The new year is looming around the corner and marketers are gearing up for another year of opportunities, challenges and trends. Competition in the e-commerce industry will be especially fierce in 2017, with more brands jumping on the bandwagon. It may even become difficult for larger brands to maintain their footholds.
In fact, 2017 is expected to be an innovator’s market, so if you fail to adapt to user needs and expectations, you risk losing customers. According to Internet Retailer, total online spending in the U.S is expected to reach $355 billion in 2016, and to exceed $400 billion per year by 2018. Forrester Research estimates 2018 sales will hit $414.0 billion, while eMarketer estimates $491.5 billion.
The average user spends $1,800 through e-commerce per year, and this number is expected to rise in the coming years. So you must be prepared to face the competition and take advantage of 2017 e-commerce trends, or your business will fall behind.
Moreover, about 77 percent of marketers agree that a planned approach — which applies analytics and continuously optimizes strategies — leads to successful digital marketing. So start planning your new e-commerce strategies based on the emerging trends that will rule 2017.
1. E-Commerce Market to Experience a Shift
According to Forrester Research, online sales in the U.S. are expected to reach a whopping $523 billion in the next five years, up 56 percent from 2015. This U.S. Cross-Channel Retail Forecast estimates that sales will grow by an average annual rate of 9.32 percent over the course of the next five years.
Although U.S. e-commerce market growth remains strong, it is expected to reach saturation in the near future. Meanwhile, virgin markets — like many in Asia — are expected to rise. The growth in Asian markets will be so huge that the online sales in China are estimated to double between now and 2019, which means an additional $1 trillion dollars for online sales in just three years.
So online retailers must think about pushing their boundaries. Making efforts to go international and target newer audiences will surely be rewarded in 2017. With easing international delivery processes and decreasing shipping rates, it won’t be too tough for e-tailers to tap into the new market. This also means e-tailers need to revamp their e-commerce websites to allure the international audience — without overlooking domestic local expectations, of course.
2. Mobile to Be the Key Driver for E-Commerce
With smartphones continuously getting smarter, people are continuously more inclined to shop on mobile. Smartphone users finally surpassed computer users and have become the No. 1 source of traffic to e-commerce sites as of Q1 2016. But despite past, encouraging predictions, mobile e-commerce still hasn’t grown that much. Twenty percent of mobile users were expected to use mobile wallets by 2016; however, this figure has not been realized.
Mobile shopping hasn’t seen tremendous growth due to people’s inclination to use computers when it comes to online purchases. This means e-tailers must work hard to convince their audiences to shop on mobile. So in order to encourage users to make purchases via mobile, marketers should:
- Improve the user experience for their mobile sites.
- Ensure smooth integration with mobile wallets.
- Offer better privacy.
- Ensure easier checkout processes.