E-Commerce is Global– Changing Face of Online Business, Reinventing the Customer Experience: Trends, Predictions; 2015…

E-commerce is becoming the life line for many businesses, and it’s changing how businesses develop their global expansion strategies… Although e-commerce is not an efficacious remedy for all businesses however, if you intend to be relevant in the business globally you must at least consider e-commerce as an element in your business strategy…

The fast-growing world of e-commerce offers a new cost-effective portal, or bridge if you will, for consumers to learn more about a business and to purchase products and services with ease from anywhere in the world. The goal for business to extend their brand, increase impulse sales opportunities and to grow…

There is no doubt that consumers use online media when researching products,  services… Recent study by RetailNet Group– reports that 97% of consumers use online media before making a trip to the store, and they call this the ‘trip capture’ and says that ‘online-to-offline integration is the next wave of e-commerce innovation’… and that mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets are enablers that are shifting shopping habits…

Also, other industry statistics show that consumers rely more and more on the smart phones to perform traditional shopping tasks, for example: 67% use smart phones to find store locations; 59% use them to compare prices; 51% get product information; 46% check product availability; 45% read reviews; 41% find coupons; 35% access social media…

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Although e-commerce has been around for almost 20 years, in many ways it’s still very much in its infancy. In most countries, e-commerce still represents less than 10% of all retail sales. Yet today, there is a very clear shift from e-commerce as a standalone entity, to more of a business model that is becoming integral in business operations; one that is increasingly global, and supports a more targeted, intimate conversation with customers...

E-commerce channels continues to becoming an important driver for growth, and some key business strategies for an effective e-commerce implementation includes: Enhancing payment capabilities is essential for a strong e-commerce solution– offering a wide selection of payment types, having iron-clad security and global payment options, accessing detailed transaction reporting… Preventing fraud, protecting transactions in order to minimize losses, and bolstering consumer confidence to increase sales and profits…

Using targeted marketing strategies, such as; mobile vouchers and other mobile marketing solutions, to capitalize on social and mobile revolution to attract and retain new customers… Also, it’s important to prepare for future by identifying emerging technology that are shaping the next decade of e-commerce… In implementing these strategies, it set the stage for e-commerce to make transition from ‘sideshow’ to a profitable component that is integral to the success of the business…

In an eMarketer Report: Internet usage continues to mature across the world, and e-commerce growth seems to be settling at around 10% for the next few years… However, with all retail sales reaching $2.356 trillion in 2018, a 10% growth rate still represents more than $200 billion new dollars… On a regional basis, North America, which includes only the U.S. and Canada is the leading region in e-commerce sales share in 2014, accounting for around one-third of the dollars spent on digital purchases worldwide…

However, eMarketer expects Asia-Pacific to overtake North America and become leading region for e-commerce in 2015, representing 33.4% of the total, compared with 31.7% in North America and 24.6% Western Europe. These three regions combined will continue to take around 90% of the global e-commerce market, throughout the forecast period… The increase of e-commerce sales in Asia-Pacific is tied to a growing base of digital buyers, and as more new buyers come online, naturally sales will rise…

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China alone has more than half of all this region’s e-commerce sales this year, and by 2018 its share will top 70%. Australia and Japan will rival markets like; U.S., UK and Western Europe in buyer penetration and average order values. On the other hand, in less mature markets like; India, Indonesia… even though there are large absolute numbers of digital buyers, they tend to be more cautious and typically buy less costly items…

E-commerce and digital marketing teams increasingly understand that they must drive sales in a channel-agnostic way… Research by Forrester Research shows that the number of online shoppers in the 17 EU nations will grow from 275 million to 303 million by the end of 2015… On global scale, e-commerce sales are growing more than 19% a year…

In the article E-Commerce Trends for 2015 by Gwriter writes: Believe it or not, the small screen of a smart phone is not stopping shoppers from buying products– mobile shoppers are on the rise. Many online stores are already making a shift towards mobile optimized shopping! Also ‘wearable’ are positioned for substantial growth, for example; the Google Glass, no matter how silly some people think it looks, is ready to take off! And, so will the Apple ‘iWatch’ when it comes out later this year!

So if you thought holding a smart phone was ever a pain, now your problems are solved; you’ll be able to purchase items with a blink of an eye! Can you imagine signals being sent to your ‘iWatch’ with an ‘alert’, such as; beep, beep… there’s a sale going on at ‘Gap’ right around the corner from where you are, here’s a coupon! Wow! Two other trends that continue to rise are; the ability to customize Internet searches and fast shipping…

I mean, real, real, real fast shipping! First, search customization! It’s a big deal for many people and businesses to go directly to the item they want, without many intermediate stops– fast and easy… Second, fast shipping! Did you know some companies are already offer same day shipping? If you order early enough in the day, it could arrive at your doorstep just hours later…

According to Phil Levy; online payment is a critical component of e-commerce, it can enhance a merchant’s online services, open new markets, increase profits… Payment options are a key factor in where a consumer decides to shop online. Some of the key payment issues are: How do online shoppers want to pay at checkout? What are the shopper payment preferences? Answers to these questions can offer new opportunities for expanded services that– improves the shopper’s experience, prompt more frequent visits, and increase average order value, boost sales.

