Where is eCommerce trending for 2014?
By: Tristan Anwyn
eCommerce is becoming a vital part of many businesses. Consumers appreciate the ability to browse and buy what they want on the go and out of hours, fitting shopping in with their busy lives.
The internet marketing experts at Emarketer estimate that by the end of 2013, eCommerce sales in the U.S. will generate $262.3 worth of sales, an impressive 16.4% higher than last year. 2014 promises to be an exciting year for eCommerce in the U.S.
With that in mind, it is time to take a look at some of the biggest trends on the horizon for the next year in eCommerce.
eCommerce Becomes More Engaging
Consumers no longer want a simple shopping experience when it comes to eCommerce.
These days, there is a growing trend towards making Ecommerce more entertaining and engaging for consumers. The rising popularity of sites like Pinterest shows that consumers want to browse, discuss and admire products rather than simply buying.
Retail giant Walmart have already picked up on this trend and integrated it into their site, with a Trending Now tab that encourages visitors to browse current popular products.
"This creates flexibility for the site to cater to the different types of customers who visit us. Some come to shop online for specific products, others come to browse and discover," said a Walmart spokesperson.
The tactic certainly seems to be working, with conversion rates on the Trending Now tab almost double conversion rates on the site overall.
The future of eCommerce is likely to see a move towards more games, interactive elements and social activities centered on browsing for and discussing products.
This reflects the growing change in consumer behavior, away from simply buying products to searching for an authentic and engaging experience.
Seamless Cross Channel and Mobile Integration
With 81% of Smartphone users accessing the internet on their phones, the ability to adapt to a wide range of devices is going to be a vital part of eCommerce going into 2014.
Many users will research a product on their phones, then buy it through a PC or by visiting a store, while others might see a product in a store, then go home and buy it via their phone.
This means that seamless browsing, saving of favorite products, and shopping across platforms are becoming an important part of any eCommerce presence.
There are growing indications that Smartphone sales may become one of the most profitable avenues for merchants. Wedding ring retailer My Trio Rings reports that the amount spent in a Smartphone transaction tends to be as much 12% more than sales through other mediums.
The trend towards browsing and shopping while mobile has caused some problems for retailers who struggle to compete with online prices while paying bricks and mortar overheads.
Customers are increasingly likely to browse in-store, but buy elsewhere online if the price is better. For retailers who can tap into this growing market and grow their eCommerce division however, things are looking good.
Personalizing the eCommerce Experience
Good customer service and building a trusting relationship with clients are becoming more and more important as customers expect more connections and more personalized shopping experiences.
Re-creating the experience of great customer service online without face to face interactions is a challenge eCommerce traders need to rise to if they are to build brand loyalty among their customers.
Tailoring an eCommerce site to the needs of its users can be relatively simple, such as Domino's "Pizza Profile" which saves a customer's favorites and orders, making the checkout experience smoother.
On the other end of the scale, dedicated sites such as Fab.com and Shoe Dazzle offer a detailed personalized experience, making recommendations based on a customer's shopping and browsing habits.
By the end of 2014, retailers expect to see further growth in the burgeoning eCommerce market.
Merchants who can follow the trends to offer a more interactive, personal and enjoyable shopping experience will reap the rewards in terms of increased sales and customer loyalty.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, marketing, accounting software, and SEO.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.