When we’re talking sales, we’re not just talking about phone calls and meetings. Marketing intelligence agency Mintel came up with a research in 2015, showing that about 69% of the adult US citizens shop online monthly. The number is expected to grow by up to 45% this year, according to Smart Insights Agency. Whether you’re managing sales directly for an ecommerce business, working in an industry that is slowly moving to ecommerce (like the mortgage industry), or just are thinking about the future, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the trends in this space.
Before the smartphone and the tablet rose to rule the online world, having a mobile version of the app was welcome but not required. Those days are long gone, and in the middle of 2016 we can consciously say that the majority of internet surfing — including online shopping — happens on handheld devices. Therefore it’s in your shop’s best interest to look its best and respond to every gesture on those 9.7 inch touch screens.
Big Data for A Big Future
Wouldn’t it be just perfect if you had a (more or less) reliable crystal ball that would tell you how the future of online sales looks based on the data gathered about the behaviour patterns of your current customers? Well, the future is here. Marketing analytics tools combined with big data provide exactly these insights. If you’re not using this kind of software, you’re not only leaving money on the table, you’re probably falling behind your competitors.
Social Media Power
It’s not just about promoting new goods and getting likes. Yes, it’s the core of social media advertising, but the sales have moved to the next level. Most of the big-name social-media platforms have begun implementing buttons and other built-in gadgets allowing the visitor to make a purchase directly from your social media profile. It is an incredibly powerful way to engage your customers directly — plus, they are often pre-selected by very precise ad targeting, which means conversion rates should be much higher than traditional ways of reaching your customers.
Haven’t heard of this one? Don’t worry, you’re not alone — but the world is starting to move this way. It’s a perfect way to communicate with customers directly, providing them with news or discounts by slipping directly into their pockets, so to speak. Essentially, it’s a way to interact with people’s smartphones based on their physical location (e.g., when they walk by your storefront). It’s just like website analytics, but in real life! It’s not just for Apple, but Forbes has a writeup on Apple’s version, if you want to learn more.
Most people don’t like most popups. However, quality popups used in moderation can be extremely effective. More and more you’ll see exit-intent popups — when you move your mouse somewhere as if you’re going to close the window, a pop-up appears just before you do, giving you the chance to sign up! This works best if you have something you can give away for free, in exchange for gathering the email address (eBooks are popular, but there are lots of other options — use your imagination).
Polished Website Design
If you look around the web, you’ll find lots of ecommerce sites — even relatively new ones — that look like their website was designed in 2002. But you’ll see that the most successful ones look a lot sexier than that. While it’s true that often, simple is best, with the modern web there’s no reason you can’t have a site be both simple and beautiful. Hire a skilled graphic designer for your website, and hire a professional web developer to implement that design. First impression matters, especially in an environment as dynamic and competitive as sales. Accessibility and easy navigation are a must, but spectacular graphics are the first thing a customer sees when he or she comes to your website. When creating or re-making the website, don’t ever settle for anything less than high-res photos or videos and quality design.
Enhancing Customer Experience
This covers a lot of territory, but it’s really what you’re seeing as the big differentiator in ecommerce businesses these days. Does the site have a good system for recommending additional or alternative purchases? Is it easy to purchase (think Amazon one-click)? Is it easy to get answers to questions (is there a chat box to immediately talk to someone from customer service)?
Whether e-commerce is the driving force of your sales or just something you’re currently looking at as a future possibility, keep in mind that what’s in today will be outdated tomorrow, maybe even later today. But the extra effort is worth it – keeping up with the latest development will help you boost your sales and get or stay ahead of the competition.