In this growing age of globalization, online businesses are trying hard to please customers and generate profits. This article discusses what I consider to be the five key trends of e-commerce for 2013 and suggests ways in which you can benefit from them.
E-commerce 2013 – Time to Upgrade your Online Store
Constant innovation and customization of the web will continue to diversify trade. A recurrent trend, of which we will see more of in 2013 is that E-commerce will drive consumers heavily towards alternatives to the bricks-and-mortar retail. Online retailers will continue to offer a number of products and services with attractive buying schemes to attract online visitors. Customers, on the other hand, will enjoy increasing influence on brand decisions with more buying power than ever before.
The E-commerce sector will continue to evolve and with this, be prepared to witness experimentation of new e-commerce techniques like never before. Users will be encouraged to leave suggestions and feedback on anything from website design to discounts and deals. Online retailers will smartly incorporate these strategies to simplify and refine e-commerce platforms. These and many other trends will dominate web design in 2013.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 trends that will be shaping E-commerce for 2013, and let us see what actions web designers and developers can take to stay on the top of these trends.
1. Localization – Big opportunities for Small Businesses
Word of advice – Go Local!
Online retailers no more shy away from creating indigenous e-commerce websites. Here we are not referring to merely offering your website in different languages. With going local, we are referring to a totally localized user experience. Thus, expect to see more websites based on traditional design aesthetics including the use of local color preferences, local language, local offers and essentially local products and services. For small businesses the move is indeed welcomed especially if they cater for niche markets. Ours is a curious generation which loves to explore. The local stuff which is marketed across as traditional and exotic easily attracts customers and generates revenue.
Localization will also pave the way for more personalization whereby users will continue to enjoy an even more one-to-one customer experience. Websites will automatically adapt to show user preferences and tastes. However, personalization will not be only based on past purchases or browsing habits (such as the recommendations offered by Amazon). Instead, we will see more intelligent algorithms that are able to predict which products or service may appeal to you based on advanced segmentation and user profiling.
2. M-commerce is the New Buzzword
Word of advice – Go Mobile!
Online businesses have realized the need for deeper mobile integration. Witness to this is the increased use of responsive web design that dominated 2012. From a user interface perspective, online businesses will continue to adapt to and make the most use of the available screen real estate of the device from which they are being accessed. As such, there will not be one e-commerce site for the desktop and another for the mobile device. Instead, thanks to Responsive Web Design, there will just be one website which will adapt itself to be viewed in an ideal manner for any screen size, be it a large 55-inch TV screen, a 24-inch monitor, a tablet, mobile or any device that users use to access websites. This essentially means that the user experience will also be the same across all these devices.
Online retailers will continue to create better and customized mobile apps. E-commerce business will be more focused, thanks to personalized mobile campaigns that target specific customers. Online shoppers will share an equal voice in the brand’s decision making process and this will promote a more satisfying user experience.
3. Increased Online Security – Simpler Payment Processes
Word of advice – Go Cashless!
Continuing past trends, in 2013, more customers will switch to online payment mechanisms such as PayPal as well as debit and credit card transaction. E-commerce sites will lay more stress on online security with the likely introduction of new safer payment methods and increased enhancements on existing ones. The move will translate to an increase in the number of new online shoppers and the number of financial transactions that are conducted online. Online brands will garner more trust and reliability through the use of one-page payment methods. Online customers will feel more secure and less dependent on cash.
Apart from the traditional product e-commerce sites, it is also envisaged that in 2013 there will be an increase in the number of websites which offer coupons. In fact, it is likely that more online retailers will offer discount coupons to entice sales and as a means of online payment.
4. Interactive Products Display will Replace Images
Word of advice – Get a Video, Share it Social Media!
Customers will become apprehensive with so many products and services at their disposal. Images are not a convincing tool as consumers cannot exactly judge product with them. Product demonstration videos will used more frequently to address the needs of even apprehensive customers. Online businesses and product demo videos will become more popular with the ever-improving internet speeds.
Retailers will turn to social media in a big way for better video sharing via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Marketers will view social media as part of the marketing mix in a way that it integrates with other marketing strategies rather than living on its own.
5. Content Continues to Rule
Word of advice – Get short, simple, original content
Exclusive content will be the ruling factor in all ecommerce sites. Highly readable yet concise content will appeal to the short-attention spans of the visitors. Ecommerce website owners will dedicate teams to develop high-quality, SEO-friendly content for enhanced user experience. Content which talks to the point and is highly engaging will be the norm for websites seeking higher Return on investment. For additional ideas on how to create better content for your website, please visit the following links:
- 7 Simple Guidelines For Effective Business Copywriting
- Know Your Readers & Write Usable Blog Posts For Them
- Content Density – Importance For Usability And SEO
- Will The Internet Make Grammar Obsolete?
- 10 Guidelines For Writing Usable And SEO Friendly Content
- Quality Website Copywriting Will Outlive Google
E-commerce trends for 2013 clearly pose a win-win situation for both the brands and their customers. Online retailers will have to build a distinctive strategies to suit their business motives, whereas consumers will be more picky looking for better alternatives. Companies will have to spend more time on building brand loyalty by consistently providing a great user experience for both existing as well as newly-acquired consumers.
Though 2013 is bound to be a tricky time for online businesses, e-commerce sites that promise undeniable benefits to individuals and economies, and view the above trends as opportunities will surely flourish.
Other E-Commerce Articles on UsabilityGeek:
- E-Commerce Intelligence – An Introduction
- 5 Main User Experience Barriers To Sales Conversion And How To Overcome Them (Part 1)
- 5 Main User Experience Barriers To Sales Conversion And How To Overcome Them (Part 2)
(Lead image: Depositphotos)