5 surprising trends - eCommerce in 2017

What is disintermediation? How can micro-moments be used for increasing sales? Is storytelling the key to your clients’ wallets? We present five original forecasts for the eCommerce sector for the following year.

Experts from PayU's Research and Development Team once again reviewed publications and reports on trends in the sector of eCommerce. On their basis, we created a ranking of top 10 trends in eCommerce in 2017. And what about less popular trends? The inspiring ones and, sometimes, even incredible. They surely can substantially change the eCommerce market, although today they are noticed only by few. We have chosen five most original trends – you can find them below.

5 surprising trends

1. No more Black Friday and Cyber Monday

This Christmas season in USA, the eSales value during the Black Friday amounted to over USD 3 billion. And only a few days after, during the Cyber Monday, American consumers spent almost USD 3.5 billion online. These are record-breaking amounts for both of these trading days which cover not only the United States but also Europe – this year, Black Friday was celebrated in Poland.

Then how is it possible that we should expect the end of Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Experts predict that the world of eCommerce will have an increased heartbeat just at the beginning of November. Many people learned to plan shopping earlier, seeking special offers and taking into account longer delivery time for goods. That is why the shopping festival will start so soon, and not, as it was before, at the end of the month (that is, right after the Thanksgiving Day). And it will last even till the end of January – as it will cover also Christmas and the time of New Year’s sales. According to some experts, establishing only two days for reduced prices will no longer make sense in the future.

2. Storytelling – through a story to the client’s wallet

“Gone are the days when a bulleted list of product features and a 3-sentence description of a product are considered enough to educate shoppers to encourage them to make a purchase. Trends in ecommerce for 2017 that you should very well prepare for is to make your customer journeys filled with stories as much as possible,” advises John Komarek, founder of Pixelter agency.

What does he specifically have in mind? It’s about making a brand stand out from others as much as possible and build an emotional engagement of a user. A brand that would make eShop and the products sold there remembered. “In a world where it is difficult to remember which service did you just order your food from, one that makes a lasting impression will emerge as the winner. Every customer wants to relate to the product they are buying or the person who is selling,” thinks Asmita Misra, expert from user experience and design.

One of the best ways to do it is, according to experts, storytelling – implementing elements of dramatic tension and narration into the customer journey. In order to do this properly, one needs to know its recipients and have a capability to build attractive messages (not necessarily advertising ones).

3. Disintermediation disrupts the supply chain

The meaning of this exotic term is the elimination of intermediaries from the supply chain. These are, for example, commercial platforms thanks to which products of particular brands are sold. Manufacturers who sell mainly through their own eShops may be satisfied with the emergence of this trend on the list, whereas the owners of services intermediating in sales and suppliers may be worried by it. According to experts, this is because, among others, millennials, who constitute a bigger and bigger purchasing force. They expect a more direct contact with a brand than older generations did.

As Marcus Fredricsson (president of a Swedish company, Mekster, which sells automobile parts online) notes, growing popularity of disintermediation may lead to the end of dropshipping – a logistics model in which the shipping process of goods transfers to the supplier and an online shop only functions as a place for placing orders.

“Today, more customers disqualify eRetailers who send goods directly from suppliers, particularly in cases when the goods come from different suppliers since they then need to spend far too much time to collect the goods in different batches,” notices Marcus Fredricsson.

4. Micro-Moments: how to use Google in sales

In order to understand what micro-moments are, one only needs to think what questions do we type in the Google search most often. Probably in the case of most of us, these are clearly specified questions, for which we expect specific answers in order to immediately satisfy our curiosity (or gain knowledge) that often results from the need of the hour. On the basis of phrases typed in by users, Google divided micro-moments into the following categories:

  • I-want-to-do moments
  • I-want-to-know moments
  • I-want-to-buy moments
  • I-want-to-go moments

It is not only a guide on how people use the most popular search engine in the world and what problems they try to solve by means of it, but also a clear suggestion for the owners of eBusinesses who should learn how to best react to momentary needs of their clients. This comes down to positioning of business in search engines and proper construction of marketing messages, as well as actions taken on the eShop website itself.

“Keep as few elements of attraction on the website layout itself as possible. This allows the customers to focus on the most important items on your website – your inventory,” advises Asmita Misra. This applies to product subsites, category sites, order forms.

5. Artificial intelligence will build your shop

According to experts, in 2017, artificial intelligence will be used in eCommerce not only as customer assistance in shopping (virtual assistants such as Siri or Cortana), personalising offers and automation of marketing. Algorithms which would create product descriptions and website layouts for sale may be created, “In 2016, some content marketers began to experiment with machine-generated content. These innovators were, for example, trying to produce product descriptions from a list of product specifications,” notices Armando Roggio, expert on marketing and eCommerce at practicalecommerce.com.

The fact that artificial intelligence enters the area of eCommerce comes, of course, as no surprise (it was one of this year’s 10 most important trends in eCommerce). The scale of this entry may, however, be surprising. According to some experts, it is artificial intelligence which will change both the eCommerce sector and many other sectors of the economy most substantially (not only the digital one).

When is it going to happen? Ray Kurzweil, futurologist from Google, predicts that by 2029 artificial intelligence will have caught up with the natural intelligence, and in the subsequent years, it will start outrunning it. It may turn out that soon, trade businesses will be managed only by superintelligent robots and computer programs. People will turn out to be redundant. Then, the only consolation for people employed in eCommerce will be the fact that, probably, they will not be the only ones to suffer this fate. Many experts predict that AI will end the era of gainful employment.

 

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January is a trend month on PayU's blog, so come and check on our site in the next few days as we have prepared many other articles about changes that will occur in the months to follow.