I would be lying if I said 2014 hasn’t seen dramatic changes in the world of e-commerce.
With advances in technology, and people’s changing lifestyles and their want for something new, it is consumers who have led the path to significant changes. As consumers, we have challenged brands, forced them to adapt their online presence to how we want to shop, and even made them change their sales strategy.
This year has seen a significant increase in the use of mobile and tablets to buy products online. With busy lifestyles, and the fact we’re always on the go, it is hardly surprising that mobile now accounts for the majority (50.3 per cent) of ecommerce traffic*.
Consumers want the power to buy something then and there, whether commuting to work on the bus, or while sitting in a café having coffee. Brands have had to up their game by creating mobile responsive sites that work across all devices.
Not only has the way we buy changed, but also how we want to be sold to. The traditional hardselling, fact-sharing approach no longer impresses consumers. We want to be sold an experience, be entertained and engaged. We want brands to let us be part of their world. Brands are therefore constantly battling for customers’ attention, so cutting through all the noise to tell their story and get consumers involved in it is vital.
The idea of buying into a lifestyle, something traditionally practiced by high-end brands, has become synonymous with high-street retailers and online stores.
Retailers are starting to createstories around their brand and products, utilising social platforms, blog pages, digital magazines and YouTube to expand their e-commerce space, with players like ASOS leading the way.
We have moved into a world where the consumer is king and is dictating what they want from brands. Personalisation has been a buzzword for a while now, but 2014 has seen it being implemented a lot more in the world of marketing and customer experience.
Personalisation can be used in many formats, but it is at its best when brands look at behavioural analytics data to discover how consumers interact with their website.
The consumer experience can then be adjusted to suit their individual needs, while supplying the information they require before they’ve even asked for it. This is all about increasing relevancy.
This approach allows brands to respond in a more intimate way with their customers, which is where the bar of expectation is now set and that ultimately leads to higher engagement and ROI.
2015 will see personalisation become a key part of a marketer’s strategy. With consumers’ continually changing needs and wants, brands will have to fight harder than ever to keep their attention and their customers, and we’ll see the offline and online world converge to a greater degree than it already has.
Retailers are embracing digital advances in-store, offering customers a blended shopping experience, through the use of beacons and experience stores.
The next 12 months will see some serious brand damage from retailers using beacon technology in the wrong way by stepping on customers’ toes and bombarding them with too much unsolicited information.
On the flip side there will also be big wins for brands using beacon technology correctly to be able to personalise in store and online allowing a much more joined up continuous experience from a consumer perspective.
It will be a massive step for the world of retail technology that will take time, and testing, to get the balance just right. With experience stores popping up around London, such as Nike’s interactive store in Shoreditch, or Burberry’s flagship on Regent Street,
I think 2015 will witness more trials from high-street retailers. Similarly to the use of beacon technology, it will be tough to get the experience store formula perfect, which could make or break brands in the process.
My last prediction for 2015 is that we will see steps towards the first retail drone delivery in the UK. DHL are already using drones to deliver medication, and Amazon has considered adding the technology to its delivery service. It won’t be long until we see a fleet of drones in the skies - changing the face of e-commerce.
Tom Head, director, Lab
Tel: 0207 183 6668