Rise of Mobile. (Yep, Still Rising.)
Mobile commerce growth is explosive. EMarketer’s predictions for mobile retail sales are set to increase to $58.07 billion, a 37.3 percent jump from 2013. This growth in mobile traffic is spurring an overall industry growth, just in time for the holiday season. Comscore, a leader in measuring the digital world, forecasts 16% growth to $61 billion in U.S. holiday e-commerce spending on desktop and mobile. Comscore’s data also showed that 44% of retail Internet minutes are spent on mobile phones. Shop.org released a summary of this data: “Since U.S. consumers spend more than half of their time on retailers’ web sites using their smartphones and tablets, mobile can’t be viewed simply as an ancillary device or action, it now epitomizes how consumers think and act when they interact with retailers.” According to Custora, mobile shopping accounted for over a fifth of online shopping on Cyber Monday 2014 at 21.9%, compared to Cyber Monday 2013 which was only 15.9% of orders. According to the same research by Custora, for the full Thanksgiving weekend, mobile shopping accounted for 26.4% of orders, up from 19.7% in 2013.
How does mobile shopping fit into the average customer’s purchase journey? According to the 2014 Pre-Holiday Retailer and Consumer Study by Shop.org, people are using their mobile devices to research products (42 percent smartphone, 53 percent tablet) and look up store contact and hours information. People are using mobile devices sequentially and in unison with other screens and in different contexts to guide them through their purchase journey.
The rise of mobile in 2014 has also impacted web design. In order to retain more mobile traffic, e-commerce sites must be responsive. Responsive still isn’t the full answer to a mobile strategy though – a mobile strategy must take into account how and why customers are accessing the site through mobile devices.
Big Data = Deep Customer Insights
Companies can gather a staggering amount of data on customers. What they’ve purchased, what websites they visit, where they live, when they have contacted customer service, and if they interact with their brand on social media is just part of the data trail that companies can track. The most important data that E-commerce site owners need to track is the behavior of visitors and potential buyers in order to understand what triggers them to complete a conversion and make a purchase on their site or other complete other meaningful actions on the site.
Retargeting is one of the major online marketing tools that uses big data, and it absolutely exploded in 2014. Third-party services utilize big data techniques to gather information on a site’s visitors, the products they show specific interest in, and the purchases they make. According to Forbes, as analytics become increasingly more sophisticated in 2015, marketers will find new ways to retarget customers based on their website visits, including items they viewed without clicking. Big data can reveal more about your site’s ecosystem than anything else, but it needs to be clarified for it to be useful and applicable to site design changes, A/B testing, and more.
In 2014, e-commerce stores have begun to truly customize the shopping experience, thanks to big data. Through big data, stores and businesses are beginning to see their customers and present them with customized landing pages based on previous orders and clicks. This use of customer content personalization has widely been used to customize emails specific to a customer’s order history and interests. In short, 2014 has been the year of using big data to personalize marketing efforts to individual customers. To use big data effectively, e-commerce retailers must use it to achieve a personalized experience by promoting the right products to the right customers on the right channel.
Testing, Testing, Testing.
A/B Testing has been around for more than a decade. First used by Google data scientists to determine the optimum number of results to display on the search engine results page at the turn of the millennium, A/B Testing’s popularity held true in 2014. Most importantly in 2014, we saw the true democratization of access. According to a recent survey of TrustRadius members and website visitors interested in conversion rate optimization, 43% of respondents use more than one A/B testing tool, and 48% of respondents plan to spend more on A/B testing software in the coming year. A/B testing for e-commerce sites has gained in popularity in recent years thanks to a simplistic approach to testing the elements of a website page and the utter ease in ease-of-use tools such as WYSIWYG editors to perform testing. Optimizely, Omniture, and Visual Website Optimizer are just a few of the options for testing. A/B Testing for e-commerce sites is a must for any retailer to fine tune the design of your site.
While split testing is often focused on testing elements of a website, split testing as a concept can be applied to any marketing channel. According to TrustRadius, A/B testing could potentially become a common feature embedded in different types of software, such as marketing automation, content management systems and e-commerce platforms.