Get Ready For These 2017 E-Commerce Trends
As a retail channel, e-commerce shows no sign of slowing down. Online sales keep growing, especially in the UK, which is already considered a mature market, with 77% of UK Internet users making purchases through browsers, tablets and smartphones.
Online continues to take a larger bite out of retail, with over digital channels expected to account for over 17% of sales in 2017. It was only 13.5% in 2014. E-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe. Sales in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Spain are expected to grow from £132.05 billion (€156.28 bn) in 2014 to £156.67 billion (€185.39 bn) in 2015 (+18.4%), reaching £185.44 bn (€219.44 bn) in 2016.
Mobile is a fast-growing channel within online sales. RetailMeNot estimates that 45 billion euros were spent via mobile devices in 2015, with 12% of all purchases in Europe through smartphones and tablets. Forrester Research data shows that in seven major European markets, there has been noticeable growth between 2011 and 2016. Here are the figures:
- France: 63% > 76%
- Germany: 69% > 81%
- Italy: 36% > 47%
- Netherlands: 75% > 85%
- Spain: 41% > 58%
- Sweden: 72% > 86%
- UK: 75% > 85%
British customers are equally likely to purchase items from abroad, with American, Chinese and German e-commerce sites the most popular. Overseas online shopping is a trend set to continue in 2017. But with the New Year fast approaching, what other trends should e-commerce brand get ready for?
#1: Mobile shopping
Mobile commerce is already a key segment. Mobile e-commerce revenue is set to surge, up to 50% higher than current rates, according to Gartner. Increasingly, savvy shoppers in every age group are turning to smaller screens to compare prices, read reviews and make purchases.
Retailers who don’t have a fully mobile-optimised, smartphone-friendly website are going to start finding themselves struggling against competitors.
#2: Responsive, Real-time customer service
Customers are sending more messages and making fewer phone calls. For customer service team leaders, this means a necessary re-focusing of resources and activities on digital channels should be a priority.
All it takes is a few unanswered Tweets, Direct Messages and Chat messages to start losing customers. They want responsive brands. Online messages are usually sent after other, traditional, often slow service channels have failed to meet expectations. Don’t ignore these customers.
Aim to ensure response times are comparable to telephony agents, with the same high-level of customer service. An Econsultancy report quoted in Engadget found that “83% of customers want live support during the shopping and checkout process.”
#3: Same Day Delivery
Increasingly, customers are picking retailers who can deliver as close to instant as possible. Amazon Prime is changing the nature of the e-commerce experience, from anticipation to instant gratification.
There are numerous service delivery options for retailers of every size. In 2017, the challenge is going to be ensuring brands can meet more demanding customer needs whilst still turning a profit. Big retailers, including supermarkets, still struggle with this. At present, same day, or even same week delivery, is a loss generating exercise. However, consumer preferences aren’t going to change, which means retailers need to make it financially viable without cheapening the brand.
2016 has been a busy year for retailers. We still have Christmas Day and Boxing Day to come. We are bound to see new records broken. It will be exciting for retailers to see what 2017 brings and how brands deliver experiences around these fast-paced consumer trends.