It’s easy to see why more and more businesses are turning to e-commerce to provide their target markets with the products and services they need. Online shopping continues to rise, buoyed by a surge in mobile shopping. There’s certainly a wealth of opportunity as more and more consumers turn to the digital realm for all their shopping needs from ebooks to coffee beans, rocking chairs to dog treats, and everything in between.
However, while the market for e-commerce continues to grow at an exponential rate, so too does the competition.
As more and more potential competitors seem to spring up overnight, it’s no longer enough to set up shop and hope that your market finds you.
In a market that’s in a constant state of evolution and revolution, it’s important to be proactive and spot trends in consumer behaviour, leveraging them to position yourself as the solution to the customers problems, wants and needs.
Here are some important consumer behaviour trends that you absolutely need to know if you hope to find fortune in e-commerce.
Leveraging Micro Moments
Micro Moments aren’t a trend per se. They’re a way of looking at consumer behaviour pertaining to their use of mobile devices. In an era where most of us turn to our phones and other mobile devices an average of 52 times a day, it behoves e-commerce businesses to know when and why.
Micro Moments are the name given to these intent-rich moments when a consumer reaches for their phone.
When you’re able to leverage them effectively, you can position yourself to be the answer to whatever query they have and be in the right place at the right time to build a meaningful relationship with the consumer. Micro Moments boil down into 3 categories:
- “I want to learn” moments
- “I want to do” moments
- “I want to buy” moments
These are the conditions under which your prospects will instinctively turn to a mobile device.
Through keyword research and SEO, you can position yourself as the answer to their question, the product they need, or the service they want to access.
Gravitation towards Augmented and Virtual Reality
What was considered the province of science fiction when we were growing up is now a tangible reality. Augmented and virtual reality have already been alive and well in the world of business for some time, facilitating employee training and aiding the construction and engineering worlds. However, they also have a wealth of applications in the realm of digital commerce.
Virtual reality allows consumers to traverse entirely digital landscapes and virtual stores which offer a similar experience of a brick and mortar store at a fraction of the overhead cost. Likewise, augmented reality imposes digital images and graphics over an existing environment.
Many big brands like Amazon, IKEA and Samsung have already begun to incorporate augmented reality (AR) into their customer experience, with an app that provides product details when users hover over the product with their device’s camera.
These technologies are still fairly nascent and as such, there’s novelty value in getting in on the ground floor before they become ubiquitous. What’s more, they add a subtle air of gamification to transactions making for a novel, exciting and rewarding customer experience.
Increasing reliance on Chatbots and AI for answers
Success in e-commerce isn’t just about being able to sell great products at the best prices. At least not any more.
It’s also about being able to provide a responsive and satisfying experience for your customers. It’s about being able to answer their questions and furnish them with the tools they need to make well-informed consumer decisions.
While you may invest heavily in human resources to ensure that you have the right team behind your tech, it’s important to remember that e-commerce does not keep to normal store opening hours. Your customers may be browsing your site at 4 am and have a burning question. If they’re able to get an answer right away this can lead to a sale. If they have to wait until 9 am that morning, there’s a good chance you might lose their interest.
This is why chatbots and other forms of customer-facing AI are increasingly popular for e-commerce business. They ease pressure on customer service teams and provide answers for consumers whenever they need them.
As chatbots become more sophisticated they can offer a more robust suite of services to the customer, making recommendations based on historical browsing data, providing helpful information at checkout and even suggesting potential baskets.
Increasing use of Voice Commerce
We’ve already talked about how e-commerce is increasingly driven by “mobile first” consumers. As mobile voice assistants like Siri, Alexa. and Google Assist play a bigger and bigger part in how consumers interact with their devices, this has given rise to the phenomenon of voice commerce; arguably the next big thing in e-commerce.
Currently, voice commerce accounts for around $2 billion in online sales. By 2022 that figure is primed to explode to over $40 billion across the US and UK alone.
While many e-commerce brands are aware of voice commerce they are not necessarily aware of how they can get ahead of their competitors in voice searches. Voice commerce represents a paradigm shift in online customer experience.
If you can demonstrate a clear understanding of the voice commerce customer journey and can design an experience that’s tailored to their needs and expectations, you can find great success in this rising subsection of e-commerce and leave your competitors in your dust.
Need for more security and stability in their online stores
In an era where they know they have a range of online stores to choose from, it stands to reason that consumers would gravitate towards stores that can give them a more secure and stable customer experience. Yet, as more and more consumers flock to online retailers, many find that conventional online shops simply don’t offer the scalability and flexibility to suit the changing needs of their operations. This has led to a rise in SaaS (aka Software as a Service).
SaaS solutions tend to be appealing to growing online retailers as they are fast, flexible, secure, stable and completely cloud-based making them an extremely cost-efficient way of ensuring consistently high-quality customer experience.
Today’s consumers are increasingly pushed for time and when they’re accessing your store through a mobile device, every second counts.
A page load time of just 7 seconds can increase your bounce rate by over 30% and unresponsive pages can lead to widespread cart abandonment.
In this climate, it’s easy to see why more and more online retailers are relocating their stores to SaaS providers.
Yearning for a simpler checkout
Speaking of cart abandonment, last year mobile cart abandonment rates averaged out at around 76%. That represents a colossal amount of lost revenue.
If retailers expect to hold their own in an increasingly competitive digital landscape, one of their highest priorities must be to optimise the mobile experience for their customers, particularly the checkout process. Statistics show that around 28% of cart abandonment takes place not because the customer has found the same product cheaper elsewhere or even because they no longer want the product in question but simply because of a needlessly complicated checkout.
In order to facilitate a satisfying customer experience on a mobile device, your checkout process needs to be quick, easy and intuitive. Ideally, the process should take place on just one page, ideally using an auto-fill function for customer convenience.
Finally, as keen as you may be to generate leads, it’s important to adopt a “customer first” policy in your checkout design and avoid forcing the customer to register if it isn’t necessary.
If the experience is good enough, they’ll register of their own volition.
Demonstrating a preference for Video
Increased reliance on mobile use means that today’s consumer has less time than ever to read long chunks of text. As users show an increasing preference for video content your customers are increasingly unlikely to take the time to read lengthy product descriptions to get a feel for what they’re buying. Seeing is believing!
As such, it behoves e-commerce businesses to leverage video content in their commercial endeavours.
Video represents the product in more detail and can help consumers to form a more personal relationship with the products they peruse.
What’s more, video content is more inherently appealing to consumers and can impart more information about your product in a time efficient manner.
Gravitating towards social influencers
Youtube celebrity really is the next rock stardom. There was a time when celebrity endorsement was the golden ticket for brands looking to make a big impression on consumers. However, the numbers show that many consumers, especially younger consumers place more trust in social influencers than more traditional celebrities.
70% of teenage consumers say that they trust the word of social influencers more than celebrities, and 49% of consumers regularly depend on influencer recommendations.
Consumers tend to feel as though they have a more personal and intimate relationship with influencers and thus feel more able to trust them.
If you can demonstrate an awareness of emerging consumer trends and develop strategies to capitalise on them, the door to e-commerce success is left wide open for you.
Looking for help to identify customer behaviour trends that affect your business? Book in for a consultation.