According to Statista, in 2017 69% of Americans now shop online. Growing year over year by 9.3%, US eCommerce sales in 2017 amounted to $409 billion and by 2022 they’re expected to hit $609 billion. Worldwide eCommerce accounts for well over $1trillion in sales with China leading at close to $500 billion in sales. The US average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to $1,820. The largest market segment is “toys, hobby and DIY” with a volume of $122 billion, followed by “electronics and media,” “fashion,” “furniture,” and “food and personal care.”
These numbers do not surprise me, as I watch my shopping habits change, as well as those of my family and friends. Of course, at Systum, we have a window on these changing behaviors. But it’s interesting to see the big picture numbers.
So, besides impressive growth and adoption rates, what new e-commerce trends are coming our way in 2018?
This has been trending for a few years, but it still lags behind sales on other devices, especially the PC. Nonetheless, mobile is expected to grow by 8x between now and 2020. So, 2018 will be a watershed year — make sure your web site works well on mobile!
In the innovation area, watch for mobile to mesh with in-store systems such as iBeacons and augmented reality to send entertaining push messages and contextual offers to shoppers on their mobile devices as brands attempt to increase customer engagement.
2. Email e-commerce
Email is so tried and true, it’s hard to imagine it as an upcoming trend. But email is getting a makeover. Technology is already available that allows you to embed functionality in emails to enable shoppers to click and buy right from their inbox. Systum can help you to target your customers with highly relevant email offers. Using these new techniques, they can then buy without even visiting your website. Looking back to trend #1, think how compelling this will be on mobile devices.
3. Customer engagement and continuity
This is another continuing trend for the very big brands, but in 2018, watch for it to be picked up by small and medium-sized businesses too. There’s been a lot of talk about ‘big data’ in the last couple of years, but the real key is making sense of the data. The better you understand your customer, the more relevant you can be to them. Add in the interactivity that is possible with social media, email and your customer support and you have a mix of technologies that are combining in powerful ways.
One of the keys to good customer engagement is continuity. This comes from integrating your customer data across the different organizational silos. This is something that even the very big brands are struggling to achieve, but it is baked into Systum. At every brand touch point, from your point of purchase to your after sales support, the customer should feel as if you know them personally. This is how to build trust and loyalty, which in turn creates repeat business.
In short, to know your customer is to delight them. That may seem like a very old-fashioned message for a blog piece on the future, but no matter how far we advance, we often find ourselves coming home to fundamental truths.
From all of us at Systum, we wish you and your family all the best and a prosperous 2018!