Our 5 Predictions for eCommerce in 2013
2012 was a great year for eCommerce in general, as we have seen how sales records were continually broken in different countries and sectors. There were also some bad news, such as the closing down of some eCommerce websites (the most recent one, Alice.es). These pieces of news help us to keep our feet on the ground and realise that being in a sector which “grows by itself” does not equal surviving, and that growing in this sector is not an easy task at all.
But what can we expect in 2013? We are sure that there will be a lot of work, growth, and great changes in the sector. But we would like to specify 5 trends which we strongly believe in and which we believe will attract the most movement and effort over 2013:
Responsive design as standard
Mobile Commerce is one of the trends currently driving the market, and, with the rise of smartphones and tablets, in 2013 we will see a lot of growth and development in this respect. Taking this into account, and the fact that the mobile market is quite segmented, retailers who want to offer shopping experiences suitable for all users must adopt responsive designs that adapt to any kind of terminal or resolution. Responsive design is a great tool which, we are sure, will attain a significant level of acceptance, becoming the standard for online store design.
No More eCommerce (Cross-channel)
eCommerce will cease to be an “experiment” for many brands and retailers, and thus we will lose eCommerce differentiation. We will have to increasingly focus on cross-channel and multi-channel strategies, and thus we will talk more about Commerce and less about eCommerce. As the “store owners” or sellers, we must be able to adapt to the various channels and use them in a suitable way, but we shouldn’t make the online channel compete against the rest of channels. 2013 will be the year of “online awakening” for many offline giants, and, both for them and for the rest of retailers, what will be important will be the global view and the complementary nature of the channels. eCommerce will grow a lot in this way, even if it loses its name along the way.
(Real) personalisation for all
Unique shopping experiences are one of the key factors in the success of eCommerce, and e-retailers are increasingly clear about this. We already published an infographic of how eCommerce is becoming more and more personal. Taking into account the maturity level of personalisation solutions (such as those which we offer here at BrainSINS) and the increasing interest and level of adoption of this technology by the main online stores, in 2013 we will see how personalisation reaches the “mass” of online stores, becoming the core or at least a differential element for many of them.
And it won’t reach only websites, but will become integrated in multi-channel strategies, particularly in the mobile channel, which as we said will grow dramatically in 2013. Adoption of these technologies will also lead to a significant change in the discourse on privacy which has generated such incoherent laws as the European cookie regulations. Users will start to realise how use of their public information and navigation data can provide value for them during the shopping process, and this change in user perception, together with an increasingly ethical behaviour on the part of retailers, will lead to a reconsideration of this kind of restrictive legislation, which places European retailers at a disadvantage with respect to American retailers, over 2013/2014.
The rise of loyalty programmes and gamification
We also strongly believe that 2013 will be the year when the conversion funnel is turned around, and a large part of the eCommerce sector will start to develop loyalty programmes and even adopt gamification techniques to increase user motivation, loyalty, and connection in a more suitable way. Until now, many retailers focused on growing buyer figures as much as possible, but they forgot to offer added value for their customers – the users who had already placed their trust in them.
Many online store managers are realising that they have a mother lode in their databases, and those who are capable of implementing the best loyalty programmes and connecting in a more adequate way with their users will be able to grow their income in 2013 while investing less in user capture. It will be probably in the user loyalty area that the knowledge acquired by offline retailers will play a key role to adopt more successful strategies.
Real Social Commerce
Social Commerce is one the main trends together with Mobile Commerce. But whereas Mobile Commerce only displays positive signs, Social Commerce leaves a bittersweet feel, with highly positive news (particularly trend and future trend reports), but also with many actual experiences were not quite so good or cheery. As we see it, Social Commerce has the potential described in many reports (or even more so), but the problem is that the “implementations” which we have seen so far are too basic.
In 2013, we will see how many projects based on actually social and collaborative shopping experiences are created. The winner of the EEC Launch this year was Edenes, a promising Social Shopping platform, and this won’t be the only social platform to emerge in 2013. Taking into account the fact that Social Commerce still has a long way to go, many of these projects will fail due to their inability to connect with user needs and reality, but the winners will have a brilliant future ahead of them.