This is part two in a two-part series. Read part one here
In part one of our eCommerce trends guide for 2015, we shared several technologies and concepts that are revolutionizing the industry as we know it. In this installment, we continue to look into the new and innovative to help your company be all it can be in 2015.
Don’t forget about these important ideas as you’re forming your plan of attack for the new year:
Tapping the wearables market. You don’t have to invent a wearable device to take advantage of them as a marketing tool. Wearables are a virtually untapped market today, but by tomorrow, you could easily be using them to remind customers about upcoming flash sales, giving them updates about their order fulfillment or offering limited time coupons via Google Glass and Smart Watches.
Increasing supply chain flexibility. Customers today expect product distribution to be lightning fast, even if you’re not Amazon.com. This may require that you expand your supply chains or find increasingly flexible options to get your goods into the hands of your loyal customers quickly and without errors. Hiring a 3rd party logistics (3PL) firm is another way to help get everything done faster.
Adding free returns. A customer takes a great deal of risk placing an order with an eCommerce company they don’t know — but part of that risk is negated when they feel like they can return their purchase if it isn’t right. Some companies, like Old Navy, allow in-store returns of online purchases, others provide free shipping back to the warehouse. However you want to handle it, make sure you give customers an option. Free returns are one of the biggest requests of customers everywhere, and one of the factors most influencing their likelihood to spend money online.
Preparing for even bigger buying days. Black Friday has always been a big buying day for American retailers, but eCommerce isn’t limited to just one or two predictable buying days a year. Depending on the markets you’re expanding into, your buying days may be all over the calendar (November 11 is big in China). Even if you aim to limit your sales to within the U.S., Cyber Monday is growing by leaps and bounds, with a 29 percent year over year increase in 2014 to $2.3 billion dollars.
Staying afloat in the ever-changing world of eCommerce can be a significant challenge, especially for smaller companies, but it is definitely possible to remain competitive if you pay attention to the trends emerging around you. Don’t be afraid to leap a little — eCommerce is a brave, new world full of lots of exciting possibilities for those businesses that aren’t afraid to take a chance.