It’s that time of the year, when everyone is thinking about the freshness of the year ahead. But it’s also possibly one of the only times when we get to look at our business more holistically, rather than being stuck in the doing of running our business everyday. So we thought this might be a good time to continue on the theme of trends you might want to be across for the year (read the last post here).

Social commerce

Chances are your customers hang out on social media  (even though everyone’s new year’s resolution is to spend less time on their phone/social). If you’re not across this yet, best get your skates on – because this ‘trend’ isn’t just a trend – it will be ‘the way we do business’ very soon. How do we know? Well, it already is in China through WeChat.

How do you do it? Think about where your customers are most active and look at how you can best utilise the social platform’s features to convert followers to purchasers. Checkout on Instagram. Remember no-one likes a pushy sales person and social is first and foremost – just that – social. But people buy from people they know, like and trust. So be nice, showcase product users and keep your posts relevant. AND make sure that you’ve got tools (such as chatbots and mention monitoring) in place to better engage with your audience.

Siri, Alexa and Google as a new battleground

With massive rises in the use of voice activated assistants (despite what we’ve read about being listened to in the media), this is a search tool that’s not going away. If there’s one thing you do this year, it’s optimising for voice search. Your customers will expect relevant results which means optimising for relevant keywords (which might be different from what people type). When people talk, they’re more likely to use longer queries, so focus on long-tail keywords like woollen jumpers with Christmas scenes (sorry – been looking at too many holiday Instagrams) or blue and white bikinis for curvy figures.

Niche stores

Yes, Amazon has everything you might poke a stick at and is still growing (with which few can seriously compete). But more items is not always more. Research shows the more choice you give someone, the less likely they are to buy. Hence one of the more interesting trends to appear is the rise of the true niche e-commerce store (see our case study on redsbaby). By streamlining your product offering to a single niche your site is easier to optimise for SEO (especially after Google’s Hummingbird update) and you can then focus completely on the customers for just that niche – much easier than selling everything to everyone.

Ecommerce first businesses go retro with brick and mortar

Yes, you read that correctly. Now that we’ve trained everyone to buy online (and seen the collapse of old-school brick and mortar stores), ecommerce led businesses are doing it for themselves. But this time with a twist. Rather than just putting products on display and letting customers roam free, savvy ecommerce business owners are creating experiences for customers – aka, making it more fun for the customer to experience and giving them a reason to actually visit, visit again and share on social – and encourage/bring friends, etc.  It doesn’t have to be a full retail nightmare with 3×3 leases, etc. What about a pop-up at the local centre or a market stall at a popular spot? Think about what you can do in order to give your customers an extra special experience with your brand.

Subscription services

Now this trend has been around for a little while, but it’s taken a couple of years for it to really take off. It makes sense for you as a business owner as having a subscription service smooths out cash flow, inventory and let’s you focus on your highest value customers. And customers love the seamlessness of having things they love regularly delivered – with extra value provided through personalisation, savings, or frankly just the convenience of never running out of coffee again.

Think about how you might replenish items for a customer, curate personalised new items or a first look service.

Of course, if you’re looking to up your customer delight game this year with a more streamlined last mile or fulfilment service that keeps your customers delighted every time they interact with your business, we’d love to chat further. You can get in touch through the form below.

 

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