Tis the season for many 2016 eCommerce predictions. Here’s my take on my favs (that I lovingly curated and uncovered from smarter folks than me.) Both as a consumer and marketer, its what you might expect to make a top five list, however totally exciting stuff, just the same.
1. Rejoice with choice.
Every time I find a cool product online, I almost always check out Amazon or eBay to see if I can find it there too. So its no surprise that people are instead, now starting with their favorite Etsy-like option – they get choices, data inspired unique collections, and they only need to make one purchase at the end. More and more brands will start joining these market place style of commerce in order to find their customers.
2. Layered technology going mainstream.
We’ve been talking about beacons for almost as long as we’ve been saying that next year will (no, seriously this time its really true) be “the year of mobile.” I think retailers are finally ready to start using both technologies together to bridge the gap between physical and digital commerce. Our devices will search for a beacon, that will serve us the right offer as we walk into the corresponding physical retail space. Yes, I think the average joe, at the average retailer, will actually experience this, and live to talk about it.
3. Designer’s patience finally paying off.
The conversation of using videos in marketing has been going on for sometime. We love it for entertainment, but can it convert the sale? Besides platform compatibility concerns, marketers have been afraid of overcomplicating the purchasing path. I think the consumer’s expectation of a richer experience will finally be rewarded appropriately. Designers can now focus on bringing robust hero imagery again, in effort to actually simplify the content, deliver a quicker experience, and avoid unnecessary clicks. (Word of caution to designers however; remember that your biggest “digitally native” users will be watching it on their mobile device. So keep it relevant, honest and not audio dependent!)
4. Big data. Small data. All together now.
This is not new. However, I think consumers will start to feel the powers of turning small data into big data – such as using cookies to feed bigger data management platforms. Marketers are doing a better job at automating the insights to go along with the intelligence in order to get closer to (near) real time analytics, and ultimately, build a more meaningful relationship with their customers.
5. Engagement is no longer the only metric for social media.
The conversation is moving from “shares,” to a more transparent “buy now” landscape. We’ve started seeing Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter already get in the game of allowing brands to sell directly on their channels. We will only see more marketers integrate technology and social media effectively, in order to answer the demand of the savvy consumer.
The reason these specific trends made my top five, as they all have one thing in common: Technology is only as good as the outcome for human progress. This is the exact difference between something being “possible,” vs. “meaningful to me.” Developments in eCommerce in 2016, just as the years that came before, will continue to be driven by the consumer’s “whats in it for me” appetite.