What’s coming up: Ecommerce Trends in 2017
Global retail ecommerce sales are pegged to cross $4 trillion in 2020. Before your jaw drops at this whopping figure, pause to consider this: we‘re hovering about the $1 trillion mark this year itself.
But ecommerce has been through a long journey before reaching the stage of exponential growth, and it keeps up this pace thanks to the innovation and dynamism shown by key players. Online retail businesses need to be on their toes to stay ahead of the game.
2017 will bring its share of changes in the industry—some brainwaves from ecommerce businesses and technology vendors, and some in anticipation of the needs of buyers. Embitel’s head of digital commerce Arun Kumar shares his insights on ecommerce trends to watch out for in 2017.
- With increasing use of smartphones to access digital commerce, whether in mature or nascent markets, omnichannel commerce is set to grow at a ‘never before’ rate. Options such as ‘buy online, pick up in store’ don’t just offer convenience—they offer an opportunity to use sales strategies such as personalization and cross-selling to acquire customers and build long-lasting relationships. In 2017, gadget and technology habits of buyers will coax retailers to utilize the omnichannel opportunity much more.
- Beacon technology—we’ll see retailers using this much more, and with good reason. Beacons can help retailers beat competition in a crowded market. They take targeted and personalized marketing a step ahead by tracking customer behavior and offering relevant prompts and alerts at the right time. With this kind of seamless shopping experience, they don’t just attract new customers, but also bring back old ones.
- We’ll see increasing use of biometrics in ecommerce to combat the security issues that arise from so much connectivity. Besides creating trust with customers, biometrics will also be used to understand customer demographics and generate analytics that can be applied online and in store.
- Customers are loathe to give up the benefits of brick and mortars, but they still want the convenience of ecommerce. To become the preferred choice of buyers, more and more retailers will invest in same-day delivery. So while it may not be as immediate as choosing, purchasing and walking out of the store with the item, it’s as close as it can get.
- Starbucks has kickstarted a trend that’s only set to grow—employing artificial intelligence through chatbots and virtual sales assistants.
- B2B ecommerce in particular will see a huge upswing—the convenience and efficiency that B2C offers is now expected of B2B too. In fact, it is estimated that the B2B market will grow to double the size of the B2C ecommerce market. As we see B2C ecommerce best practices applied to B2B ecommerce, buyers and sellers will experience the benefits, namely account-based targeting, greater personalization, self-service, predictive analysis, and so on. This will only contribute to further growth of B2B ecommerce, in India and outside too.
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