Whether it’s introducing a new product range, attracting new customers or increasing sales, each year brings a new set of challenges for sellers.
With global eCommerce sales expected to reach a staggering 1 trillion USD, we examine some key changes in customer preferences and behavior that could impact your business this year.
To understand how the retail landscape is changing and where you can take advantage, read on.
1. Seamless omni-channel buyer experience
This year will see the growing convergence of bricks and mortar shopping with online retail. The integration of desktop, mobile and traditional shopping is changing consumer expectations. Mobile shopping has undergone massive growth (50.3% of online shopping activity) with consumers using them for both online and instore purchases.
Today’s buyers demand a faster, simpler and more intuitive retail experience. To match those expectations we must create continuity across all channels, formats and devices. From the responsive design of web stores & mobile apps, to the consistency of payment and support procedures – the easier we make online shopping, the more buyers we will attract.
2. Buying traditional ‘physical’ goods online
Amazon is hoping to make 2016 the year it disrupts the UK grocery industry. It caused a major stir for supermarkets when it announced in late December that it would aggressively expand its Pantry department in 2016.
As online shopping becomes easier and logistical barriers are removed, customers are thinking beyond physical retailers for more and more goods. Increasingly, groceries and consumables are being bought online. The eCommerce trend in buying mother and baby products will continue as busy mothers seek greater convenience and better prices. Perhaps the most surprising online growth forecast is in furniture and home decor.
Consumers are increasingly shopping online because it’s seen as the more convenient and better value option than bricks and mortar shopping, even among late adopters.
3. Athleisure – revival of the fittest
The desire to be more active and feel better fuels a market that is always looking for new solutions. In 2016, we will embrace the concept of Athleisure – outdoor fitness as a complete lifestyle choice. 2016 will also be a bumper year for health and fitness because of the influence of major global sporting events, the Rio Olympics and the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.
Popular sellers will include;
- Preventative health monitoring technology
- Sports nutrition, vitamins and superfoods
- Sports equipment & sportswear
- Outdoor clothing and accessories
4. Augmented Reality becomes reality in 2016?
I know it’s been around for a while, but apparently virtual reality has finally come of age. The major players in the market, Sony, Google, Microsoft & Facebook and others like Samsung and Motorola are all launching VR headsets for ‘everyday’ use.
New sleek headsets are being developed to satisfy consumer demand for fashionable, mobile and affordable VR devices. Expect to see VR being used for 3D viewers, smartphone maps, conferencing, e-learning products, immersive games, media and even dating.
Artificial intelligence technology will assist us in healthcare, tech support, shopping, travel and other areas.
5. Alternative becomes mainstream
Hipsters, bohemians, free spirits, call them what you like; the socially conscious consumer has moved front and center. Their buying behavior is motivated by serving the common good and seeking natural, eco-friendly alternatives. They shun mass-produced and overly manufactured goods and want bespoke designs, unique products and exclusive experiences.
There’s been an explosion in the number of companies servicing this expanding market. Health foods, crafts and handmade items are popular with the ‘back to basics’ consumers. They favor alternatively sourced materials and carefully check packaging to verify claims. The appeal of contributing to good causes and supporting smaller, local producers incentivizes their buying.
If these eCommerce trends hold true, going for a run after work is going to get more techy. Will you be wearing trendy VR glasses that show you real time data from your fitness wearable as you run, while completing your super healthy grocery order from your smartwatch?
Only time will tell. What we do know is that change in 2016 is inevitable. How you react to these changes could enhance your business.
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