabled with live chat can address a shopper’s questions or site use issues on the spot. As a result, these sessions contribute to impromptu purchases and a reduction in abandoned shopping carts as well as repeat visits. Live chat offers two specific benefits:

(1) the on-demand availability of sales representatives enables quicker and more efficient customer communications than serving customers in most brick and mortar settings;

and (2) sales reps have fingertip access to a wide range of product information and are typically better product knowledge experts. With the advent of VoIP (Voice over IP) in a nextgeneration eCommerce site, live chat expands from text exchanges to more personal voice conversations. Text and voice communication also can deepen loyalty and spending by premium customers and can transform intermittent customers into regular customers if both text and voice communications are strategically employed and supported.

o Personalized sales assistance – In addition to being product experts, online sales reps can also become dedicated customer aides. Electronically armed with real-time knowledge of customer identity, profile, and past online and in-store purchases, these sales reps can personalize and enhance the customer’s shopping experience. While similar personalization is possible in brick and mortar settings, location and in-person relationships are limiting factors on the number of customers that can receive this personalization. eCommerce does not suffer from these same limitations.

This next-generation eCommerce functionality is not free. Clearly, there are costs to develop, test, and deploy. These costs, we believe, are unavoidable for retailers who are serious about increasing their eCommerce revenues.

Equally important, but not always fully considered, are the costs of an eCommerce platform capable of delivering the full impact of this functionality to each and every site visitor. In our view, scrimping on the platform will have serious eCommerce revenue implications. Among the most notable to avoid is creating a platform that results in an uninspired shopper. For example, if the functionality does not perform to its potential – through slow responsiveness, jerky video, or voice quality inconsistency – the net result is that shoppers leave the eCommerce site and never return.

To avoid this scenario, companies today must have world-class Internet-connected data center and web servers. To attain world-class, multiple components must be in place. Lacking any one of these jeopardizes eCommerce potential.

o Redundant and highly scalable Web servers – Accommodates all instances of peak visitations and minimizes the risk of server downtime.

o Physical and cyber security – Protects the eCommerce platform and customers’ personal information (e.g., credit card numbers) from disruption and theft, respectively.

o Wideband and redundant access between the data center and the Internet – Access congestion directly correlates to slow response times and a poor shopping experience. Furthermore, as richer media is added to the site, higher bandwidth levels are essential.
o Data center utilities – Air conditioning, heating and electrical power are as essential as the web servers themselves. Failures in these systems are catastrophic to the health of any business.

o Around-the-clock administration – Without flawless operations and expert insight, none of the preceding points are meaningful. This flawless execution is the benchmark of nextgeneration eCommerce and anything less will degrade eCommerce potential and waste the investments in next-generation eCommerce functionality.

The good news is that the cost of these platform components does not have to be a barrier to nextgeneration eCommerce and the benefits it can deliver to the retailer: more revenue and improved customer loyalty. From our analysis, SMBs can reduce their IT costs associated with eCommerce by up to 75% by using a high quality Web Hoster versus a do-it-yourself approach of owning and operating these platform components.

eCommerce has proven to be an effective sales and customer relationship channel for many businesses. However, lack of innovation in site functionality and a world-class platform from which to deliver this functionality will return disappointing eCommerce results. For many businesses, the combined price tag for functionality and platform can be overwhelming. To meet the objective of increasing eCommerce

Conclusion

Web Hosting Delivers IT Cost Savings in eCommerce

How SMB’s Can Create a Distinctive Online Shopping Experience

This functionality also reduces the instances of shoppers leaving without a purchase.

How SMB’s Can Replicate the In-store Shopping Experience

The direction of next-generation eCommerce functionality fits into two categories:

Next-generation eCommerce Sites To Increase SMB revenue

The Days of Expensive Ecommerce Shopping Carts Are Now Over – Prices Over $1500 Are an Overcharge

I have been actively creating ecommerce shopping cart websites for myself and clients for over 15 years now; during this time, there has been a drastic change in both the platforms and technologies used to create ecommerce websites, but precious little change in the prices that some unscrupulous ecommerce companies are willing to charge their unsuspecting clients.

Here’s what got me thinking

Just the other day I came across a company ( who shall remain nameless ), who we’re specialist in Magento ecommerce websites – charging their customers upwards of $3000 in order to have a shopping cart website built for them. As someone who works with Magento on almost a daily basis, my first thought when I came across their prices was: ‘but why?’

Why $3000 to me just seem ridiculous

You see; Magento is an open source ecommerce platform that is given away for free by most companies that offer cPanel website hosting – so where exactly does the company I mentioned get their “$3000+” figure from?… is it purely a labour charge?

I really hope this article serves as both an educator and money saver for anyone who is looking to set up their own ecommere website.

How to set up your own ecommerce shopping cart website

Setting up your own ecommerce shopping cart website really is not hard once you have the know how. There are just a few important things you will need:

  1. A Domain name (www.YourWebsiteName.com).
  2. Website hosting ( This is where your website will “live” on the internet ).
  3. A payment processor
  4. SSL certificate
  5. A nice theme & design for your store

Step by step

1. Domain Name

In order to find and register your website domain name, I recommend you use a well established domain registrar such as Godaddy.com.

On the Godaddy.com website you will be able to search for the availability of any domain name, register domains, and change the nameservers of the domain in order for it to point to your web hosting.

2. Website Hosting

Who you choose for your websites hosting will play a very important part in whether your ecommerce website set up process is troublesome or stress-free.

I recommend that you choose a web hosting provider that provides the “cPanel ” environment with their hosting – as this allows for easy installation of several free ecommerce shopping cart platforms, including: Magento, Zen Cart, Os Commerce and even WordPress.

Once you are inside cPanel, you can then look for the ecommerce software of your choice and commence the installation process.

The ecommerce platform you choose will be dependent on your needs, requirements and level of ability.

3. Merchant account / payment processor

Gone are the days when you had to have a massive budget and a perfect credit rating in order to be able to accept and process payments via your website.

You can now simply sign up for an online payment processor such as PayPal, who will handle all the payment processing and fraud checking for you. They will usually take a small per transaction fee for their troubles.

4. SSL Certificate

Although not essential to do business, it is essential to make sure your customers will feel comfortable about submitting their personal information via your website – as everyone cares about their personal information.

Installing an SSL certificate from a reputable provider encrypts your customers sensitive personal information.

Offer your customers extra peace of mind by clearly displaying that your website encrypts their personal information via SSL.

5. A nice theme and design for your store

Although not essential, having a nice theme for your ecommerce website can really help to create a good first impression.

The majority of ecommerce platforms out there will have a universal theme that everyone who installs the shopping cart will receive. For customers landing on your website first impressions count; it can be the difference between a sale or not.

I recommend that you invest in a professional theme for your ecommerce website as it should pay dividends in the long run.

I really hope you have enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it – and that if you are in the market for an ecommerce website you’ll realise there is absolutely no need to pay ridiculous prices for an ecommerce website.