eCommerce and Online Shopping Trends

The objective of this post is to discuss key points regarding eCommerce (electronic commerce) and the benefits it provides for all types of businesses in the 21st Century and beyond.

eCommerce is the activity of electronically buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet. Electronic commerce is built with the support of a variety of technologies and systems like electronic funds transfersupply chain managementInternet marketingonline transaction processingelectronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems.

In this blog we’re going to cover how to start your online store and how to increase online sales.

Covid-19 and the lockdown has proven to be quite a pivotal moment for eCommerce in South Africa and around the world as many businesses have had to either close their doors, or move online to sell their services and products.

Today more people are shopping online than ever before and more people are trying to sell online in order to meet customers where they are, at home. While certain pre-built digital solutions can be used for certain types of businesses sometimes a blanket solution doesn’t fit and a more customized approach is necessary.

So we’re looking at the future of eCommerce and thinking about what clients and businesses can implement to continue to grow and evolve with the times and then more specifically how we can help them.

What’s trending

The world of retail, technology and consumer behavior is changing all the time. Some industries faster than other but we sure can’t say things have stayed the same. With the exponential rate of technology usage and development business require digital solutions now more than ever before.

Mobile Commerce

The first trend is mobile commerce. It’s not the future, it’s happening now. Millions of consumers are using their smartphones to conduct business. While desktop is still one of the primary methods, many consumers are shopping from their mobile device for all kinds of products and services. To meet the needs of our clients and their consumers, we support them with fast, responsive mobile first web shop solutions. Whether you’re a startup, entrepreneur, financial advisor or realtor we’ll create a suitable platform for you. With almost 70% of traffic generally coming from mobile, we design for mobile first to ensure as many conversions as possible with a great digital experience.

Mobile optimization directly impacts your online shop’s Google ranking as ‘mobile device friendliness’ is now a big factor in their ranking algorithm.  The other thing to consider is that customers will seek out a competitor after a bad mobile experience as it is now expected the majority of the time. 

Mobile Applications and eWallet Solutions

Having an online shop is a great start but in-app shopping is more convenient for consumers and provides a more immersive environment for you to market with. Having an online shop comes with limitation’s if you’re wanting to go full-retail and sell a lot of products. In this case, a mobile app might be more suitable for you and your customer, generally, it means more opportunities for marketing, sales, and conversions.

Smooth payment processing and easy ways to finalize a purchase are essential. Mobile wallet functionality can help you increase sales and boost your conversion rate.

Subscription Services

eCommerce trends show that personalized subscription services will continue to emerge. Think about, Showmax, Amazon Prime and Netflix.

eCommerce seems to be opportune for almost every type of business. From fashion to entertainment, beauty salons, and even restaurants and home made meal delivery services — subscription services are a common trend in the up-and-coming digital retail industry.

There are many benefits to the subscription business model as it simplifies business processes and it is effective for both business owners and their customers.

Some benefits of the model include high customer retention, business consistency and better cash flow. With the subscription model, consumers do not have to make a repeated purchases every month and stock can be managed effectively because the demand is clear. The model also improves productivity of the business, since the time and effort required to order and manage order details is saved. The other perk of the model is that the customer knows the amount payable in advance and this enables them to budget well. It also allows revenue predictability making forecasting a little easier.

Customization and Personalization

The ability to customize products to your customers specific needs is also an important aspect of product and service development. We think product customization will continue to grow as one of the leading eCommerce technology trends as it makes life easier and meets demanding needs of the modern day shopper.. 

Automation is also influencing the way products and services are customized for customers. Think of Netflix and how movies are suggested to you based on previous activity.

Product Visualization, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality

Advancements in 3D, augmented reality, and virtual reality are changing the way products are visualized and how information is conveyed online.

A significant challenge with digital shopping experiences is providing tangible and sensory information on products to the point where a customers feels sure enough to make a purchase.

Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes digital images and assets on a user’s view of the real world through their mobile device and helps the consumer consumers analyse and imagine products before they make a purchase.

Virtual reality, where users “enter” an immersive virtual world with a VR headset and compatible 360 video is another way that allows clients and customers to virtually experience a product before the make a purchase the same way a gamer might experience a virtual world in a VR gaming environment.

What Does The Future Hold

We think the future of eCommerce is something to embrace and be excited about. Mobile platforms are essential and possibly more important than ever. Subscription services seem to be thriving in the digital market and the way products are marketed and showcased in the digital era is bound to progress in incredible and creative ways.

Merge encourages clients and businesses to adapt their model to these trends and consider the role of digital in their business plan.

If you’re interested in integrating innovative and effective web services and payment processing solutions into your eCommerce strategy, contact us today.

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