As we enter the last quarter of the year, it’s time to start thinking about what’s going to be big in ecommerce in 2017.

The ecommerce specialists at Williams Commerce are predicting that the following 8 trends will help businesses keep ahead of the competition next year and drive more growth for their ecommerce business.

  1. Content Driven Commerce / Social Selling

Content marketing is certainly not a novelty, but it’s also not going anywhere, as big search engines, as well as users expect to consume higher quality content online. Thus, a big part of the marketing effort continues to be focused on generating relevant content, both in-house, as well as taking advantage of user-generated content, by embedding social media feeds on their websites using platforms such as Stackla or FourSixty, for example.

Retailers are starting to weave content with commerce to contextualise products within a wider experience. Growing demand for a curated shopping experience is leading retailers to increase customer engagement and buy in to their brand.

  1. Mobile Engagement Continues to Reach New Heights

Gartner believes mobile traffic will continue to grow strongly through 2017, at a rate of 50%. Most focus is still on mobile responsive ecommerce sites, with some retailers adopting apps. Some analysts think that retailers could eventually abandon their desktop sites in favour of mobile, although this seems unlikely for the next 3 to 5 years.

If a retailer cannot reach its consumers via mobile/tablet they may be only reaching 50% of their customer base, so if you haven’t optimised your website for mobile yet, 2017 is the year to do it, as well as starting to have a mobile-first approach when it comes to the user experience you provide online.

  1. Rapidly Changing Payments Landscape

With increasingly more consumers feeling nervous about the security of card payments, retailers will continue to adopt alternative payment methods and platforms such as Amazon Pay, PayPal, Google Wallet, Apple Pay and reloadable pre-pay cards will continue to gain market share. Payment providers such as Braintree and Ingenico which offer combined merchant services and payment processing continue to gain traction. Ease of mobile payment has also become a key consideration. The wider opportunity when it comes to payment methods in 2017 is between in store and online payment harmonization.

  1. Faster Free Delivery Services

5 – 7 day delivery is a thing of the past, no longer acceptable and most retailers are moving towards next day as standard with some larger providers breaking into the same day delivery service. Same day delivery is hard to deliver without the infrastructure in place to provide it. We expect to see the major carriers start to offer services to help their retail customers achieve this level of service, through distributed warehouses and multiple delivery collections per day.

  1. Contextual Personalised Shopping Becomes Mainstream

A preserve of the larger retailers, personalized shopping solutions and add-ons will spread through to mid-market retailers in their desire to improve conversion rate and compete online. Using previous order patterns, social interaction online, brands can map consumer behaviours and personalize the shopping experience to match. For example, using services such as Nosto, can help retailers offer a completely personalised shopping experience which in turn leads to higher conversion rates and profits.

  1. Image Heavy Design

‘Less text, more images’ seems to be the overall design trend for ecommerce sites, giving the consumer less content to worry about and more visual appeal of the product and associated lifestyle. Higher quality images can also help some retailers drive down returns by better representing the product from the outset.

  1. Improved Customer Service

Although this is nothing new, we can’t stress enough the importance of providing excellent customer service across all channels. Major market places such as Ebay and Amazon have done much to ensure their merchants deliver an acceptably high level of customer service in recent years. Now ingrained into successful online retailers, additional service is further improved through enhanced multichannel Live Chat which is key to converting unengaged customers and user friendly automated returns processes.

  1. Growth in Flash Sales

Responding to news, events, sports, weather or a general sale, well planned flash sales are now delivering significant revenue for retailers, often transforming a low trading period to bring it back on budget. By creating urgency, retailers are able to deliver a significant return on a sudden flash sale and we predict that these flash sales will only grow bigger in 2017.

If you’re ready to take your ecommerce business to the next level in 2017, contact Williams Commerce, Magento Enterprise Solution Partner, on 0116 326 1116 or email us at [email protected].