E-Commerce Trends to Watch in 2015
In this Q&A with Dan Leberman, vice president and general manager of PayPal's North American Online Small and Medium Business Unit, we discuss the digital marketing trends that figure to impact retailers the most in 2015, from social commerce to international expansion to marketing automation and more.
Retail Online Integration: How do you see social commerce evolving in 2015?
Dan Leberman: Social commerce sales in the U.S. are expected to reach $14 billion by 2015, and has evolved significantly from what it was just a few years ago. Social commerce used to mean that retailers were encouraging their customers to simply buy via their social media brand pages, which never took off. Today, we're seeing a rise in social commerce, but in ways that browsing, buying and sharing are happening more naturally. For example, sharing and buying on apps like Houzz and Pinterest. We'll continue to see this type of growth in social commerce in 2015.
ROI: What steps can online retailers take to increase international sales in 2015?
DL: First, retailers need to invest time in understanding which products are in demand in particular markets, shaped in part by cultural traditions, holidays and events. Retailers of any size can sell internationally in cost-effective ways via e-commerce, but they need to do their homework before going global. Retailers also need to determine the differing regulatory requirements for customs, duties and taxes that can make both shipping and accounting a challenge when selling internationally.
ROI: How can retailers use marketing automation (e.g., abandoned cart messages) to increase sales?
DL: Many retailers send targeted emails to consumers who have abandoned carts, some incentivizing them with bundled offerings to complete a larger transaction. One of the most promising new strategies for retailers is to develop a truly comprehensive omnichannel strategy, one that enables consumers to pick back up in one channel a cart that they may have abandoned in another channel (e.g., mobile to desktop) without having to start over or input their purchase information again.
In addition, giving consumers the ability to store their payment information and shipping and billing addresses is a proven way to improve conversions — the less data entry required, the more likely it is that a customer will check out rather than abandon their cart. Solutions that enable customers to purchase in an app with a single touch on their mobile devices remove obstacles from the checkout process and help to increase conversions for retailers.