The world of e-commerce is constantly changing, with innovative technologies rising each day that can boost the capabilities of any company. However, businesses can sometimes lose their way in such a fast-paced market, and lose their sales and customer trust as well. To combat this, companies should always be on the lookout for new and better ways to serve their audiences.
As with any technology boom, e-commerce had to shake off some growing pains. Now, from customer trust to efficient transaction systems, the industry has finally found its footing and is expanding at light speed. How can retailers and other e-commerce providers stay afloat? By staying current on the latest developments and guaranteeing they’re always ahead of the game. Here are five things e-commerce companies should keep their eye on, or risk falling behind.
New Ways to Process Payments
One of the biggest speedbumps e-commerce had to get over to become a popular form of shopping was handling customer transactions. While the standard credit card payment has made leaps and bounds, it is still a restrictive form of payment. Not all customers have credit cards, and some prefer not to share these details online regardless. To get around these fears, some firms have developed simpler and more secure payment methods.
Companies, such as Stockholm-based Trustly, have created a streamlined solution allowing customers to pay for shopping, gaming, and other services online. Trustly’s service lets buyers make direct transfers from their bank account, letting them use a single account and without sharing any additional information. With similar technologies and payment solutions emerging daily, successful e-commerce businesses should always be on the lookout for the best fit for their models.
Trustly saw a massive jump in transaction volumes in 2016, hitting €3.2 billion, due to the company’s effortless solution and clear goals.
“We did a big push at the end of 2015 because we said to ourselves, we want to be the European bank payment provider for merchants. E-commerce is becoming increasingly cross-border. If you’re online, you increasingly want to sell to not only your own market but also across Europe. If they integrate with us, they can get paid by consumers across all of Europe. No one else can do that,” Oscar Berglund, the company’s CEO, said.
Even with advances in online security, many customers remain reluctant to buy online, due to of fears of hacking or other data breaches. Many major firms have been hacked in recent years, and some of the world’s largest corporations have fallen victim to cybercriminals. Consumers are rightly worried that their most sensitive financial details could end up in the wrong hands. As a response, the industry has taken decisive steps to increase the security of their services, adding innovative solutions and robust measures that improve customer safety.
These include everything from basic web security such as HTTPS protocols, which most modern websites consider the status quo, to more specific encryption technology and endpoint security systems. Businesses can be proactive and raise their security profile by adding security certificates such as Secure Sockets Layer, creating degrees of authentication, and improving their compliance. By offering customers a safe environment to shop, retailers can leapfrog their competitors.
Emerging Market Trends
In recent years, cryptocurrencies have become a darling of the online community. With a fully decentralized currency model, new entrants such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are gaining steam as payment methods. While they are still in their relative infancies, these new cryptocurrencies have the potential to become transaction mainstays.
Even trends such as drone delivery, which Amazon has been investing in heavily, can disrupt the market and create a new status quo. Virtual reality could also revolutionize the way customers shop by creating a digital store that customers can visit. E-commerce businesses will benefit immensely by studying these new trends and looking for ways to integrate them into their existing models.
Selling is a crucial component of e-commerce, but sales don’t happen in a vacuum. Instead, companies must work to get consumers onto their website. Once there, they must convert views into clicks and purchases. This is a complex process, as consumers are wary of traditional advertising, and the breadth of online options means they can simply shop elsewhere if they are unsatisfied.
Companies that adapt novel marketing strategies and embrace current fads can stay ahead of competitors. New modes of marketing such as content writing, social media, pay-per-click, and viral campaigns can be a boon to businesses. Businesses that continue to spend their dollars on traditional channels are faced with the possibility of losing their existing market shares. To stay current, e-commerce businesses should always have an ear to the street for the newest marketing fads such as online courses and digital products.
More and more, customers are ditching their laptops and desktop computers in favor of their mobile phones. As smartphones and tablets expand their reach, the traditional website is being forced to change. Companies must reevaluate their existing platforms to determine if they are mobile-friendly. Clunky websites are falling by the wayside.
The smartest e-commerce businesses will invest heavily into creating usable, engaging, and accessible applications. Customers will flock to technology that is easy to use, and by simplifying their shopping experience, businesses can put themselves firmly in consumers’ good graces.
Staying Informed Means Staying Ahead
Regardless of their niche or specific industry, companies can greatly benefit from embracing these new trends and emerging solutions. By implementing these novel technologies, companies can attract more customers and improve their odds for success.