We have all heard the saying, “stay ahead of the curve” and it is more important now than ever, especially for ecommerce businesses. The way consumers shop, both online and offline, has changed more in the last two years than ever before. With new technology and trends emerging every day, it can be hard to keep up.
Here are 4 ecommerce trends on the horizon to look out for.
1. The "Digital Shelf" is the New Battleground
The digital shelf is basically the online equivalent of a brick-and-mortar store’s shelves and covers every touchpoint of the online shopping experience, from research and discovery to checkout and beyond. To win on the digital shelf, ecommerce companies need to understand how customers interact with the digital shelf and what influences their purchase decisions.
But how do companies get there? Using consumer research, marketers can drill down into the macro and micro levels of digital behavior. Macro-level examines sites visited during the overall shopping journey, along with the channel used during the shopping journey (store vs. computer vs mobile). This is the “big picture” view of the journey and includes the following touchpoints:
- Search engine
- Retailer websites
- Brand websites
- Social media, consumer review sites
- Coupon publishers
- Brick-and-Mortar stores
- Offline touchpoints such as out of home advertising
The micro-level examines the journey within a specific site across key features such as home page, search, category page, product pages, cart activity, and purchase. Touchpoints include, among others:
- On-site search
- Product detail page (PDP)
- Add to cart
- Check-out process
The macro and micro shopper insights give a full look at your customer journey and a deep dive into the digital shelf allowing you to create online strategies that increase revenue.
Are you tracking micro and macro-level journeys and behavior?
2. Consumers Want A Hybrid Approach to Buying
They want it fast and convenient, but they also want a human connection. Sometimes those two elements together are tough to maintain. It is important to find out where and when those human connections are important to consumers. Digital tracking data along with surveys can be used to define this hybrid approach, and by combining both methodologies, the consumer psychology behind their behaviors can be understood.
A company selling higher-end baby bassinets found that their consumers preferred to buy online but still wanted some kind of human connection (even if it was a chatbox) to ask safety questions at the very end of their journey. Even though those very same safety questions are answered on the FAQ page, these consumers wanted the peace of mind gained by talking with a person. After reviewing the digital tracking data, our client added a chatbox to their website and made their toll-free number more prominent for those consumers who wanted that human touch.
Do you know where that human touch will make a difference in your consumer’s journey?
3. Online Competitors Are Not the Same As In-Store Competitors
Competitive research is a must-have for marketing strategy, but ecommerce businesses need to understand that their online competitors are not always the same as their in-store competitors. The good news is, there are a variety of ecommerce behavior tracking research tools available to help stay ahead of the curve and understand what customers want, for example:
- Digital tracking
- Consumer surveys
- Competitive analysis
- Website analytics
- Focus groups
- User testing
It may be surprising to find the huge differences between online and in-store marketing strategies. Ecommerce businesses need to use a mix of these consumer research tools to understand what their customers want and how they want it. Only then can they create a winning strategy that meets the needs of their customers.
What ecommerce research tools do you use to stay ahead of the curve?
4. New Forms of Marketing and Advertising
Is curbside pickup here to stay? These are just a couple of examples of how companies are changing the way they do business and therefore their marketing and advertising efforts.
There is also an important move away from traditional advertising and towards experiential marketing. This means creating an immersive experience for potential customers that goes beyond simply selling a product and improves the online shopping experience with offline experiences. This could be anything from a pop-up shop to an interactive installation. The key is to get potential customers to interact with the brand in a way that is memorable and meaningful and, at the same time, complements the online experience.
Experiential marketing is a great way to connect with potential customers on a more personal level and create lasting relationships. It can be used to build brand awareness, drive sales, and create loyalty among the customer base. However, it is important to keep in mind that this type of marketing requires a clear main strategy with careful planning and execution to be successful.
Are you up to speed on new marketing and advertising strategies?
Although there are many trends to keep an eye on, these four are a few of the most important ones. Each encompasses the understanding of the consumer journey, digital and non-digital. With these shopper insights, marketers uncover why consumers behave as they do and then can adapt strategies to increase ROI.
Stay ahead of the curve and stay relevant in the ever-changing world of ecommerce by downloading our ultimate guide to Product Detail Page research: