With the start of a new year, most of us take some time to reflect on the year that has passed and what may lie ahead for us in the future. And with business it’s no different. Online shopping grew at a rate of 20% in 2016 in South Africa, so how do we keep in track with this fast growth pattern as consumer trends and technology evolve just as fast? We’ve had a look into the eCommerce predictions for 2017, and have brought you the top ones below.
Mobile commerce is set to carry on growing
Mobile commerce is increasingly becoming the preferred shopping and purchasing method, and there’s no doubt why. Smartphones and tablets are quick, efficient and portable, unlike a desktop that takes time to login to, navigate through and can’t be dropped into your pocket or handbag. Mobile commerce is set to evolve and grow as companies pour more money into the creation or upgrade of mobile apps. The rapid growth is already visible, with mobile commerce forecast to grow from 40% in 2015 to 70% by 2017 globally. So, ensure your mobile app is as convenient and eye-catching as possible, offering new customers a seamless and pleasurable experience.
Alternative payment methods will expand
2017 is set to be the year that the popularity of alternative payments rises. While South African’s are still wary of paying for goods online, eCommerce businesses will become more confident in providing alternative payment methods to encourage more consumers to engage with them. Although direct credit, debit card and cash payments are still highly popular, consumers will become more confident in using other methods to pay for their products or services due to the increase in safety measures and simplification of payment processes. So how can you as a businesses owner take advantage of the increase in online consumers and rise in popularity of alternative payment methods? Make use of an integrative payment gateway. PayU for one, offers both a safe and secure payment process, as well as a wide variety of payment methods to suit the different needs of different customers.
Social media will become an even more popular selling channel
If you have yet to discover social selling or have yet to embrace it fully, it’s the use of social media channels to direct consumers straight to the purchase of a product or service. Although many brands use social media to punt their products, 2017 will be the year where social media will become a popular space to direct consumers straight to a purchase. Essentially, social media channels are becoming another version of your storefront, and as almost 13 million people in South Africa use Facebook and 26.8 million people spend almost three hours a day on social media, it would be a missed opportunity not to treat it as such. So ensure the content you post, the links you share and the products you highlight entice consumers straight to your product pages, and help them feel confident to make a purchase right there and then.
Convenience will become even more important
As our lives become busier, so convenience become more desirable, and 2017 will continue to strive for convenience in the world of online shopping. Simpler ordering processes through the touch of one button or through a subscription service, will allow the customer to do as little as possible in order to order to complete their purchase, saving them time. Same day or next day delivery will also become more common as customers start to expect faster delivery, and are even willing to pay more for it. As more and more online stores start to take on these processes, the more it will become a normalised experience that customers expect. Look into simpler check outs for your website and the option of fast delivery as customers are prepared to foot the bill for these experiences of instant gratification.
With systems and processes becoming smarter, faster and simpler, it’s exciting to think about what 2017 holds for the world of eCommerce. And although we cannot look into the future, we can start to move forward with the predictions that look likely to happen and develop a strategy for the new year from there.