It’s a new year and with that, comes yet another shift in the ever-changing online marketing landscape. Magento, the open-source ecommerce platform, along with PayPal, recently held a webinar in which they predict that in 2017, three factors will transform commerce to which businesses must adapt in order to keep up. They are globalization, social commerce innovation, and mobile technology.
We’ll give you a rundown of their main points what it all means for you and your business.
You Against the World: Globalized Ecommerce
The globalization of consumer relations has now become a reality for all businesses. A global market allows for a literal world of goods to be at the fingertips of consumers. Better prices, access to unique products not available in your country, and the reputation of distinguished international brands are only a few factors driving customers from your website to an international competitor’s.
While there are many reasons for customers to take their business abroad, there are almost just as many reasons to buy local. International shipping fees, taxes, and longer delivery times are all downfalls of international shopping that you can leverage to your advantage:
- • Reduce shipping costs for large orders
- • Offer free domestic returns
- • Offer free pick-up from your fulfillment location
- • Emphasize your shipping speed to domestic addresses
These, and other incentives are a few tactics that can help keep customers from flocking overseas. However, in this age, trying to keep your customers domestic is a tactic that simply won’t work for long.
In order to effectively compete in a globalized marketplace, you’ll have to bring global customers to your website. Luckily for you, many avenues exist that’ll bring you closer to your desired global audience. First, you’ll have to make your business globally visible. While your website and product pages are likely already optimized (or should be) for your local area, many ecommerce sites are gaining an edge in organic search results abroad by creating geo-targeted landing pages that feature content and copy that’s geared towards an audience of a particular international region. Once you’ve attracted an international ecommerce audience, streamline their experience – use geolocation software to offer prices in the visitors’ currency, as well as a variety of seamless payment methods (we’ll get into this later). Once your international audience has grown to a sizable amount, partner up with third party firms who can efficiently handle your international fulfillment processes, eliminating tax, customs, and brokerage headaches.
“You can just Venmo me later!”: Social Commerce and Payment Innovation
Cash is dying. According to a study by the Federal Reserve, cash usage fell behind debit and credit card for the first time in 2014, and is expected to decline even further as digital payment options become more widely available. As an ecommerce site, you’ve relied on the digitization of money to grow your business. But payment innovation in 2017 goes far beyond just offering alternative forms of payment aside from cash; it’s about a shift in the psychology of buying and the perception of money.
In recent years, we’ve seen a proliferation of things connected to the Internet, and money and banking is no exception. Now, people have their bank accounts in the palm of their hands, and those bank accounts are often linked to several different apps through which they can make instant purchases. Think Uber and Venmo. Money is being digitally integrated into a consumer’s social life and with that, it fades into the background and becomes part of their social persona. What these apps do well is create a seamless transfer of money. These seamless transactions are changing the consumer mindset so that the checkout process is no process at all.
As an ecommerce business, you can stay at the forefront of this shift by making your ordering process as easy as a literal tap of a button, as is the case with Amazon Dash Button and one-click buying. Make your customer accounts comprehensive, storing not only their personal information but also their payment information. Establish loyalty programs that give users a sense of identity and connection to you business. Give the option to buy readily available anywhere on your site not just through the old “view your cart, proceed to checkout, place order” procedure.
One caveat to this new ease of purchasing is that customers are demanding more security. As easy as it is for a consumer to wield their own finances, it’s just as easy for the bad guys. According to a report by Hewlett Packard and the U.S.-based Ponemon Institute of Cyber Crime, malicious software costs the average American business 15 million dollars a year and customers today are becoming savvier about protecting their money. As a business, take the extra steps to protect your customers. Equip your business with comprehensive data analytic and risk analytic software. Implement programs such as two-factor authentication, as well as SSL Certificates for additional security. Once these precautions have been taken to protect your customers’ personal and financial information, let that be known to give potential customers peace of mind.
Commerce on the Go: Mobile
The move to mobile is no longer an abstract notion looming on the horizon, it’s here and it’s happening fast. In fact, the adoption of mobile is the fastest mass adoption of technology in history, ushered in the by the 92 million strong millennial generation, a generation of buyers who were brought up on mobile and see it as the norm. To them, mobile isn’t a nice plus, it’s a must.
So in an age where mobile ecommerce is becoming a standard, the solution isn’t just to have mobile, but it’s to make your mobile user experience easy, fast, and beautiful. Conversion rates for mobile transactions are still only a third of those on a computer, according to the Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly, with users citing the many hurdles of the mobile experience keeping them from making their purchasing decisions. Here’s where you should pay extra attention. Mobile shouldn’t just be an extension of your site, but should provide extra value and an enhanced experience.
So what can you do about this? Start giving your mobile site some extra TLC. It’ll oftentimes be where you’ll interact most with your customers. It starts with an easy to use and attractive mobile interface with clear navigation and search functionalities. Once you’ve gotten their attention, turn everything into an impulse purchase with one click. We discussed earlier that money moves faster in today’s world, and thus, so should your mobile site’s purchasing process.
So there you have it. Keeping your business ahead of these seismic shifts is a daunting task we know, but we’re in the midst of something truly unprecedented. 2017 and the years ahead will see a fundamental reinvention of money and commerce at a size and pace that we’ve never seen before. And while we believe in your business’s abilities to outmaneuver these changes, should you ever find yourself in a bind when planning your next move, ATAK is here to help.