The ecommerce industry is always experiencing a consistent, iterative set of changes as consumer shopping patterns change and organizations look for new ways to engage customers. However, the rapid rise of digital technologies in recent years has come to a head and begun to completely disrupt the ecommerce sector. New platforms are emerging as merchants must develop better strategies to reach customers online, and recent research points to a need for rapid, systemic innovation.
According to a recent American Marketing Association report, Mary Meeker’s presentation at the recent Code Conference highlighted just how much consumer behaviors are changing online. Meeker, a partner at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, is among the most respected experts analyzing internet trends, and her message highlighted the rapid change happening in the sector.
“Organizations are becoming aware that content is serving as an extension of the storefront.”
Looking at the shifting online climate
It is time to stop dividing the various ways organizations reach customers and recognize that just about every messaging system is an opportunity to drive conversions. According to the report, Meeker pointed out that advertisements are emerging as storefronts, with mobile ad spending exceeding desktop ad budgets in 2016, a first. Meeker said that 28 percent of media time is not spent on mobile devices, creating huge opportunities for ads targeting mobile users.
On top of all this change, organizations are becoming aware that content is serving as an extension of the storefront as social media and other content venues provide a direct connection to shopping opportunities. Meeker likened Facebook feeds to storefronts. She also mentioned that email can be used to showcase curated collections of products, turning a customer’s email inbox into the equivalent of a farmer’s market, the report explained.
Essentially, every avenue that a business has to reach a customer is also a potential shopping destination. Social commerce, digital marketing and increased mobile device use are coming together to transform how brands interact with customers, creating new conversion opportunities.
What to consider once shoppers do convert
As digital and physical channels converge, interest in sharing exciting experiences is rising. For example, Meeker pointed out that more than 33 million people subscribe to the top five YouTube channels that focus on product unboxing. Unsurprisingly, package and parcel industry growth increased by 9 percent in 2016. The goal is to blend experiences across physical and digital channels to create personal, sharable experiences, according to the report.
Brands must create a cohesive customer experience regardless of how or where users shop.
“Creating a cohesive customer experience isn’t just about good visual design.”
Finding success in the changing ecommerce climate
The ecommerce growth trends taking hold of the sector all point to omnichannel shoppers gaining a dominant role in the market. In response, companies must develop their brand identity across web, mobile, in-store and traditional advertising markets. A CoreMedia report pointed out that the customer experience is emerging as the key differentiator between businesses. As organizations work to gain a competitive edge, they must establish a clear vision on the full commerce experience and establish an end-to-end brand identity.
Creating a cohesive customer experience isn’t just about good visual design across various channels. Instead, companies must evaluate the entire customer journey and ensure there aren’t any experience gaps along the way. For example, if a customer has a product wishlist on your website and makes a purchase in one of your stores, your site should be able to update the wishlist automatically. If customers are shopping online and find an item is out of stock via the web store, they should have the option to see if any local branches have the product available – that is, of course, if you do have a physical retail presence.
These types of backend data integration details combine with robust design and branding to create a cohesive commerce experience. The changing ecommerce climate makes reaching customers across multiple channels critical. At Pixafy, we feature in-house expertise and a network of industry partnerships to help clients achieve their vision for an omnichannel experience. With services available for site design, hosting, ERP integration and similar capabilities, we offer an edge that can help retailers get ahead in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Contact us to learn more about our services.