We’ve put together a few thoughts regarding what we think will be important in the eCommerce sector this year.
Multi-channels joining together
Top retailers who have both on-line presence and bricks-and-mortar stores are joining them together into one seamless offering . For example, customers may like to research and order online and collect the item in store same day. Or perhaps if an item is to be returned, to return it through a different channel to the one they used to purchase – for example, take it back to a store, even if they originally purchased online. A real-time view of stock availability and locations are the keys to success in this area.
Stock Management more important than ever
Items being out-of-stock and, conversely, holding too much stock are long standing issues for most retail businesses. These result in lost sales on the one hand, and your much needed cash being tied up in inventory on the other. A new breed of AI based inventory management and forecasting solutions is emerging, combining data from purchase history, consumer trends, social and even factors such as the weather, to give more accurate inventory forecasting capabilities.
Next Day Delivery
Amazon has continued to raise customer’s expectation with its prime service for next day delivery. Other retailers are following suit and are reducing the cost of next day delivery, with some such as ASOS offering its own annual subscription model. This will continue to be a trend in 2017.
Mobile to grow, but desktop is still dominant
Mobile, particularly apps, will continue to become a significant sales channel. However, many mobile web sites and apps still fall short of giving a satisfactory user experience. Too many retailers still giving a poor UI for payment, reviews and account management when viewed on mobile devices.
Purchasing through a desktop PC or Mac will continue to be the preferred method of purchase for many people, as product images and other detailed information are best viewed on a large screen.