How the Shifting E-Commerce Landscape Impacts You
Digital commerce is growing at a dramatic pace: 23 percent year-over-year, according to Demandware’s latest Shopping Index, which analyzes activity of over 200 million shoppers worldwide. With this growth comes a change in the nature of the shopper. Here are some of the key trends that demand retailers’ attention and evolution.
Mobile is the Force of Commerce Growth
As the Q1 Demandware Shopping Index makes undeniably clear, phones are the devices driving digital commerce growth. In fact, 76 percent of the overall growth in number of visits to digital commerce sites came directly from phones. Those visitors aren’t simply window-shopping, either. Traffic from phones account for 68 percent of the growth in basket creation. This is great news for retailers, as a basket demonstrates shopping intent and provides key data points around product preferences that help them personalize shopping experiences. To ensure they’re converting baskets into orders, retailers must use tactics such as abandoned shopping cart messages to help intermediate the devices and recognize more shoppers across devices.
Most importantly, phones account for 48 percent of the growth in number of orders. This is a dramatic rise from the prior quarter, when phones accounted for 37 percent of the growth in orders. With traffic share at 35 percent globally (up 38 percent year-over-year), phones remain on pace to overtake computers as the most trafficked shopping device by the end of this year.
The message for retailers is clear: your customers are on their phones, and they’re ready to buy. Are you ready for them?
Shopping is More Spontaneous and Interrupted Than Ever
What were once hollow moments are now filled with digital engagement. Whether waiting for a train, sitting at the doctor’s office or standing in line, the phone is entrenched in our palms and fills those moments. As such, we see a dramatic decrease in the duration of shopping visits: 43 percent on phones and 31 percent overall year-over-year. This new reality is pushing retailers to inspire and direct shoppers simultaneously before visit time runs out.
To serve this interrupted shopper, retailers should employ the following two tactics: First, marketing should shoulder some of the burden of getting a jump on the shopper journey by effectively personalizing vehicles like email messages, and ensure that landing pages accelerate the journey deep into the shopping and site experience. Second, retailers should use tools like guided selling to connect shoppers to relevant product.
Conversion Rate is an Antiquated Metric
Shoppers meander from device to device, and have adopted phones alongside computers and tablets. This cross-device shopping is up 15 percent year-over-year. Even more important, cross-device shopping drives an increase in visits. This would seemingly spell trouble for metrics like conversion rate that rely on visits, right? Wrong. Conversion rate is still the primary metric for most, but what was tried-and-true is now tired and inaccurate. Even though the very basis of the metric has evolved — visits are the denominator — most retailers still focus on conversion rate.
The truth is that visit-focused metrics like conversion rate are simply not in step with today’s retail reality. Instead, retailers should move away from visit-focused metrics and towards shopper-focused metrics. Those that do will have a much better view of their true performance, and will see there’s some really good news.
Faced with dramatic shifts in consumer shopping behavior, retailers must evolve across the board to stay relevant. From creating a great experience on mobile devices to making the entire shopping journey relevant and efficient, the business must be framed in a way that’s in step with today’s cross-device consumer. If they don’t, they risk alienating shoppers and ultimately falling behind.
Rick Kenney is industry principal for intelligence and innovation at Demandware, a cloud-based e-commerce platform provider.
Rick Kenney is Salesforce Commerce Cloud Head of Consumer Insights and a thought leader on data-driven digital commerce trends. He pioneered Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s benchmarking practice, which identifies growth opportunities for clients. He spent four years in the organization’s Retail Practice Group, serving as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Regional Director of Customer Success. Rick joined Salesforce Commerce Cloud from e-Dialog (now ebay Enterprise) where he developed two breakthrough contact strategy methodologies: the Activity Matrix and MOE: Moments of Engagement. Rick holds dual BS degrees from Boston College and an MBA from Babson College.