eCommerce methods and practices are constantly evolving.
Worldwide adoption of the Internet, smartphone devices and tablets bring plenty of ways to reinvent commerce as we know it. There are many services and sites online and on the mobile platforms which do allow anyone without specific online technology knowledge to start building and growing eCommerce or mobile commerce businesses. You don’t have to be web designer or developer to start your online shop anymore. And this contributes to even more rapid growth of online and mobile shopping.
Knowing all this, what are the trends to watch for throughout 2014? 3 very interesting ones are pointed out by Get Elastic.
Improved Product Search & Discovery
This is still a bit of a vague idea, and the truth is the average Internet consumer would probably rate current search capabilities pretty highly. However, the Get Elastic article explains the concept by making note of modern “smart” technologies such as the Nest thermostat or Nike Fuelband. These sorts of technologies recognize individual user needs and act accordingly, and the expectation is that e-commerce will ultimately benefit from similar intelligence in improved search systems. A search engine that is able to not just process, but understand and interpret a request, can provide more personalized results, and more accurately direct consumers to appropriate product sites.
Expanded Merchandising Solutions
This is a simpler and more immediately available concept, and essentially involves the expansion of online catalogs and shopping practices into new forums. These new forums might be anything from mobile apps, to social networking ads and applications, to basic online advertising. This sort of expanded merchandising is already fully in practice, but is likely to continue to expand rapidly throughout 2014. Internet casino and betting sites actually offer great examples to consider. The Betfair online casino program, in its annual report, noted that mobile performance had been strong, with roughly 50% of the site’s exchange users having placed a bet on a mobile device in the past year. Furthermore, betting sites make use of add placement and market availability on sites accessible to consumers, and are often active in social networking as well. These may not be traditional online store atmospheres, but the practices are the same.
Product Page Attraction
The previous two trends focus on direct appeal to consumers through enhanced search engines and expanded merchandising. However, the idea of attracting consumers to your product pages through existing images, reviews, etc. can also be effective, and is possible through various technologies. The most basic example would be a site or company contacting anyone who’s posted reviews to input links to product pages. However, this practice requires cooperation. Get Elastic makes note of technologies like Ditto, which are capable of recognizing images, titles etc. across the web, giving you an idea of where your products are appearing and enabling you to use that information to attract consumers.
It’s likely that there are additional changes on the way that are more difficult to see, but these marketing and exposure concepts will help to shape the e-commerce industry in 2014.