The biggest trend around ecommerce right now is growth – and that growth extends far and wide.
Ecommerce has seen tremendous growth within the U.S. in the last 10 years. In fact, data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that in 2017, U.S. ecommerce sales grew faster than it had since 2011 and that it represented 49% of the growth in total retail sales. That growth trend isn’t slowing down, either. Statista data predicts that ecommerce revenue will surpass $638 billion in the U.S. by 2022.
Global ecommerce is rapidly growing, too. Emarketer trend data indicates that retail ecommerce sales may exceed $4.058 trillion by as soon as 2020. As more shoppers look for products across borders and from international marketplaces, an uptick in ecommerce sales is evident around the globe.
Ecommerce Growth by Category
ComScore data indicates there are a few particular industries seeing rapid change in regard to retail ecommerce growth. Jewelry and watches were at the top of the growth chart (as of 2016) with 39% growth, followed by furniture, appliances, and equipment (26%), and video games/accessories (24%).
With this foundation of understanding around ecommerce, let’s now move on to some best practices and tips around the world of online sales.
Benefits of Ecommerce
Ecommerce is not a trend, and it isn’t going away any time soon. The reason is that selling goods and services on the internet highly benefits both the seller and the buyer. Here’s why.
Benefits to the buyer:
- Quicker and easier transactions
- Informed purchasing decisions
- Easier price and product comparisons
- Improved delivery process
- Targeted communication
Benefits to the seller:
- Lower overhead costs due to the elimination of brick and mortar locations
- The ability to sell goods around-the-clock (versus traditional store hours)
- Ability to reach customers beyond geographical location
- More control over the selling process and tracking, especially if there’s one portal that handles point-of-sale (POS)
- Greater visibility to potential customers via SEO
- More control over personnel costs and inventory management
Types of Ecommerce
There are three classifications of ecommerce. The classification depends on who is selling to who.
Business to Business (B2B)
Goods and services are sold from one company to another. For example, HubSpot provides products to other companies that are looking to grow better.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
A business sells to a customer. This is one of the most common types of ecommerce. An example would be an online clothing store or the online segment of some popular brick and mortar business, like Walmart or Target.
Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
As you may have guessed — consumers sell directly to consumer via online marketplaces. Craigslist, eBay, and Amazon are all examples of C2C ecommerce. When you’re ready to build an inbound ecommerce website, there are a few best practices to keep in mind that will help you get results out of your time and effort.
BestPractices for Ecommerce Websites
1. Select and customize a mobile-friendlytheme
BrightEdge data shows that more than half (57%) of web traffic now comes from mobile devices like smart phones and tablets – which means it’s essential to use a mobile-friendly.
On ecommerce platforms, you can browse a selection of free and premium themes (all of which are mobile-optimized) and find one that’s best suited for your needs. Plus: From there, you can customize the templated website theme. By adding your color scheme and branding elements (like your logo), you can make your ecommerce website look 100% custom-made.
2. Optimize for the web.
Web optimization encompasses a wide range of strategies and tactics that help convert more site visitors into customers, but let’s focus on two in particular:
- Write enticing product descriptions. Use persuasive copywriting triggers to make your product descriptions sell. That means tapping into psychological tactics like fear of missing out, reciprocity, exclusivity, and more – all of which encourage site visitors to buy (and to buy NOW).
- Add beautiful product images. When it comes to marketing, visuals are extremely important — especially for online buyers who can’t see or touch products before making a purchase. Along with static product images, add context by incorporating images of models using the product and videos that give customers a 360-degree view.
3. Create a stellar customer experience.
Research indicates that customer experience will overtake price and product as the primary brand differentiator for sales by 2020. This means it’s important to focus on creating an impressive customer experience across all of your brand’s various touchpoints.
A few ideas to get you started:
- Add a FAQ page. Answering frequently asked questions on your ecommerce website helps potential customers quickly and easily find the information they need to complete a purchase.
- Reduce image sizes for quick load times. Survey data shows more than half of website visitors expect a page to load in less than two seconds. At more than three seconds, they leave the page (and aren’t likely to return.) Reduce the size of your on-site images so it loads quickly.
- Leverage user-generated content. Including user-generated content (think customer reviews, images from social media, and testimonials) on your ecommerce site means adding elements of social proof — which can improve the overall buying experience for customers.