The holiday season, successful for many online retailers, is now in the rear-view mirror. With 2015 officially under way, what should online retailers be on the lookout for this year? Here are 10 specific 2015 eCommerce trends to be looking for…
1) Mobile payments – With the emergence of Apple Pay and additional payment methods, 2015 could be the year of mobile payments. This may increase the comfort level of consumers paying for products electronically both offline and online.
2) Increased phone sizes – The emergence and spread of large phones may help increase conversion rates on mobile devices (currently lower than tablet and desktop) as well as drive more site traffic. These larger screens may also lead to a decrease of retail-based apps deployed by brands and a shift towards more responsive design initiatives.
3) Cross-device marketing – Speaking of responsive design, 2015 will likely be a year that online retailers look to offer similar branded experiences regardless of device (mobile, tablet) or medium (video, banner ad, etc.). An increase in consumer exposure to unified and consistent marketing campaigns can boost sales both offline and online.
4) Targeted advertisements – 2015 may be the year of highly customizable ads, including a focus of re-targeting efforts to attract new customers instead of seeking out abandoned cart opportunities. New and complex algorithms will likely be used by some online retailers to specially target niche online audiences through automation.
5) Paid social – As a prime example of targeted advertising, new and existing opportunities in the paid advertisement realm of social media will likely continue to flourish. One emerging opportunity is the long anticipated debut of “Promoted Pins” on Pinterest that are available to all online marketers in 2015.
6) Scaled-back eCommerce experiences – As ads drive consumers to retail sites, some online retailers are taking a minimalistic approach to their sites to reduce load times and overall data calls being made to and from their site servers. The new, cleaner look can also decrease bounce rates and increase conversion rates, especially for first time visitors.
7) Storytelling and content marketing – Once on a retail site, consumers are more frequently looking to seek out more than just product information and want to know more about brands before they purchase. Knowledge such as how products are made and setting a tone of voice across branded content can turn casual shoppers into repeat customers.
8) Customer segmentation – As a way to optimize the on-site and marketing experience, especially for repeat customers, some online retail brands are likely to use customer segmentation tools in 2015. These tools allow brands to identify their best customers and reward them or specifically target potential customers who are active site visitors but have not made a purchase yet.
9) Dimensional shipping prices – 2015 introduces new box dimension pricing by major carriers UPS and FedEx which will charge more for larger boxes regardless of box weight. This will likely change how retailers view shipping (from costs and processes) and the customer experience when packages arrive.
10) VAT expansion in Europe – For international online retailers, new laws in Europe are requiring VAT (value-added tax) to be applied to many new online purchases even if the retailer is located outside of Europe. This change may complicate taxation for some online retailers.
In conclusion, there is an array of potential 2015 eCommerce trends to keep an eye on. In such an innovative industry, it’s no surprise changes to design, advertising, and fulfillment will impact the industry as a whole this year. It will be interesting to see what trends evolve as we move forward in 2015!