2 items tagged "e-commerce"

  • E-commerce and the growing importance of data

    E-commerce and the growing importance of data

    E-commerce is claiming a bigger role in global retail. In the US for example, e-commerce currently accounts for approximately 10% of all retail sales, a number that is projected to increase to nearly 18% by 2021. To a large extent, the e-commerce of the present exists in the shadow of the industry’s early entrant and top player, Amazon. Financial analysts predict that the retail giant will control 50% of the US’ online retail sales by 2021, leaving other e-commerce stores frantically trying to take a page out of the company’s incredibly successful online retail playbook.

    While it seems unlikely that another mega-retailer will rise to challenge Amazon’s e-commerce business in the near future, at least 50% of the online retail market is wide open. Smaller and niche e-commerce stores have a ;arge opportunity to reach specialized audiences, create return customers, and cultivate persistent brand loyalty. Amazon may have had a first-mover advantage, but the rise in big data and the ease of access to analytics means that smaller companies can find areas in which to compete and improve margins. As e-retailers look for ways to expand revenues while remaining lean, data offers a way forward for smart scalability.

    Upend your back-end

    While data can improve e-commerce’s customer-facing interactions, it can have just as major an impact on the customer experience factors that take place off camera. Designing products that customers want, having products in stock, making sure that products ship on schedule, all these kind of back-end operations play a part in shaping customer experience and satisfaction. In order to shift e-commerce from a product-centric to a consumer-centric model, e-commerce companies need to invest in unifying customer data to inform internal processes and provide faster, smarter services.

    The field of drop shipping, for instance, is coming into its own thanks to smart data applications. Platforms like Oberlo are leveraging prescriptive analytics to enable intelligent product selection for Shopify stores, helping them curate trending inventory that sells, allowing almost anyone to create their own e-store. Just as every customer touchpoint can be enhanced with big data, e-commerce companies that apply unified big data solutions to their behind-the-scenes benefit from streamlined processes and workflow.

    Moreover, e-commerce companies that harmonize data across departments can identify purchasing trends and act on real-time data to optimize inventory processes. Using centralized data warehouse software like Snowflake empowers companies to create a single version of customer truth to automate reordering points and determine what items they should be stocking in the future. Other factors, such as pricing decisions, can also be finessed using big data to generate specific prices per product that match customer expectations and subsequently sell better.

    Data transforms the customer experience

    When it comes to how data can impact the overall customer experience, e-commerce companies don’t have to invent the wheel. There’s a plethora of research that novice and veteran data explorers can draw on when it comes to optimizing customer experiences on their websites. General findings on the time it takes for customers to form an opinion of a website, customers’ mobile experience expectations, best times to send promotional emails and many more metrics can guide designers and developers tasked with improving e-commerce site traffic.

    However, e-commerce sites that are interested in more benefits will need to invest in more specific data tools that provide a 360-degree view of their customers. Prescriptive analytic tools like Tableau empower teams to connect the customer dots by synthesizing data across devices and platforms. Data becomes valuable as it provides insights that allow companies to make smarter decisions based on each consumer identify inbound marketing opportunities and automate recommendations and discounts based on the customer’s previous behavior.

    Data can also inspire changes in a field that has always dominated the customer experience: customer support. The digital revolution has brought substantial changes in the once sleepy field of customer service, pioneering new ways of direct communication with agents via social media and introducing the now ubiquitous AI chatbots. In order to provide the highest levels of customer satisfaction throughout these new initiatives, customer support can utilize data to anticipate when they might need more human agents staffing social media channels or the type of AI persona that their customers want to deal with. By improving customer service with data, e-commerce companies can improve the entire customer experience.

    Grow with your data

    As more and more data services migrate to the cloud, e-commerce companies have ever-expanding access to flexible data solutions that both fuel growth and scale alongside the businesses they’re helping. Without physical stores to facilitate face-to-face relationships, e-commerce companies are tasked with transforming their digital stores into online spaces that customers connect with and ultimately want to purchase from again and again.

