What’s in Store for E-Commerce in 2014?
Today's retail landscape is a far cry from what it was even a decade ago, back when brick-and-mortar stores were dominant. As the world becomes increasingly digital, the strength and prevalence of e-commerce continues to grow. Retailers of all types and sizes are putting their businesses on the web and investing in their online presence. The emergence of additional advanced technologies — and the challenges they bring — will continue to shape the e-commerce world and move it forward. Below are just a few of the trends that I expect will impact e-commerce this year.
The Year of Omnichannel
It's no secret that tablets and smartphones are becoming key shopping tools in today's digital age. This past holiday shopping season, Deloitte reported that 53 percent of the mobile users who researched products via their smartphones or tablets made a purchase. With consumers using multiple platforms in the same purchase cycle, an omnichannel strategy is an imperative for retailers who are looking to increase sales revenue and keep their customers’ loyalty.
Achieving success in today's e-commerce world expands well beyond building an engaging website. Effective online sites also support various mobile platforms and enable easy access from whatever mobile device the customer prefers (e.g., tablet or smartphone). Moreover, effective online retailers must work to tie together those different platforms to ensure that the customer experience is seamless, even if it involves interacting on multiple touchpoints.
As mobile continues to expand, having the ability to provide a synched, seamless customer experience will emerge as a key differentiator for retailers. A study from the Aberdeen Group found that retailers with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89 percent of their customers, compared to 33 percent for brands that place no emphasis on omnichannel whatsoever. Whether a mom-and-pop shop or a multibillion dollar retail giant, successful online retailers will need to focus on creating quality, unified experiences across all digital channels and touchpoints in the coming year, no matter if the consumer is shopping in New York or San Francisco, from a desktop or a mobile device.
Rory Dennis, Co-Founder & GM, North America, Amplience
Rory co-founded Amplience and is GM of Amplience in the United States, developing Amplience's presence in North America. Rory previously worked as Business Development Manager for O2 Telefonica's Interactive Media Team.