eCommerce is still a wild west of innovation and trendsetting–that’s why working in the industry is so much fun. There’s always something new, always something fresh, always the need to review the basics and then figure out how to take things to the next level.
After studying countless articles and listening to dozens of industry experts, I have boiled down the 7 trends that if followed, could turn any eCommerce marketer into a star this year.
1. Online/Offline Integration – Consumers expect for their mobile experience to follow and mimic their online and brick-and-mortar experiences with brands. Ninety-one percent of customers are browsing a brands website while in-store, while seventy-five percent of those customers who receive a mobile coupon while in-store would change their buying behavior. Mobile marketers have to go beyond being simply mobile-friendly, and have to integrate their shopping experiences in-store and online.
2. Geo-Location Customer Awareness – In a subtle way, marketers need to develop a system using geo-location technology that identifies customers who have already visited a brand online when they are walking by a store. How great will it be to receive a coupon for an item in an abandoned cart online when you’re sitting in the food court of the mall doing holiday shopping. This type of marketing will increase conversions.
3. Channel Preference Optimization – Even though the number of customers who prefer to receive their primary communication from brands via mobile is less than email, there are still a significant percentage who would prefer to communicate through app push messages and text. Don’t worry about sending a survey to gauge their preference – simply send your campaigns via multi-channels and see which customers are opening and/or responding to each message by which channel. This tells us a consumers true preferences. Then we can send our welcome series, cart abandonment, browse abandonment, and post-purchase campaigns via the channel that will elicit the greatest impact.
4. B2I Marketing – The tide has shifted from mass mailing to marketing to individuals. B2I(business-to-individual) marketing is not the wave of the future–it’s the wave of right now. Does your website dynamically change to fit customer buying persona’s? Do the recommended products listed on your product pages, cart abandon, order confirmation, browse abandon, and lead nurturing campaigns reflect what the customer is interested in (i.e. not just “top selling” products)?
5. Micro-Moments – The Google search bar on the home screen of my phone, and the Amazon dash button for automatic point-of-use re-purchase for toilet paper are just the beginning of how micro-moment access to consumers will impact eCommerce sales. Be a click away from your customer at the moment they want to purchase your product. An example of how this could work is in photo printing. A partnership between a drug store and cell phone carriers could put a “print now” link on every picture in every phone, that automatically sends the picture to the nearest CVS or Walgreens. Why make your customers upload photos to a desktop, go to your website or app, select their photos, enter their payment and location information, and hit send when they could click one button and you can print money.
6. Mobile Deep Linking – Deep links allow web users clicking an external link to go to a specific page of a website instead of searching for content by always landing on the homepage. This type of navigation, which is native to the browser experience, is not commonplace in mobile app development. Since more and more traffic and sales are generated by the mobile experience, what can you do to get a consumer who sees Facebook ad to land on the specific product page in your app that allows them to review and purchase that item? Mobile deep linking. Your app ROI and mobile conversion just increased.
7. Video/Social Click to Purchase – A venture acquaintance mentioned that he just invested in a company that produces internet TV programming where almost 100% of the items in the shows are “placed” products. The company puts content first, but allows viewers to click on items they see on-screen for immediate purchase. See an outfit you like on your favorite movie star? Love the couch in the background of a riveting scene? One-click, and it’s at your house in 2-days.
2016 is going to be a good year for marketers, and an even better year for the experience of the consumers who purchase from us.
What other innovations to you expect to lead the way this year?
Jamar Cobb-Dennard helps eCommerce retail companies turn big data into relationships and experiences that engage customers in online environments. Get his FREE eCommerce Marketing Trends Report here.