10 eCommerce Trends for 2016: LYONSCG Predicts
It’s a time-honored tradition to look ahead to the New Year as the old one winds down. But do you know where the idea may have originated? The first month of the calendar, January, takes its name from the ancient Roman god, Janus, who’s associated with endings and beginnings.
Reflecting this duality, he is depicted with two faces that make it possible to look at the past and contemplate the future.
Here at LYONSCG, we like to keep our eyes (both sets) focused on maximizing a client’s eCommerce potential. So when we look back, it’s to review what we’ve learned from working with clients and what we’ve seen in the way of industry trends. We use those insights to help plan how LYONSCG will approach business in 2016.
We’ve gathered 10 of the ideas that are top of mind with members of our team to share with you.
Retail Stores Will Create New Experiences
Katie Dunlap, Director of Account Management
The online eCommerce experience will drive innovation in the retail store. Increased visibility to inventory online will translate to investments in order management systems and more associates using mobile devices to assist customers with locating the item system-wide. Customer service won’t stop there. Those same devices will be able to detect and identify a shopper via their mobile phone. The vast amount of customer data that can be tapped will enable associates to provide related product recommendations, place an order, and check out a customer. Delighting the customer in-store will take on new importance.
Omni-Channel Retailers Must Engage in Social Marketing or Die
Danielle Savin, Director of Digital Strategy & Digital Marketing
Millennials spend an average of nine hours a day on a screen. By 2017, their spending power will be $200 billion annually. Retailers, brand manufacturers, and CPG’s must have a Social strategy, or their brands will lose momentum quickly.
This highly mobile and social generation wants to be engaged and entertained. Companies need to look at spending between 9% – 25% of their digital budget on Social Marketing programs to be relevant. Those dollars should be spent on:
- Native advertising on Facebook
- Tweeting for engagement
- Buy buttons on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter
- Alternative payment methods tied to social networks
- Expanding customer service through social listening
Measuring the success of Social Marketing will continue to be a challenge: the need for better attribution models needs to happen now.
Keep UX at the Forefront of Your Omni-Channel Strategy
Katherine Osos, Senior User Experience Architect
Omni-channel is a major buzzword, but the “user experience” aspect of this unified approach is often compromised by a focus on memorable aesthetics or clever cross-marketing campaigns. As the distinction between eCommerce and brick-and-mortar sales continues to blur, it is more important than ever to keep UX at the forefront of your omni-channel strategy in 2016. Think of intuitive UX as your customers’ GPS while navigating the evolving retail landscape. Get them where they want to go as efficiently as possible; that way they can spend less time wayfinding and more time shopping.
Site Audits will Become SOP in Optimization Efforts
Tony LaRusso, Director of Application Support Services
The New Year brings the opportunity for us to take a step back, evaluate where we are currently, and decide what steps to take to move forward. To evaluate how your site measures up with your business goals for the coming year, a site audit will help you discern challenges and opportunities for your online business. Site audits enable you to better optimize your site by examining everything from usability, content, site performance, server performance, integration assessments, and website security. Because of the constant change in industry standards, site audits should be performed at least twice a year.
Magento 2.0 will Excel in High Performance and Rapid Scalability
Stephen Chinn, Director of Application Hosting
2016 is going to be a great year for Magento. The long awaited introduction of Magento 2.0 brings advances that will solidify its leading position among ecommerce platforms. Though Magneto’s evolution appeared to stagnate under EBay, from the perspective of this, operations-orientated observer – at LYONSCG we host and help in the day-to-day operations of hundreds of high volume Magento stores – they’ve been working on the all the right things.
Forget flashy new functionality. With each release, Magento improved the way it handles page caching and indexing. Now, with Magento 2.0, there’s a huge leap forward in database scalability.
Magneto’s new owners introduced a licensing system that finally breaks with the practice of tying licenses to a server or CPU count. This new system will enable greater solution flexibility and remove the need to emphasize vertical over horizontal scaling.
Increased Consumerization of B2B eCommerce
David Barr, Executive Vice President
With an estimated $780 billion in online sales for 2015, we see no slowdown in B2B eCommerce. Companies in this market need to keep in mind that B2B buyers (and buying teams) are already comfortable purchasing online in their personal lives, either from their desk or increasingly with mobiles devices or tablets. If your B2B site doesn’t match the design, speed, utility and aesthetics of today’s consumer sites, you may be missing out on sales opportunities.
For those B2B firms who don’t have an eCommerce site, we’re going to see more and more of them look to launch that capability for the first time. And those firms that built their eCommerce capability on technology that came out of the early 2000’s dot-bomb era will invest in a modern consumer-like experience.
The Rise of Account Based Marketing
Steve Susina, Marketing Director
New tools and applications that provide data and analytics, and integrate with the rest of the B2B marketing stack provide new ways to focus on accounts. While Account Based Marketing (ABM) is considered a demand generation tool, eCommerce marketers will find that some ABM tools help accelerate or drive online sales. Demandbase (a leading ABM technology provider) introduced integration with the hybris eCommerce platform that enables the selling process with high-value visitors to start even before registration or login.
As firms build on their B2B eCommerce efforts, adding ABM tools to their marketing stacks to enable increased personalization to visitors from target accounts or industries, increasing conversion rates (and revenue!).
Hire Talent for their Passions
Christine Bedalow, Director of Talent Acquistion
When you think about hiring talent, cultural fit, and technical skills score high in ranking candidates. You may also rank them on teamwork, collaboration, quality of work product and problem-solving skills. But then what? How do you know if someone will be an engaged hire or just do enough work just to get by after they’ve been with the company for a year?
A key aspect for me is what the candidate is passionate about and how that ties into the job for which they’re applying. When someone is passionate about something, they have a fire in the belly that sparks curiosity to know more, engage others on the topic and push their personal limits of contribution.
Data Analytics will Lead to New Levels of Personalization
Katie Dunlap, Director of Account Management
Brands will improve their ability to know a customer’s likes and dislikes by using data to analyze their behavior. Since studies show that 48% of customers spend more when experience is personalized, data analytics will be key to increasing sales and customer loyalty.
We mean going beyond user experience data to contextual data. Companies have this data – email engagement and response, campaign referrals, mobile usage, social interactions, geolocation, customer service logs, in-store behavior, etc. – they just need to find a way to make it usable.
Make Mobile eCommerce Easy
Matthew Deming, Manager of User Experience Architecture
Mobile shopping only continues to grow (it represents 30% of all eCommerce sales). If your target market is Millennials, be sensitive to user’s data plans by creating pages that load fast and intelligently with small file sizes and minimized code. Most importantly, optimize mobile checkout experience for speed and efficiency. Provide support for streamlined payment options like PayPal. Limit the number of form fields that your customers need to complete. Make buttons and other interactive elements large enough to be tap-friendly. Support an express checkout process based upon saved addresses and payment information for customer’s with existing accounts.
How will our predictions pan out? Stay tuned! We’ll be covering these themes throughout 2016 on the LYONSCG blog, and a year from now we’ll look at how our prognosticators performed in their predictions.