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Over the past few years, the retail industry has seen a virtual explosion of new business coming from smartphones and other mobile devices. This development gives retailers the opportunity to greatly expand the reach of their businesses. The days of the local or regional retailer are disappearing rapidly, and a new era of retail with a truly global reach and potential customer base is rapidly emerging to take its place.
This shift has put retailers in the position of needing to test a number of strategies and platforms to increase their reach and appeal to a broader audience of potential customers. Some of these tactics have proved successful, some not so much. Looking ahead through 2015 and beyond, there are some strategies that show real promise. Here are just a few.
Future success strategies
1. Personalisation and customer appeal
Ecommerce platforms deal in a variety of offerings, like exclusive items, online-only coupons, and express shipping options, but one thing that they lack is a focus on relationship-building between the customer and the brand. The ones that will succeed heading into the future are those that figure out how to create the same kind of interactive experience that customers would get in an actual brick-and-mortar store.
2. Recommendation engines and product discovery sites
Successful online retailers will need to incorporate a process of “guided discovery,” targeting consumers with specific products based on user suggestions. The idea is to help people narrow down their purchase decisions by collecting data on their personal preferences. The key in making this work will be creating a custom experience for site visitors, helping them spend less time browsing and searching and converting them into customers by delivering the product that is best suited for them in the smallest amount of time.
3. Appeal to emotions
Future ecommerce front-runners will learn how to reach their customers on an emotional level. Retailers who go beyond just selling products and engage in storytelling to improve their brand image will be the ones who build that vital one-to-one relationship with their customers.
4. Creating a truly social experience
There is a difference between using social media and incorporating it into your branding strategy. Successful retailers already understand that a social media presence does not, in itself, equate to social branding. The social experience needs to have a native feel both via social media channels and on the website.
Putting it into practice
Ecommerce is the driving force behind the vast majority of retail growth in the United States today. It should therefore come as no big surprise that retailers need to create an ever-improving online experience. They will accomplish that through personalisation, relevant recommendations, an experience that appeals to the customer on an emotional level, and being a social brand – not simply having a social media presence. Ecommerce enterprises of the future will need to develop these traits if they wish to ensure their own success.