    Data holds the key to this revolution. Instead of trying to force their agenda upon customers or engage in wild speculations about customer desires, e-commerce stores can use data to craft narratives that engage customers, create a loyal brand following, and drive increasing profits. With only about 2.5% of e-commerce & web visits converting to saleson average, e-commercecompanies that want to stay competitive must open themselves up to big data and the growth opportunities it offers.

    Author: Ralph Tkatchuck

    Source: Dataconomy

  • E-commerce is rising through the roof, but what does this mean for brands and consumers?

    E-commerce is rising through the roof, but what does this mean for brands and consumers?

    With the whole world going virtual last year, it’s no surprise that the ecommerce industry exploded. But as the industry continues to grow, how does this affect brands? Specifically, how they interact with and reach their consumers?

    It doesn’t take a marketing expert to tell you that ecommerce or online stores had a remarkably good year in 2020.

    Prolonged periods of lockdown across the globe meant that in-store and online commerce broke records in very different ways. Consumers were forced to replace shopping bags with virtual baskets and their cars with laptops or phones as the world went virtual and the ecommerce trade exploded.

    Where most companies suffered, Amazon and other ecommerce platforms profited greatly. Brands who were already selling on ecommerce sites doubled down on activity, while brands who were not scrambled to quickly digitize their shopper experience.

    But what will happen when the world returns back to “normal?” With the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines, there is hope that 2021 will bring some sense of normalcy back into our lives and (certainly looking beyond next year!) many could expect life to resemble pre-COVID times. So does that mean ecommerce growth will stutter?

    Not at all. According to this recent eMarketer report, the ecommerce industry is projected to approach $5 trillion this year and will continue to grow over the next few years.

    In this article, we’ll discuss what this rise in ecommerce means for brands and consumers, as well as the effect this may have on mobile advertising.

    So, what does this mean for brands?

    Is maintaining success as simple as investing more in digital and riding that ecommerce wave? We would argue not.

    Yes, more consumers are buying online than ever before, but this also means that more brands are online, making the environment much more competitive.

    With the continued rise of ecommerce traffic, brands will need to work harder to stand out and ensure they have real clarity in their messaging, offers and propositions. The biggest risk for brands is to become complacent and believe that heavier online consumer behavior will naturally drive sales.

    The pressure to blend brick and mortar experiences with digital ones, like buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) is continuing to increase. According to both Forbes and Adobe Analytics data, BOPIS orders increased by 208% from April 1st to April 20th, 2020 from the same period a year prior.

    But while consumers are shopping online more and more, that doesn't mean they're willing to wait on the often unreliable shipping timelines that are plaguing the industry. Getting people what they ordered online today isn't easy — and the operational investment in omnichannel fulfillment is substantial.

    Brands must make sure that their investment pays off. This means ensuring the offer not only gets eyeballs, but stands out against competitors in both speed and execution.

    Mobile hot spot

    Another trend that’s drafting the surge of ecommerce shopping is mobile advertising and mobile ecommerce.

    If you look at the growth of digital advertising over the last 20 years and the projected growth, it comes nearly solely from mobile. Now, you might be asking yourself “why is this relevant to ecommerce?”

    Well, if you think about visiting Amazon on your phone vs on your laptop, you will naturally see less products on your phone. This puts even more emphasis on brands to stand out in this competitive environment and take advantage of advertising or sponsored positions in what is now the most cost-effective way to drive sales.

    Final thoughts

    Our advice? Don’t assume the ecommerce shopping will tank once we’re cleared of the pandemic. Pandora’s box has been opened to a world of even more on-demand shopping, and you need to be where your people are.

    As technology advances, the ecommerce space is bound to become more and more competitive — the world’s recent series of lockdowns and quarantines caused by COVID-19 have only boosted our already increasingly digital world.

    So adapt and pivot your strategies rather than becoming complacent and waiting until this passes. If you haven’t already, dive deeper into your mobile advertising and ecommerce opportunities and listen to your audience to find what resonates with them. 

    Author: Ernie Collings

    Source: Zappi

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