Last year 77% of internet users in the UK made a purchase online and when this year’s stats are released, that figure is expected to increase by 15%. Everyone wants a slice of this pie but with ecommerce being as fast changing as it is, are you missing out and falling behind your competitors.

In this article, we look at the ecommerce trends you’re likely to see in 2017 and talk about how you can be ready in order to keep ahead of the competition.

Let’s dive in!…

 

1) Mobile-First

‘Mobile First’ has been a term that we’ve all been hearing more and more, particularly in 2016. And when Google announced earlier this year that they would be switching to a Mobile-first Index, I’m not sure why it took so many people by surprise.

With Google announcing that they are now testing their Mobile-first Index, it’s likely that early 2017 will see this implemented.

Mobile

Even as late as early 2016, I got involved in a migration late on and asked what they’d done about mobile. Blank faces followed and despite 55% of their traffic coming from mobile, no one had even looked at the site on mobile with the migration pending. So, everything was delayed while a focus was given to mobile.

Many people are still stuck in their ways when it comes to desktop rather than mobile but in 2017 this needs to be flipped on its head. Remember, this will be a “single index of websites and apps” so there will be no separate index for desktop.

Does your mobile site offer an awesome user experience? Are users converting on mobile or are you seeing a lot of drop offs? Are you checking the mobile site as much as the desktop version? Are you tracking mobile rankings? Ecommerce SEO is about to change again so don’t get left behind by ignoring the number one traffic source.

If you’re not doing all of this in 2017, you’re going to fall behind pretty quickly. And with mobile now representing 65 percent of all digital media time, why wouldn’t you?

Some are even talking about desktop being completely phased out but I think we’re a long way off that. That’s certainly not something we need to be thinking about for 2017 anyway. Remember that although mobile is now the dominating traffic source, conversions are still better on desktop. People often use mobile for research and purchasing decisions and then buy on desktop. So don’t write off desktop just yet.

2) Increased Payment Options

On the subject of purchasing, buying options have been on the increase and this isn’t likely to change.

With more and more ecommerce sites implementing the likes of PayPal, Google Wallet, Square, Amazon Payments, Bitcoin, V.me and Stripe just to name a few, site owners need to start thinking about what their users want for ease of purchasing.

Does Your site offer the payment options your users want? Does your site look trustworthy? Would users be happy to pay via mobile as well as desktop?

The decline of card use

<img class="aligncenter wp-image-278" src="https://www.orbonline.co.uk/app/uploads/2016/11/payment-options.jpg" sizes="(max-width: 460px) 100vw, 460px" srcset="https://www.orbonline.co.uk/app/uploads/2016/11/payment-options.jpg 640w, https://www.orbonline.co.uk/app/uploads/2016/11/payment-options-300×225.jpg 300w, https://www.orbonline.co benicar online.uk/app/uploads/2016/11/payment-options-285×214.jpg 285w” alt=”Increased Payment Options” width=”460″ height=”345″ />

We’ve already seen an increase in mobile payments and now we’re even seeing a rise in payments from things like wearables.

An in 2017 this will continue to be experimented with. In 2016 during the Rio Olympics, VISA gave their sponsored athletes a payment ring that enabled them to pay at approximately 4,500 points at the Olympic venues by tapping the ring on the payment terminals.

And also in 2016, MasterCard launched ‘selfie pay’ which is a service that confirms a user’s identity using biometrics.

What new technology and payment options will 2017 bring? Will new be looking out for the options that your customers would love and would help you convert better?

3) Artificial Intelligence is Here

Despite Google becoming a ‘Mobile-first’ search company, the next step for them is to move from a mobile-first world to a AI-first world. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google has been quoted as saying “we’re moving from mobile-first world to AI-first world. We want to build a personal Google for every user.”

And it’s not that far away. With the increase of personalised user experiences, devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, and AI customer service innovations like Chatbot, 2017 promises to expand on these and introduce even more exciting technologies, that get more intelligent with each release.

Artificial Intelligence

Speaking of Chatbot… with big brands such as Burger King, Pizza Hut, H&M and Victoria’s Secret using Chatbot technology, with the first two allowing you to order food directly through Facebook Messenger and Twitter by messaging their ‘bots’, this is something that smaller brands could utilise to really get ahead of the competition in terms of user experience. Live chat users spend an average of 5-30% more money on ecommerce sites with a 5 to 10 times higher conversion rate, so it will be interesting to see the impending stats for Chatbot solutions .

4) Scepticism Around Social ‘Buy’ Buttons Will Remain

With an increased number of options to buy directly from social channels, you’d think these huge channels would be driving sales like flies to s***.

However, multiple sources such as Business Insider are saying users are just not using the ‘Buy’ buttons on social platforms. So why not? Think of this from your own perspective… We have only just got used to giving up our card details to a site that we’re happy looks secure, uses HTTPS, and we have researched via a number of channels. Then we have social platforms (that have their share of publicity related to privacy issues) and they suddenly stick a ‘Buy’ button on posts.

Buy Now

Would you rather pay on one of these social media platforms or the website you’d be buying the product from anyway?

More than half of consumers who follow brands on social media sites say they do so to view products but these people are using these platforms for ‘research’. that doesn’t mean they necessarily want to buy directly from those platforms.

So, should social ‘Buy’ buttons be high on your priority list? Probably not but like with all things, it depends. So test if you have the time and budget but I certainly wouldn’t put important tasks on hold for this.

5) Logistics and Delivery

To stay ahead of your competitors in 2017, you will almost certainly need to be looking at your logistics and delivery options. With Amazon already offering same-day delivery in some areas, more and more brands are going to be following suit to satisfy increasingly demanding consumers. If you’re still offering 5-7 day delivery times, 2017 is the time to review this.

Customers want things fast and free, with fast being the higher priority of the two in most cases.

Fast Delivery

Conclusion

The world of ecommerce is changing faster than ever before and with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence, it’s going to be easy for ecommerce sites, big and small, to fall behind. Don’t be one of those sites!