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5 New Year’s Resolutions To Grow Your eCommerce Business in 2018

5 New Year’s Resolutions To Grow Your eCommerce Business in 2018 Dotcom Distribution

With 2017 officially in the books, brands will be using 2017 sales data and industry trends and predictions to map out their strategies for a prosperous 2018. With that in mind, here are five New Year’s resolutions emerging eCommerce brands should consider to help increase awareness and secure repeat customers in 2018.

Invest in Mobile

According to a recent Salesforce report, 58% of traffic to retail sites during the holiday season came from mobile devices. We expect that trend to continue, so businesses must respond by creating a convenient mobile experience, especially if they want to attract younger consumers. For example, with regard to the record-breaking $6.59 billion in online sales during 2017 Cyber Monday, 75% of millennials expected to shop via their smartphone at the time the data was collected.

Another important tool is having a responsive website but it should be just one piece. A good goal for the New Year could be to create a branded mobile app. According to software development and consulting company RubyGarage, 78% of users would rather access a retailer through an app than a mobile site. Here’s another compelling reason for brands and retailers:  shoppers are less likely to abandon their carts on mobile apps than other platforms.  

Apps offer several benefits that aren’t as easily available on other channels, including:

  • Push notifications, which can convey valuable messages such as product availability and promotions directly to customers’ phones.  
  • Loyalty programs to increase the likelihood of converting shoppers into return customers.    

Emphasize Personalization Across All Channels

It’s no secret that creating a personalized shopping experience improves customer loyalty. One eMarketer report notes that 48% of US marketers realized a 10% increase in revenue due to increased personalization. These efforts involve tracking customers’ shopping activity across all channels, as well as making recommendations and offering promotions across these channels based on this data.  

While already common for online shopping, many brands are starting to utilize in-store technologies to track customers’ activity and recommend items in person. It shouldn’t stop there. eCommerce retailers should be tracking and analyzing their customers’ tendencies across every channel. Shoppers aren’t sticking to just one device, so why would retailers?

Expand Shipping Options

In the already competitive retail industry, it is imperative to make your brand experience (from start to finish)  as desirable as possible. While product quality may seem like the most obvious solution, others exist in the order delivery stage that can have a lasting effect. According to Zebra’s 2017 Global Shopper Study, 66% of shoppers want next-day or same-day delivery. While this may not be possible for every emerging retailer, it indicates that customer expectations are rising and all brands need to keep up.

According to a Statista report, 26% percent of digital shoppers in 2017 abandoned their carts due to slow estimated shipping time, while 54% cited expensive shipping as the main reason for not completing a purchase. This indicates that estimated shipping times and costs can literally make or break a sale in this new age of shopper demands. Further, discounts and faster delivery are among the highest factors that participating shoppers said would increase their trust in a brand, as indicated in Dotcom Distribution’s 2017 eCommerce Study.

One way to successfully deliver (no pun intended) is by outsourcing these responsibilities to a third-party logistics (3PL) partner. A fulfillment expert can efficiently help brands create a positive experience that online shoppers now expect.

Look to AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword surrounding myriad industries lately, and eCommerce is no exception. This new technology, however, may not be as intimidating as it seems. Many retailers are already using AI to create a more convenient shopping experience.

Learning how to implement AI can be vital for emerging brands who do not have the time or staff to tackle the demanding task of analyzing data to predict shopping habits or retarget potential customers. According to Forbes, the improved message targeting led to a significant increase in orders and revenue, and the brand continues to utilize the technology to target increasingly unique customer personas.

AI can also be used in the form of chatbots that allow shoppers to quickly obtain vital information about their orders, which contributes to improving a brand’s overall transparency. While Chatbots may not serve as a true replacement for human customer service, customers can access them at their convenience and will likely not have to wait long, if at all, for availability.   

Create a Showroom Experience

Online-only retailers are missing an important feature that brick-and-mortar stores offer: the ability to touch a product in person before buying it. This is especially significant for apparel brands, as shoppers historically like to try items on before purchasing.

One way online brands can create a similar in-store experience is with the showroom concept. With pop-up shops and short-term lease availability, growing retailers can open smaller stores with limited stock that allow shoppers to sample or try on products. Doing so can help emerging brands appeal to more customers who value the in-store experience while adding the “get it while you can” urgency, which can potentially increase sales. Remember, setting up a store and handling orders and deliveries is a complex task. Having a plan that includes an experienced team responsible for handling the fulfillment for this strategy is paramount to its success.

While these suggestions can serve as effective starting points for serious improvements to emerging eCommerce retailers, actually implementing the necessary changes can be difficult without proper support. To learn more about Dotcom Distribution’s services designed to assist with the needs of growing brands, contact us or schedule a tour.