If I had to summarize e-commerce market in 2017 in just one word, it would be "an increase". What has been particularly noticeable is the entrepreneurs' intention to open more online stores. The important aspect was also the increase in the importance of the mobile channel in e-commerce.
Let’s see what trends will impact e-commerce in 2018.
A short summary of 2017
Last year, e-commerce in 5 main product categories exceeded retail sales by 10%. It is a clear signal and evidence that there is a growing awareness of online stores among customers. More and more online stores and franchises provide Click + Collect services. In Poland, this option is available at Rossmann or Black Red White stores. It proves that e-commerce is becoming an important element of the business.
Additionally, the foreign markets' expansion on Polish e-commerce increases. If Polish entrepreneurs want to stay relevant, they need to follow current worldwide trends - the focus on the individual approach to understand and satisfy customer's needs. There has been a perceptible improvement in store-customer communication last year. It is more likely to deepen in the future.
2018 – the year of the customer
Unfortunately, the process of finding out customers' intentions and expectations is a difficult task for many e-commerce managers. If you are one of them, it is time to make up for it. Upcoming times can be compared to the saying "The customer is always right". The process of determining customers' needs and understanding their intentions will help to adjust the right language, its dynamic, length as well the right tools.
Brands will try harder to attach customers emotionally to their offer. Products depicted as items that solve customers’ problems will help to get rid of any doubts about the purchase.
Available tools make possible to modify the offer by taking into consideration customer’s individual criteria. Personalized offers and individual promotions are likely to boost sales in terms of frequency and profits.
What becomes more significant in e-commerce world are subscription and loyalty programs’ sales models. One of the examples is the acquisition of Dollar Shave Club by Unilever for $1 billion. This situation shows that big companies have high hopes of not only the digital channel but the new sales model as well.
When it comes to the planning to monitor customers’ behavior and personalize the content, one needs to remember to create messages that are not too pushy. More and more customers are sensitive to such practices.
The future is mobile
According to the Gemius report, 54% of Internet users in Poland did online shopping in 2017. However, global data states that mobile devices accounted for over 50% of web page views worldwide. This situation will only evolve and that is why it is crucial to be prepared for upcoming trends.
The website that does not meet standards for RWD suffers losses in many aspects. The loss of the brand image or sales prospect is the one thing. However, the more long-lasting consequence is a lower position in search engine results. Google has already announced that RWD websites will have an advantage over those not mobile-friendly ones.
Video as a selling tool
16 out of 20 posts that achieved the highest reach on Facebook were videos! The video form dominates as well social networking sites such as Instagram or Snapchat. Facebook even puts an emphasis on promoting video content and is limiting the reach of YouTube videos. The video becomes one of the basic tools in building a considered marketing strategy. Its potential cannot be ignored.
Product descriptions are an unusual type of content because they are relatively often read, compared to other texts. However, video or interactive 360 spins could improve the way of presenting information online.
While continuing the discussion about the video, it is also worth mentioning its role in content marketing. Videos get more reach than any other types of content. That is why PR and advertising agencies offer complex video services. What’s more, original content involves bigger budgets - the days of copying product descriptions are gone!
Its scale, as well as, the expectation and demand for content is growing with every year. That is why a well-prepared strategy is required. Content marketing is an alternative to the traditional form of advertising that young generation can “resistant” to. Another advantage of content marketing is the possibility to generate engagement at a lower cost than traditional ad campaigns. In 2018, this form of communication with customers will increase dynamically.
More online stores!
It has been estimated that there are currently 15-20 thousand online stores in Poland; by 2020, the number might reach 30 thousand. The e-Commerce market itself is worth around PLN 40 billion. Interesting is also a fact that after launching its online store in 2017, a Polish clothing company LPP increased their sales by 93% in first few months. It proves that online shopping becomes more and more popular in Poland.
The e-Commerce market will definitely expand given the announced Sunday trading ban. The ban does not include places such as bakeries, restaurants and online stores. It can be expected that instead of going to shopping centers, people will indulge in some online shopping.
Shorter delivery time
When choosing an online store, customers evaluate not only its offer but also delivery options. Customers quite quickly verify information provided by sellers regarding product availability and delivery time.
If online stores want to maintain a competitive level, they need to keep pace with the more demanding customer. It is estimated that the Same Day Delivery option will become more available.
It is still unsure whether all listed predictions will be accurate, however 2018 should be a very good year for e-commerce.