10 eCommerce Trends in 2016

Multichannel sale, mobile devices and total marketing is something eBusiness owners should shift their attention to. Stay on top of the most important eCommerce trends this year.

It’s the second time that the research and development team at PayU has analyzed hundreds of papers and reports on the future of online trade with the aim to pinpoint trends that experts claim to have a principal effect on the eCommerce industry in the upcoming months (our similar report on top trends in 2015 was published exactly a year ago and became one of the most read texts on the PayU blog over the last 12 months).

This ranking has been based on forecasts, reports and analyses published worldwide in December and January. We have examined how often a given phenomenon was mentioned by the exerts as a key to eCommerce development and how they justified their choices. May it serve you as a practical guide on aspects to mainly shape your eBusiness in 2016.

Multichannel sale strategy (omnichannel)

Research and shopping is done on PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone or in store. A clear line between the various means of browsing an offer is getting vague and giving way to the omnichannel type of selling. Modern consumers do not intend to replace one method with another. They want to blend them.

This comes as very good news for the owners of trade companies. - These multi-channel shoppers shop more often and will spend over 3 times more than your single-channel-shoppers - says Netania Engelbrecht from Usabilla. For shops this means gigantic logistic and technical effort to adjust websites and online payment systems to all kinds of mobile devices, ensure correct user recognition and customize their offer and marketing communication.

In the era of total commerce, only such versatile transactional platforms that have opened to new groups of buyers can count on regular sale increases.


2015 marked steady upward statistics for companies trading via mobile devices – this major trend will be only gaining momentum. There are 1.75 billion smartphones and tablets and their number is still on the increase. As is the whole mCommerce market. Forecasts show that by 2018 the American mCommerce market will be worth nearly $300 billion.

The Polish sector has also witnessed some serious expansion. - In 2014 the growth rate equaled 113 per cent, being the best result across Europe. In 2015 it is estimated to hit 150 per cent. This is an impressive pace recently said Piotr Krawiec, President at mGenerator.pl.

Total marketing
Internet marketing, mobile marketing, search engine marketing, e-marketing, social media marketing, videomarketing, content marketing – eMarketing has many faces affecting the condition of contemporary businesses. Every one of them is vital and may be effective, however obviously not for every transactional platform.

Throughout 2016 eBusiness owners should monitor and soundly choose promotion techniques that best match their activity. In the digital world, advertising spend is high enough for entrepreneurs to go for only selected methods tailored to their target group behavior. - This is key to a more continuous communication between your brand and the retailer - says Brian Zeng, Chief Marketing Officer at OwnOnly, an online store offering smart clothes for men.

Personalization of offer and communication
Experts says that for a business to survive on the every day more competitive market it will be necessary to tailor products, their shipping and promotion to individual customer needs. This is one of the key B2C trends for the upcoming months. - Going forward to meet the needs, desires and preferences of their target audience, retailers will place more emphasis on providing relevant content generated on the basis of previous searches and make every step of the shopping experience way more personalized and focused on one target audience says Monica Wells from BizDb. Yet, this cannot be done effectively without employing the next trend...

Analysis and targeting
In order to appropriately tailor their offer to customers, eShops need to take care of proper data analysis and processing. These processes are a key to establish consumer preferences, build marketing strategies and divide groups of recipient into relevant segments. The analysis may also help find out why businesses lose clients. - Knowledge on why consumers abandon shopping carts will be crucial – it will help you to formulate strategies for recapturing those customers, boost the conversion rate of your website and increase the average order value - explains Monica Wells.

Social media
Facebook – over 15 billion users, Instagram – 400 million, Twitter – 316 million, Tumblr – 230 million, Snapchat – 200 million. A group of social media users is growing at an impressive rate (the above data gathered by Statista is valid for November 2015). The same applies to Poland where Facebook has attracted already 14 million users visiting the site every month.

The growing figures correspond with an increase in the significance of social media in eCommerce, especially that in 2016 major sites will be on a hunt for effective methods to integrate with eCommerce platforms. They will no longer be only promotional channels, but will be extended to include the sale part as well. To resign from their growing opportunities would mean to giving up part of revenue. - Our advice is that you start taking a closer look at your social commerce options and see which channels might work best for your business - recommends Netania Engelbrecht from Usabilla.

Valuable content
In eCommerce it is no longer good enough to offer attractive products at reasonable prices with convenient payment and shipping options. The number of companies that know how to do it well is growing. eShops need to stand out. One of the methods is to provide consumers with attractive content – various reports, rankings, statistical data, how-to guides and video materials.

Experts claim that in 2016 eShops will focus on such valuable content to build their competitive advantage. - Advertisement messages will no longer be seen as a hindrance but as helpful content - predicts Jeffrey Wisard from Drupal Partners. Ronell Smith stresses the growing significance of content marketing as well: - Content marketing is a lot like dieting: Long-term success is only enjoyed by those who are consistent - he says.

Free shipping and returns
- From your customers point of view, the more instant and inexpensive the delivery, the better. Easy returns also help decrease any potential stress - says Sharanya Haridas from Nimble Commerce. 2016 appears to be another year in which eBusiness will emphasize the importance of quickness and reliability in delivery.

Same-day delivery becomes a standard option for most FMCGs and high-margin products – the same applies to social media mechanisms (crowd sourced delivery). What’s more, experiments continue to focus on drone delivery desired by world’s technological giants, like Amazon, Google and Alibaba.

New categories of shops
As technology develops and eCommerce gains new big fans, there are fewer products that could not be sold on the Internet. A list of sectors that trade online even more boldly keep on extending. According to market specialists, 2016 in eCommerce will see a growing meaning of industries focusing on health care, travel, interior design, grocery, children, furniture and animal accessories. Luxurious products and the educational sector also seem to be a tempting target for eCommerce.

User experience
We are now entering the ‘age of zero friction’  – meaning online shoppers want and expect zero resistance when attempting to make a purchase online,” explains Adam Barsby from Xanthos Digital Marketing. “This includes everything from the user experience, through to payment. An ideal ecommerce store remains easy to use and browse for the customer, with a checkout system that is as fast and uses as few clicks as possible - he says. Therefore, taking care of user experience is the tenth most crucial trend in eCommerce in 2016.

To that end, all kinds of facilitating services will be gaining on popularity. PayU has already provided for it by launching its PayU Express, a solution that cuts down the online payment time to just 0.5 second.

We are at the start of a very interesting year!
We will track how 2016 trends picked by world-class experts evolve. This blog is a place to visit for texts about the latest developments in the eCommerce industry. Visit us soon for another portion of predictions for 2016 – expect something unexpected, surprising and intriguing.


Photo: © maglara/Fotolia