Monday, March 17, 2014

5 Ecommerce Trends that can Make or Break your Business

As the evolution of search engine optimization and social media continues, so too does the ecommerce landscape. While small tweaks and minor changes occur all the time, the ecommerce trends that are in place now are in their early stages and will continue to grow in importance for websites seeking to generate revenues from web-based initiatives. These trends include:

  • Going mobile – While this song by “The Who” dates back to 1971, forty years later mobile internet access is in the process of outpacing PC access. For ecommerce sites, implementing responsive web design architecture that can modify the presentation of information to the size of the screen is now mandatory because, at last count, the total number of differently-sized viewports on mobile devices exceeds 230. This new architecture formats web pages to deliver an optimal interface regardless of screen size.
  • Local businesses that are not limited to serving local customers – Shipping is getting faster and cheaper, which levels the field in terms of gratifying online consumers. Ecommerce sites that can provide solutions and deliver them quickly can now compete anywhere, regardless of geographic location.
  • Prioritizing content that matters – Search engines and social media sites have come a long way in developing algorithms that can define both quality content and spammy publications. While the methodologies of surfacing quality content differ between these platforms, the end result is the same; higher visibility to a broader section of the target market.
  • Guided search/discovery – This process defines items that have a history of being purchased along with products that are put in an ecommerce site’s shopping cart. As opposed to a shotgun approach, the number of recommendations is generally limited to three specific choices that are closely linked to the product being purchased. If you’ve seen Amazon’s “Frequently Bought Together” suggestions, you get the idea.
  • Non-commoditized products – On the consumer side, the commoditization of products enables shopping for the best deal possible. This can be a difficult proposal for ecommerce sites that constantly have to meet the lowest price on the same products. By offering unique and customized merchandize, ecommerce sites can differentiate their offerings from those of the competition and maintain higher profit margins.

Darwinism is alive and well on the web. In this environment, ecommerce sites must continue to adapt to the changing consumer environment on the internet or face a future with bleak prospects.