By offering more payment options, online business can expect to see fewer cart abandonment and more sales… Online payments, other than debit, credit cards, are expected to grow to 30% of purchase volume; e-commerce merchants must consider enhancing their payment options to take advantage of this consumer trend…

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In the article E-Commerce Trends by Annie Jie Xu: The e-commerce landscape is changing by the minute and businesses must be sure that you have the tools and strategies to adapt to these changes… The unifying factor of the e-commerce trends is that they benefit both, consumer and business alike: Better e-commerce means a memorable shopping experience with more options, better services, and lower prices. And, it’s a win for businesses, too; it means happier customers, smoother online functions, more growth opportunities…  Here are a few e-commerce trends that you should consider:

  • Mobile, mobile and more mobile: According to the ‘Custora High-Growth E-Commerce Index’, ‘Black Friday’ has become ‘Mobile Friday’ with almost 40% of all online shopping done on mobile devices. This trend will continue as consumers are empowered to use their phones and tablets to shop anytime, anywhere…
  • Free and faster shipping: There will be more innovations in delivery end of the purchase experience. It’s now a must to offer free or faster shipping options…
  • Business without borders: Businesses are waking to the fact that they need to look beyond their borders… A.T. Kearney recently concluded that successful retailers in search of sales growth are increasingly going global by expanding their online shopping operations in foreign countries…
  • Content marketing is essential: Content marketing is one of the main ways that companies establish authority and gain trust with their online shoppers.  A recent study shows 82% of marketers plan are increasing their budgets for content marketing…
  • Growth of guided discovery: With today’s shoppers going online and crunching for time, they need fewer choices but the right choices. To make shoppers’ lives easier, more online businesses will start engineering right mix of ‘guided discovery’ to provide targeted and welcome suggestions that help consumers make purchases…
  • Consumer-driven demand and personalization: Consumers want unique, original products and businesses need to be able to deliver that in increasingly creative, profitable ways. There will be more businesses that empower customers with ability to personalize, modify, or even design the products that they want to purchase. More businesses will start to implement 3D printing technology to enable and speed up this customization…
  • It’s still about the brand: In the midst of the mega e-commerce coming, businesses will go back to the basics: Building a strong brand– No e-commerce trend will survive without a solid brand foundation…

Business must craft and implement an effective e-commerce strategy to succeed, but first they must have a basic understanding of why and how e-commerce will improve their business… Business must ask the question: Why do they need e-commerce? For example: Is it to sell product? or, To build awareness? or,  Establish a brand? Also, before business can develop an effective strategy they must have a solid understanding of the target audience’s buying patterns…

In creating their strategy, business must develop a balance between attracting customers with features of the website (window dressing), and helping customers to easily– enter and navigate the aisles of this ‘virtual shopping world’– an effective e-commerce strategy must be designed with– clear intent, focus, simplicity…

According to Sassoon Grigorian; there are four key trends that are emerging for e-commerce: Logistics and shipping– Logistic, shipping suppliers will offer more innovative solutions… Personalized shopping– Artificial intelligence will expand to anticipate consumer shopping habits… Rise of the multinational– Internet-enabled e-commerce has torn down global trade barriers, for example; an astounding 97% of commercial sellers on eBay export globally… e-Payment options– Payment solutions will provide saving and convenience in making e-commerce purchases…

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According to Ramneek Bhasin; in a study comparing shopping searches across major search engines and comparison shopping sites– where they compared results over 50 searches in 6 shopping categories– found that Google’s price is 12% higher on average, compared to the lowest available online, with Bing at 25% and Yahoo at 31% premium… However,  lowest price isn’t the only thing: Consumers want– local, coupons, reviews, and more…

Comparison shopping engines that are focused on just price aspect of comparison do not always deliver the best results– consumers want much more… Purchase decisions are being driven by other elements like; local stores, ratings,  reviews, coupons, return policies, shipping costs, and payment options…

According to Alastair Kane; the path to a cohesive, seamless e-commerce strategy is no small feat, for example consider: integrating communications– capabilities, reliability, competency… from the initial e-commerce transaction through fulfillment… then, to communicate the progress of each purchase to the customers, in real-time… the e-commerce process must be– fast, seamless, well-communicated from dispatch to delivery– the entire process must be– reliable, credible, capable… Your e-commerce business strategy and implementation must fulfill all customer expectations…