Trends that Shaped the eCommerce Playing Field in 2015

Trends that Shaped the eCommerce Playing Field in 2015

Wednesday, January 27, 2016Kelly Nelson

Part of starting a new year is reflecting on the previous one. In the world of eCommerce, 2015 was a game changer. Between Mobilegeddon, social buying and other massive trends, eCommerce became a very different industry. Over the course of a year, eCommerce changed in the areas of marketing, customer service, social media and more. Below are a few examples of those changes.


We were all hit hard with Mobilegeddon

We all remember that day back in April when Mobilegeddon hit us pretty hard. The new Google algorithm was designed to give mobile-friendly sites a boost in mobile search. In case you’ve been living under a rock the past decade, everyone is on mobile now; Google was simply assisting the trend. They reminded everyone how important it was to be mobile and responsive.

The update improved overall brand recognition for many companies and store owners and encouraged users to trust websites on mobile devices more. Overall, it gave online retailers a big nudge in the right direction.


Social Buying is a thing now

Instagram and Pinterest joined the social advertising game in 2015. Users began seeing sponsored posts on Instagram and promoted pins on Pinterest more often. This became another game changer for online retailers. eCommerce marketing made a huge shift in the right direction with this trend. Merchants can now advertise in more targeted environments for their audience.

In addition to changes to the advertising realm, eCommerce merchants were given huge opportunities with the Social Buy Button movement that happened in 2015. Networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest introduced their own versions of social commerce. More information on these updates can be found on our blog.


Customer service became everything

Well, it continues to be everything. If customer service wasn’t a priority to online retailers, 2015 ensured they made it one.  24/7 service has officially become an expectation rather than a luxury for eCommerce customers. Items like free shipping, easy return policies, instant chat and phone service have become the norm, and if you are not providing these to your customers, your store could suffer. We have some tips to help you out with this.

Another important thing to note with regards to the customer experience is how the online and offline are becoming one cohesive experience. This meaning, that instead of having retail and online battle over winning the customer, they are working towards a mutually beneficial partnership. They are working together to create that perfect customer experience. Retailers are becoming more involved with the online experience. Examples of this would include in-store returns, in-store pickups, etc.


Inventory models began to change

This is really about understanding what your customers wants. Retailers like Zulily, for example, saw opportunities to win their customers over with a new inventory model. By completely leaving inventory behind, they were able to offer their customers a significant discount. They then order from the supplier directly and cross-dock the apparel to the buyer. More often, you see price being a deciding factor for customers. With this model, the customer gets a lower cost in return for a longer ship time (Shipwire).


Bringing it all together

eCommerce, like many other things, is forever changing and will never really stop. In fact, you can probably count on a similar post a year from now with completely different updates. What it comes down to at the end of the day is whether or not you’re giving your customers what they really want in a way that reaches them.

What did you learn last year as an online retailer?