Are these the five ecommerce trends of the future?

18th Jun 2013

Disruptive forces such as mobile and Big Data will play a major role in the future of ecommerce, according to new predictions.

Econsultancy’s report Building an Ecommerce Team: Best Practice Guide uncovered five key trends likely to impact the industry going forward as internationalisation, mobile and multichannel are set to dramatically influence ecommerce growth.

1. Data is the beating heart of ecommerce

The first major theme to come out of the report is data – whilst every ecommerce manager doesn’t necessarily need to be a specialist data analyst, it’s imperative that they know enough to pull the right data and make commercial decisions. According to the report, company size will determine what data engines you need to invest in, with smaller firms more likely to use Google Analytics as their primary source.

Jay Swanborough, an ecommerce consultant interviewed for the report, said: “Start simple and do small-ish focused trials to see what happens when you lift a lever here a bit and then pull a trigger there a bit etc. It’s always about trialling and the beauty of ecommerce is the results are fast and measurable.

“I find now that you can really start to prove actions and decisions in the ecommerce microcosm and sell those decisions and results in to the rest of the business to impact the offline / bricks and mortar world or supply chain decisions. That’s when you know you’ve finally cut through the traditional model, when the business actually sits up and says look what was achieved in this ecommerce test, we’re going to try the same thing across 300 stores now."

2. The role of the traditional marketer is changing

The growing importance of data management will see more ecommerce leaders owning traditional marketing budgets rather than traditional marketers taking control of ecommerce. The report also indicated that the future may see marketers become more data-driven, a prediction shared by Constellation analyst Ray Wang who recently explained that the proliferation of Big Data has given rise to a new kind of marketer who uses a set of data-heavy metrics such as return on promotional investment, managing omnichannel diversity and driving conversion rates and optimising efforts

3. Always-on shopping experiences

The proliferation of smartphones and always-connected consumers means businesses must deliver service 24x7 so customers can access what they need, when they need it, across devices. But companies must carefully consider the cost of service they provide.

In most cases it makes little sense to have a 24-hour service flowing across time zones and offices within your organisation. You’d have to have a very complex order management system in several languages with proficient customer service agents in many languages, said the report.

4. Flexible customer service

Customer service must become more agile if business are to cater for international customers, said the report – if you offer your site in a foreign language, then you should be offering customer service in that language as well.

5. User-centred and responsive design

Everyone’s talking about responsive design. Once a retailer has built a standard mobile offering, the next logical step is to adopt responsive design techniques.

This is the stripped-back version of a persona and their goals. It’s the airport duty-free store for the customer who knows what they want: get in and out and on their way, said the report.

Following its findings, Econsultancy outlined several steps ecommerce managers must take to stay on top of new and emerging technologies, including get a good sounding board as near the top as possible and translate digital knowledge into usable information.

Do you think this is an accurate forecast of how ecommerce is likely to evolve in the future?

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