With the holidays fast approaching, there is no shortage of last minute ecommerce advice to be had. Realistically, if you haven’t planned for it by now, you’re down to last minute, last ditch efforts. And if you are not a retailer, you might be about to ignore this post. Don’t. It turns out that what consumers want from retailers very closely mirrors what B2B buyers want from you (see: B2B B2C note).

2015 Trends That Will Continue in 2016

As 2015 came to a holiday shopping crescendo we saw trends that will continue at the end of this year:

  • Mobile shopping maintains a strong growth trajectory. eMarketer predicts that US retail mcommerce sales will increase 43% in 2016 making up 29% of retail ecommerce sales and 2.4% of total retail sales for the year.
  • Content and customer experience are combatants to price wars. Everyone is worried about Amazon – rightly so. The ecommerce juggernaut has found its way into nearly every sector with grocery, fashion and B2B now in their mix. Delivering something unique – be it helpful educational content and support (a la Best Buy’s Geek Squad) or a full service, luxury experience, smart brands that don’t want to resort to pure price competition must provide a great customer experience both online and off.
  • Consumers demand timely, low-cost delivery options. According to a recent Radial report 70% expect delivery within 5 days, while 78% will opt for in store pickup if costs rise (or to meet a tight timeline).
  • Buyers seek speedy, multi-channel customer service. Nearly half of shoppers, 48%, will contact support with questions, 83% opt for self-service options and those that select social media channels expect a quick reply – 70% same day and 30% within hours (source: Radial via Internet Retailer).

These trends aren’t entirely new. Now that ecommerce leaders have had a year to prepare, it will be interesting to see who heeded consumer demand and is ready for the selling season. Our research shows that marketers continue to make strong investments in digital commerce and are exerting influence in many post sales activities like social customer support.

 

Successful Social and Mobile Commerce Tactics

Drilling down into two major channels our research Digital Channel Survey 2016: What Digital Commerce Marketers Need to Know — Spotlight on Social and Mobile (subscription required) revealed which specific tactics were most effective in supporting digital commerce efforts.

Top Mobile Marketing Tactics Supporting Commerce:

  1. Mobile advertising
  2. Mobile optimized websites
  3. Mobile search

Top Social Media Tactics Supporting Commerce:

  1. Social network marketing to drive traffic
  2. Ratings and reviews (on third party sites and brand owned sites)
  3. Social analytics

One tactic that didn’t pan out last holiday season and still hasn’t found its footing is social commerce – conversion and buy buttons on social networking sites both had somewhat meager rankings.  This year, there are more social shopping options including bots but there’s little evidence that consumers are ready to engage en masse (yet).

How this holiday season will play out remains to be seen, but savvy digital commerce marketers – be you B2B or B2C – are doubling down on the tactics that work and taking heed of 2015 buyer expectations to ring in the new year.

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