It’s no longer a question of whether a retailer needs to be in the online business today. Companies that are not active in eCommerce today have a huge disadvantage over the competition. In fact, in today’s digital age, it is unthinkable for most businesses and distribution businesses not to be active in e-commerce.
However, an online store is only one side of the coin. In order to be successful and to optimize the sales figures, it is also important to keep up with the current trend. The trends from the e-commerce industry for the year 2018 can be found in the following text.
1. Optimized mobile website
It has been proven that a large percentage of people now have a smartphone or tablet and also use these devices for surfing the Internet and shopping online. Just recently, the internet giant Google switched its search scheme to Mobile-First for this reason. In addition, the search engine heavily penalizes web pages that offer no optimized version for mobile devices.
This trend will continue in 2018. If you do not want to lose this large target group, which now accounts for about 65% and you want to optimize your shop for SEO, then you can’t avoid responsive design and optimization for mobile devices. In addition, it is foreseeable that this trend will intensify even further in the future. So they go with the time. This is another reason why many large companies have already invested heavily in the responsive design of their websites.
2. Optimized online search function
A common problem for many online stores is that the customer does not find what he is looking for. The reason is a complicated and inaccurate search. This leads to many customers leaving the shop. The trend in 2018 is clearly towards optimized search. Filter options and advanced search functions, such as searching for names, article numbers or parts of the product description should not be missing.
Only if the customer will find your product quickly and without much effort, that product could be bought by the customer. This is especially true for B2B customers, who generally do not feel like shopping, but want to find a targeted product quickly and easily.
3. Easy online-offline integration
Even purchases via the Internet usually have to be recorded offline. There is an accounting department, a sales team, as well as a team for the purchase of goods, etc. In short: even in an e-commerce business, many things often happen offline even for smaller companies. The professional and effective integration is particularly important. Purchases from e-commerce must be recorded and registered offline.
The purchasing department needs to know when to order new goods, etc. It is important that the entire team works together and gets involved in the process. Incidentally, it has proved particularly useful to hire the sales staff – who usually have less work due to the increasing online sales – and to give them the key roles in integration. In this way, you can continue to assign these employees meaningful tasks.
4. Global market with local support
The advantage of e-commerce is that your business is not limited to one region or one country. You can do business worldwide. Above all, the Asian market has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. Many operators of e-commerce sites have therefore left to translate their shops and websites into multiple languages.
The frequently used solution of English is often out of date. While overseas clients may speak English, they can achieve significantly higher satisfaction – and more sales – when the website is in the local language. The customer gets the feeling to shop in his own country.
The trend is therefore increasingly towards e-commerce shops, which are not only available in a specific language and English, but at least also in Spanish, French and Chinese. However, you are not finished with these languages. Today’s e-commerce software as well as content management systems offer extensive multi-language support that is easy to integrate. The only real effort here is the creation or translation of content in the different languages. An investment that pays off after a short time.
5. Inventory and prices in real-time
For a customer, there is nothing frustrating about having to click through all the phases of an order, completing them with the payment, only to get a call, that the product is no longer available or that the price has changed in the meantime. This experience not only leads to a dissatisfied customer, but in most cases also to the cancellation of the order and bad PR. Because: this customer will probably – even if he does not cancel the order – never buy from you again.
The solution to this problem is price and inventory updates in real time. The customer must already know when ordering if a product is sold out or can only be delivered in a few days. In addition, the customer must be informed of the correct prices during the order – even before he comes to the checkout. If the customer places a product into the shopping cart that costs 10 euros, only to notice at the checkout that it costs 12 euros, this causes annoyance and damages confidence.
6. Video marketing
The users browsing the internet are often lazy. They do not like long newsletters and product descriptions. New technology, such as HTML5 etc. have helped here. Today it is easily possible to publish videos on a modern website or in an online shop. Not only do you have the ability to personally reach your customer, but you can also better present the benefits of a product or its use. Videos are already standard on many websites today, and there’s no reason to be in the e-commerce space without them.
7. Subscription business models
In the B2B sector, subscriptions have long been available as a business model. There are usually few reasons why you shouldn’t switch to such a model with your e-commerce website. Subscriptions guarantee you a secured, regular income and make many things easier for the customer, because he can save the complex payment process after each order.
8. Optimized backend
The above points have mainly dealt with the frontend and the customers as well as the internal processes. Of course, at least as important is the backend. Again, this should be optimally adapted for easy work. A clear structure, detailed graphics and reports as well as the allocation of user rights are just some of the things that matter here.
In addition, it is worthwhile to integrate necessary software such as CRM systems or accounting programs directly into the backend of the shop. Many e-commerce platforms already offer the corresponding options.