As competition increases in e-commerce with an ever-growing populated market, merchants have to make sure to align with upcoming digital trends to be able to compete with bigger players. Web shops have therefore to be constantly adapt and rely on smart solutions in order not to fall in the highly competitive challenge of attracting new customers. A clear commitment and customer focused positioning can help smaller e-businesses to stand out from the crowd. As Payment Service Provider, we at PAYMILL are at the heart of the e-commerce market, witnessing changes and setting new trends. In this blog post I would thus like to share with you our 7 most important trends that we were able to identify for the current 2017 year.
Data based customer experience
The use of data is something becoming more and more critical as it is often subject to setting-up the limit to privacy. However, looking at the data in a pure commercial and client centric point of view can and will add value to our customer experience. This issue of data protection is hotly debated, especially in Germany. Big players have set standards for some time now, which provides a door opener to ease access to such technology to better target audience and generate impulsive purchase from online shoppers. For instance there is no more shopper browsing an e-shop without being offered to make a purchase. Data Analytics provide a certain shopping behaviour or pattern from which merchants can then display a special offer or highlight a dedicated product through smart retargeting tools.
Personalized marketing and customer service
These two examples show what important insights can be drawn from data to make tailor-made offers to buyers. If the data is used correctly, the shopping experience turns out to be smooth and comfortable for the end client. Online shops, which put a strong emphasis on delivering top quality experience (or so called user friendliness) to their clients, will rapidly over take e-shops that do not invest in personalized marketing. The re-recognition of the user profile after login and new offers based on the last purchases as well as safely encrypted payment methods to quick checkout are only early signs of the tremendous possibilities offered.
The most visible and important trend, especially among the young buyer is clearly the use of mobile technology to purchase online. Nonetheless, m-commerce is also becoming more and more popular among “older” users as smart phones and tablet invaded our homes. It cannot get more convenient to browse on a smartphone and book tickets for the same day basket ball game whilst being on the tram or waiting for some friends. Here, technology has set the trend but not yet an imposed mean, as merchants have to decide whether to invest in Responsive Design or an App. No matter their choices, one thing is certain- this year will be the year of m-commerce.
Same Day Delivery
The on-demand principle also applies to the delivery service. Online buyers do not want to wait for several days until they receive the coveted product. Today is all about making goods and services available instantly. However, to provide such a service as Same Day Delivery, an enormous organizational infrastructure is needed in the background, which is not yet affordable to SMEs. Therefore, this trend will remain a premium and marketing differentiator for large organisations, which benefit of the necessary warehouses and network to make this happen. However, smaller e-retailers can equip themselves with a customer-friendly dispatch service in order to keep up with the market.
The special advantage of online shopping for the customer is to be able to obtain more exclusive products, which are not available in their own country but accessible abroad. For this purpose, e-shops must think cross border and partner accordingly to be able to offer each client a smooth user experience in offering the adequate payment method and currency matching the country of origin of the end client. Alternative payment methods like Sofort (Germany) or iDeal (Holland) are gaining market share against credit card, on top of the raising crypto currency trend like Bitcoin. Online shops should select a Payment Service Provider at an early stage, which can offer them a wide range of international payment methods and currencies with whom grow and answer specific client needs.
Real time payment
With Blockchain technology, real-time payment is about to become a reality. With the raise of Blockchain technology and crypto currencies, credit card organisations (especially VISA) are starting to look into how to answer the wish from customer for safer transaction process as well as faster settlement. The use of Blockchain could provide an instant settlement versus the standard 3 days valuta, on top as a unique transaction use to avoid dispute on payment. Such trend is triggered by crypto currencies and web shops wishing to address a broader client base should start looking how to integrate such service at checkout.
In order to continue to exist and differentiate against big players, SMEs must put the customer journey at the centre of their attention. “Touch points” used to create contact between an e-shop and a consumer has become more and more complex thanks and due to our ever-evolving need for digital and enjoyable shopping experience. It is therefore crucial of e-retailers to wisely choose their analytics tool at an early stage and to continue the journey hand-in-hand with their customers in order to always be able to meet expectations. After all, as Steve Jobs once said: “get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves”.