This is part two in a two-part series. You can read part one here.
In part one of this two-part series, we discussed some of the up and coming trends that small business eCommerce needs to watch to stay competitive in the market. In this second part we’ll continue that trend, with four more vital trends to stay on top of.
Although eCommerce sometimes feels like fighting against incoming ocean waves and undertows that threaten to pull you under, there’s a lot you can predict if you’re in the habit of watching for new trends. The year 2017 is no different and as eCommerce begins to mature as a retail sector, it’s even more vital that your eCommerce order fulfillment services are taking every advantage.
These are four more trends you should be devoting attention to this coming year:
- Free and fast shipping. Faster and cheaper are the important words for shipping in 2017. The faster you can get your packages to their destination, the better, and it’ll reward you in customer happiness and loyalty.When major retailers are able to offer two to three day shipping, you have to be able to compete. A 3rd party fulfillment partner can help you achieve this goal if you don’t have the manpower in your own facility to dedicate to faster shipping and returns processing.
- Social selling. eCommerce expert Oberlo predicts that social selling will be the thing in 2017. Although plenty of companies will continue to exist without it, those that adopt this tool ahead of the curve will see good returns.Along with being able to share their favorite items on social media, social selling allows users to buy them for the first time without the hassle of an external site. As you well know, the easier it is to buy, the more readily shoppers will do what they do best.
- Subscription-based models. Social selling is just one of a few sales models that show real promise for 2017. Subscription-based selling is also gaining speed, with companies like Dollar Shave Club leading the way with revenues that far exceed those of typical businesses. Offering items on subscription for a small discount could increase your sales dramatically. Besides keeping certain items stocked in shoppers’ pantries, you’ll remind them of your name and company every month when their new shipment arrives.
- Chatbots and AI. Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting smarter every year. Today you can employ a chatbot to help with self-service customer service or use AI to help predict what a shopper will want to buy and expect either to perform with a very high level of accuracy. When you have tools like chatbots and AI to help lighten the load, you can do a lot more with a small staff, saving you money and time.
eCommerce shops are used to rolling with the latest waves in customer demands, but every year brings a little something special with it. This year, keep an eye to AI, subscription-based models and free shipping if you want to remain competitive in the digital world.