Retail Canadian e-commerce agency Absolunet has released its predictions of retail trends it anticipates shaping 2016. The top-10 e-commerce-heavy collection is drawn from the digital business plans the company developed with such clients as Birks, Stokes and La Vie en Rose. It runs as follows:
- Click & collect. In the ultimate marriage of past and present, online retailers who operate brick-and-mortar stores will be increasingly compelled to offer in-store pickup for digital purchases. And why not? It saves on shipping and, says research, ups consumer purchase: 7% of picking-up shoppers spend more when they’re in the store.
- In-store digital. The recent flurry of in-store digital technology innovation will continue in 2016, with a focus on making shopping more personalized, customizing brand experience and facilitating online purchases from inside the store.
- Social media profitability. Social media ROI will continue its course of improvement, and smart retailers will increasingly buy in. Here are the “direct purchase” options popping up on social media platforms like Instagram (where integrated apps let users toggle between a photo and a purchase-ready product page), Pinterest (93% of whose users have purchased online in the last six months) and Facebook (already the source of 64% of social sales worldwide).
- Brands creating more content. Brands’ online presence is expanding beyond the role of merely displaying pretty pictures or even offering a means for purchase. Increasingly, brands are populating their sites with content, and reinventing themselves as a source of rich, original (and SEO-friendly) data about the worlds they occupy.
- B2B overtaking B2C. Digital commerce that connects businesses with other businesses is expected to enjoy significant growth in the next stretch. Indeed, there are already 2.1 B2B transactions for every B2C transaction. B2B e-commerce will hit US$1.3 trillion by 2020, says Forrester Research.
- Globalization. More and more Canadian retailers are expanding their operations worldwide — and why not, given the limitless bounds of the Internet. Experts advise advancing into this territory armed with a strategy that considers the challenges inherent to international selling, such as understanding the peculiarities of each territory.
- Product information management. As customer behaviour shifts in the direction of “pre-purchase research,” retailers will invest in product information management (PIM) solutions to better manage all the information concerning their products.
- Order processing simplification. The more you sell, the more e-transactions you need to manage. That reality calls for the oversight of sophisticated Order Management Systems (OMS). A good lets retailers optimize order management across the board, reducing costs and hastening shipping.