e-retailers! This is where you need to focus on in 2014.

eCommerce 2014

With the dawn of new year and with great success of eCommerce in 2013, many marketers will be turning to the online channels to push their revenues this year. In past few months global online sales have increased significantly, along with entry of new players in the e-commerce market, expansions, innovation and investment moving into the sector throughout the year. This will continue in the coming months and 2014 will have more consolidation in the e-commerce market.

This success will not be limited to just deploying an online store and waiting for the customers to seek you. Brands will now be available on multiple channels, different tactics for their promotion will be employed by the marketers and accordingly the brand visits will be better analysed to understand the customers’ approach. Web Analytics has evolved, business owners will be now measuring their site traffic from multiple devices, sites and analysing user behaviour much more closely to offer a more targeted and personalised experience. We have tried to capture some key trends and predict the direction where the business of eCommerce is headed to:

Personalisation… eCommerce will mirror (and predict) your online behaviour:

As more and more user behaviour is tracked by web analytics tools and user get more choices. The more said about this the less.. Personalisation is going to be the key differentiator where the Men will be separated from the Boys in eCommerce, With the deluge of Data Streams coming from eCommerce, Big Data is going to become the intelligent system to derive predictions and increase personalised experience for customers. It will also improve in leaps and bounds the efficiency of existing retailers. We have written a couple of pieces (here and here) on this earlier. So current eCommerce retailers: Learn Hadoop! or get some data scientists or get some intelligent tools to derive sense out of the activity of your users online. Surprise them, entice them and make them come back to you Again! and Again! :)

More Corporates and big brands will expand in eCommerce:

The huge success of eCommerce and the growth potential is being eyed by the large retailers who have been sitting on fences for a long time now. Many of them now rightly realise that if not now. They will have missed the boat to establish an online presence and can potentially risk losing a significant pie of their revenue in a couple of years time… this trend is more prominent in the emerging markets like India and South Asia where the success of eCommerce as a model is proven (check out my recent post on this).

Content Marketing and Thought Leadership

Big retailers like Amazon will continue to lead market share. Other online businesses will be expanding their online presence, both based on price, customer service and marketing point of view. We now see that Google is continuously updating its algorithm, so to perform better in the global market in the coming years, small retailers will now start avoiding using keyword or focusing on keyword density in case of audience targeted blogs and videos, and will be more focussed on their content. E-commerce companies will now create good quality contentt o create thought leadership in the market, customers are getting ore involved in shopping and need more information than just price and color to make a buying decision. They will also focus on building good relations with their customers by creating exclusive contents including blogs, images and videos etc.

Social Media Marketing In 2014

Social media networks will be increasingly used as the initial contact point. Since now consumers mainly rely on social media networks for getting facts on the products and services, and information about loyalty, brands will now be more active on social platforms, and marketers will be constantly measuring the ROI. eCommerce companies like Myntra has increased its revenue in 2013 mainly due to social marketing (over 500K to 600K page visits per day), which works well for young brands. Social Media Marketing helps to increase organic traffic of your website. Shoppers will now have better services and features. In coming year online stores will provide more personalized services.

Impact of Smartphones

In the era of Smartphones, more number of customers’ queries and reviews are coming from their Smartphones. They are also using their mobiles to research brands. Due to this more eCommerce sites will now be accessible through mobile using responsive web design techniques. Shoppers will now also experience 24X7 chat services from the marketers, to provide guidance while they shop. eCommerce sites Taobao and Tmall of of China and Snapdeal of India respectively have seen massive mobile revenue increases this year. Brazil’s Netshoes have also benefited with the same. Small and Medium Businesses will now have mobile-optimized version of their site, with checkouts, that will facilitate the shoppers to have a better mobile experience. Now a days, shoppers not only log in on to big stores sites, but they also go through the social space, brand reviews and brand comparison. They are also in a search of getting the best deal, which includes coupons and discounts. Retailers will now have to put their extra efforts to expand their presence, integrating with shopping feeds and to keep their name always before the shoppers.

More Focus on Back end and Fulfilment Channels:

With the onslaught of customers on eCommerce, some new online retailers were taken by surprise by the amount of backend systems that an eCommerce business needs (and how little they had in place) to really make it run smoothly and successfully enough to make them money.With folks like Amazon, Target and some others with deep pockets setting the tone in efficiency driven eCommerce business management, retailers have now realised that an efficiently running back end systems like inventory management, Supply chain, Finance/Accounts, CRM, ERP and likes are quintessential in scaling up and building the online business. This is going to be one key component in your plans (all the eCommerce business owners reading this, please take note.. you gotta build the backend! Boring but extremely important)

Better Shopping Experience in 2014

Since the crowd is increasing day by day, e-commerce marketers will be now trying to offer immediate, same day or next day product delivery services (Amazon is already leading the pack here). Brands will now be offering international shipping to reach their customers in global markets. Retailers will be keeping constant check on local holidays for aligning promotions and to ensure that they get abreast with the holiday shopping fun of the consumers.

So let's sit tight and enjoy the ride! eCommerce is going to take you into an improved world of online experience. We are moving into interesting times in 2014! Cheers ☺