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Time to develop your presence in the digital marketplace

by  David Dwyer on  06/03/2017    535 Reads

With more than 1 Billion internet users making an online purchase in 2016, the direction of travel is clear: e-Commerce is not only here but it’s established and looking to expand exponentially. To give some context that’s 53% of global users.  

Total average e-Commerce spend per customer over the course of?2017 so far is estimated to have now passed £1,600 in the UK alone.  

No surprise then that more and more businesses are looking to get their share through developing their digital presence… the web has truly brought about a revolution in contemporary life and that includes the sale of virtually all products and services.  

The story is not restricted to the UK alone, studies are coming out on a weekly basis with robust statistics that tell the same story in countless countries across the world.  

Faced with the facts, it is hardly surprising that many of our most familiar local brands – companies with tens or even hundreds of physical stores up and down the High Streets of the UK – are now prioritising their online presence to achieve greater profitability. This is no longer a nice additional income stream to have but a necessity as they simply face either being left behind to die or innovate and thrive. 

Let’s review the latest e-Commerce business data, and see if we can predict the trends that will help support an online store succeed in 2017 and beyond.  

e-Commerce is now being heralded as the first-purchase option – and its evolution has certainly meant an exponential increase in sales, but there is still plenty of opportunity for newcomers and disruptors to get an edge, with e-Commerce sales accounting for just 14% of revenue in the UK there is still a lot of room for growth.  

The data reflects a new reality  

The move online, or the creation of a new and exclusive online business, is a key decision for any business. It is vital to target new market niches, study the ultimate viability of your idea, and segment effectively.  

Once a commitment is made to move online, then setting clear goals and developing an online strategy will be crucial points to maximise the potential for success.  

What are people buying online? 

The most common purchases made online are for electronics and digital media, (including video games, music downloads, e-books, computers and phones).  

Fashion is the next largest sector, with clothes and footwear accounting for almost one-third of online purchases.  

One in ten of us (actually 11%) now say we do all of our food shopping using an internet device.  

Other important online retail sectors in the UK this year are: 

  • Transport and travel services 

  • Wellness and beauty 

  • Cars, vans and bikes 

  • Stationery and work supplies 

But the truth is that the online demand and opportunity is virtually universal – whatever your line of business you need to be developing an online sales strategy today. 

The most searched and sold products through the internet now include: 

  • Ecological cosmetics, specifically organic and bio cosmetics with natural products that have no additives.  

  • Online pharmacies, especially with OTC (over the counter) products and brands.  

  • The star item for summer will be wooden sunglasses: an important trend in the US which is coming over the pond.  

  • Leggings are another fashion product with vast potential online.  

  • The demand for high-end mobile phones at cheaper prices is opening up a market for Chinese tech, as people check out alternative tech providers.  

  • Children's clothing is also popular. 

  • Personal grooming, especially beard care products for men.  

  • Running shoes are among a number of specialised sporting and health products that are performing well. 

 

Digital buyers are increasingly demanding.  

It’s not enough just to have the right product in mind. Now your online customer wants to experience excellence throughout the entire purchase process: from their initial research, through to purchase and even after-sales customer support.  

For this to be possible, you must anticipate needs and adapt your service accordingly. These are the trends to consider if you want to make your online store a success:  

  • Search for new markets. Plan and provide for international fulfilment  

  • Provide chat help solutions with qualified staff 

  • Customise every step in the user journey.  

Note: A great example of this is the Magento platform, one of the mainstays of the e-Commerce world. It has a standard checkout process that is long and clunky so the 1 page checkout feature has become very popular 

  • Many brands have already implemented these methods and the lesson is that an improved shopping experience will retain your consumers. 

  • Increase investment in online marketing to create more precise, segmented and effective campaigns.  

  • Choose the right platform.  

    • Responsive design for mobile searches;  
    • Support for different payment methods;  
    • Fulfilment and Shipment options for all shapes and sizes of product;  
    • Apache Solr Search, turns a slow unresponsive filtered product search into an instant return, thus help speed up the return of filtered product search 
    • Frequently Asked Questions feature helps your online store answer questions even if the site is unattended 

 

These are all trends that will be the measures by which your online customers will judge you – and you need to plan and invest now to ensure the visitor becomes a purchaser in your online store.  

One final thought: e-Commerce does offer a great opportunity for all companies to level the playing field with even the largest global brands. Online shopping is now mainstream and a way of life for online users of all ages.  

If you are thinking of creating your own online store we are experts at Inspire with online retail platforms, SEO and digital marketing. We can ensure your plans for development take tactical plans and turn them into successful strategies. Contact us today.

Developer SOS, e-commerce, Magento 1.9.x, Magento 2.x.x, Magento e-commerce, UX Design, Web Design
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