With extreme growth in ecommerce, retail business industry is going through a huge transformation. According to an estimate, during last 5 years ecommerce has grown twice as fast as retail industry. No doubt, exploding growth in smartphones and tablets is driving force behind this shift towards ecommerce. Business and technology experts are forecasting even higher growth rate of ecommerce in coming few years. Therefore, it is right time for small businesses to adapt to new technologies, tools and social trends rather than cursing ecommerce as an enemy of independent retail industry.
In today's digital world, it is highly important that businesses keep an eye on ever changing (ecommerce) tools for business. Staying abreast of customer behaviour and social trends can help to evolve profitable and competitive business strategy.
In future, to stay relevant and competitive, small retail businesses need to focus on following five areas;
1. Stay mobile friendly
Ecommerce market is expected to reach $1.5 trillion sales in 2014, and estimated share of mobile phones and tablets will be around 20% and 65%, respectively. In coming few years, mobile based ecommerce is going to expand exponentially, where mobile and tablets, and ecommerce enabled platforms will play highly critical role. Therefore, it is utmost important to stay updated about new trends in mobile ecommerce. Non existence of mobile friendly website means losing a considerable chunk of potential business. Therefore, online businesses not only need mobile friendly ecommerce solutions but also keep them updated according to ever changing mobile platforms.
2. Make product research easier
Offering right product to right customer at right time is key to success for any business. However, putting this concept in practice is a daunting task - it involves 3 key steps; identifying potential customer profile, predicting right product, and presenting it when needed. To achieve this goal, retail businesses need to focus on following things; collect maximum information about customer requirements, setup customer profile and update it when required, and personalize content in accordance with customer profile – Amazon and Netflix are classic examples of content curation personalization.
3. Keep shopping cart intuitive
Ecommerce solution must allow intuitive and seamless shopping experience across desktop PC, mobile and tablet devices. This does not only allow customers to freely move around their devices, but gives a sense of mature and stable brand of business. Secondly, adding to cart and checking out should involve minimum effort/clicks and always show opt-in email option so that you can send marketing emails to interested customers and can win over their loyalty towards your brand.
4. Global payment processing
Ecommerce and online shopping behavior is trending globally. To capture this opportunity, online businesses are now expanding beyond borders. In this activity, secure payment and saving additional charges have been the key issues. Consequently, some tech companies are now offering technology to process payments globally – this is a step forward. Therefore, if you're online retail business has or may have global reach; you should get best reliable payment processing technology.
5. Customer loyalty and e-mail marketing
In ecommerce, email is the most popular and effective marketing channel. Online businesses must have an effective and dynamic email marketing strategy in place. Because email marketing is considered high ROI generator, every business is trying to reach to customers' inbox. One standard email to every customer will probably be less effective than one consisting of personalized dynamic contents. Therefore, ultimate goal of email marketing strategy should be to build a loyalty relationship with the customer.