The future of retail is eCommerce. Are you ready to invest?

The new financial year is upon us and with it a multitude of business decisions to be made. When it comes to eCommerce, UX and website development, standing still is not an option for businesses focused on growth. Retailers and manufacturers are looking to make pertinent investments to propel them ahead of the competition. Just like any bricks and mortar store, your eCommerce website must be built upon a strong foundation, with the potential to grow with your ambition.

The success of many businesses is down to their ability to anticipate and embrace change, to deploy cutting-edge marketing technology developed for growth and customer retention, and to provide a lifetime value to their consumers. Does your current platform provide you with opportunity?

With many businesses still in a period of recovery post pandemic, eCommerce should be at the forefront of retailers’ and manufacturers’ minds. But Covid aside, consumer behaviour is in a constant state of flux with more and more people leading digitally led lifestyles. With the rate at which technology is progressing, customer expectations are rapidly becoming more labyrinthine. It is imperative that businesses can adapt and change as quickly and economically as possible.

To invest, or not to invest?

There are plenty of articles available that list the signs that you need a new eCommerce platform. However, you can usually fix these things without upgrading to a new platform. The usual culprits include the following:

• A high bounce rate
• Slow page load speeds
• Your brand isn’t properly reflected
• It looks dated and offers a poor customer experience
• You’re not ranking on Google for key terms
• Your content doesn’t convey the right message and isn’t optimised for SEO
• The navigation is confusing and convoluted
• Poor lead conversion rates
• The site isn’t optimised for mobile or designed with consumers on the move in mind.
• Your site doesn’t align with your digital strategy.

Whilst all these points are relevant indicators that you need to be investing in your website, there are other things to consider in the dynamic world of eCommerce. Here is what future-focused businesses looking to scale should be considering:

• If your long-term business plan includes expansion into new territories or sub-brands, does your current platform allow you to deploy multiple storefronts, or territories?
• If you already successfully operate multinational sites, consolidating regions into one platform provides a multitude of benefits in terms of website maintenance and reporting.
• In reference to the impending “cookie-pocalypse”, are you able to deploy a direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategy alongside B2B and start collecting zero-party data?
• Are you planning to streamline the internal sales process electronically, perhaps you’re looking to go paperless, or give your partners and consumers the ability to self-serve? If so, you should be considering incorporating an electric data interchange (EDI) solution.
• Consumers are spending twice as much time on mobile devices compared to desktop, and Google predominantly uses the mobile version of content for indexing and ranking. Is your site optimised for mobile?
• More and more consumers are browsing whilst on the move – can you provide a seamless uninterrupted experience without internet connectivity? A progressive web app (PWA) can!

Besides your internal infrastructure and the people that make your business and your brand – is there a greater asset than your website? Your website is the “pièce de resistance”, underpinning your entire digital strategy. If you find that your digital strategy is shackled by the limits of your eCommerce platform, it’s time to upgrade.

We’ve investigated some of the emerging trends and technologies you should be considering incorporating into your long-term eCommerce strategy, that are reliant on a platform with ability to move forward and develop at the same breakneck speeds as the eCommerce industry.

Sustainability

Consumer awareness of sustainability has increased with many digital buyers opting for eco-friendly brands where possible. 65% of shoppers would be willing to spend up to 20% more on sustainable purchases. Brands that are doing sustainability well include The Pangaia, Wild and Estrid. For existing brands, sustainability isn’t going to happen overnight, but small steps make a big difference. Packaging and delivery play a key part in any sustainable business model. Consider partnering with a sustainable fulfilment company such as Huboo. Huboo not only use eco-friendly packaging and take care of all your eCommerce order fulfilment needs, but they integrate with Adobe Commerce, offering a seamless user experience from purchase to delivery.

Subscriptions and flexible payments

Until recently, the most common examples of a subscription would have been streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify, or your favourite magazine or TV guide. However, the subscription business model is spilling its way into the world of eCommerce with brands such as Glossybox, Stitchfix, Graze and even Amazon leading the way. The benefits for consumer and retailer alike are apparent. The consumer receives their product(s) on regular intervals chosen by them. Often, the consumer can take advantage of a discount due to individual item cost decreasing depending on the volume purchased or length of commitment.

Some of the benefits for retailers include:

• Substantial, sustained growth
• Customer retention and brand loyalty
• Predictable revenue each month and over time
• Ability to manage supplies and stock more efficiently.

Payment providers such as Paypal and Adyen are able to offer retailers various subscription models to suit businesses and their consumers. The ability to integrate with your eCommerce platform and CRM mean that the reporting capabilities have never been more succinct.

Amazon and brands such as Klarna are also clearing a path for flexible payment options. Buy now pay later (BNPL) schemes are becoming increasingly popular, along with the choice to split the payment into smaller instalments over a set period. 44% of UK consumers said that they would give up on a purchase if their preferred payment option was not available.

Live shopping and video consultations

Consumers itching for that real life shopping experience whilst stuck at home during the pandemic, led to a rise in live shopping and video consultations. Whether it be a shopping event available live to the masses, or a one-to-one personal shopping experience, from style tips to skin consultations with L’Oreal – this trend is set to continue. Some of the benefits to retailers include:

• Decreased basket abandonment. The element of human interaction gives consumers that final push to make a purchase.
• Stronger customer connections. Associates are able to get to know consumers better than ever, with the opportunity to chat and answer questions.
• Tailored interactions. Consumers can book a consultation in advance and detail exactly what it is they are looking for, from the comfort of their own home.

Tech trends to be excited about

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality offers endless eCommerce opportunity and is set to take the industry by storm. AR in eCommerce allows shoppers to overlay products in their chosen settings. See how your new sofa will look in your living room with the Argos AR-enabled app, try on a pair of glasses with Specsavers, or even see how you’d look sporting a new hairstyle with Garnier. It helps customers to make confident purchase decisions through the visualisation of products in their intended locations.

Virtual Reality

Take eCommerce to the next level and give customers the instore experience, without stepping foot out of the door. Virtual showrooms are allowing customers to explore and click on specific products to see more in-depth information, from the comfort of their own homes.

We’ll be bringing you more on emerging technology and trends including personalisation, AI and machine learning, voice search and mobile first experience. We have no doubt that each of these trends and technologies will be considered by your competitors to differentiate themselves and accelerate ahead of the competition. If you are really looking to scale, you should be considering Adobe Commerce as the driving force, underpinning your eCommerce strategy.

It’s crucial that you have a platform with the fluidity to adapt and evolve to meet the ever-changing environment and the increasing demands of your consumer. To learn more about Adobe Commerce, arrange a demo or discuss your requirements, contact us today.