It’s no secret that eCommerce use continues to grow.
According to the website ecommerceguide.com, e-retail sales account for 14.1 percent of all retail sales worldwide. Moreover, online retail sales were predicted to reach 4.13 trillion this year, with China, with $1.935 trillion in eCommerce sales, leading the way as the world’s top eCommerce market.
Online buying behaviors continue to change dramatically, and many experts predict that customers are going to keep buying online, with 2021 as a continued growth year. Physical stores are beefing up their eCommerce capabilities, which is smart when you consider that the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced many walk-in stores to close temporarily or shutter completely.
For merchants, this growing shift to online selling provides excellent business opportunities, one of which is the ability for them to own the customer relationship.
“With a direct customer relationship brands no longer have to rely on retail partners to protect and promote your brand,” writes Nick Winkler at Shopify, a leading online sales platform. “Establishing a direct relationship with the end consumer also lets you continue to give support after the sale.”
Direct-to-consumer eCommerce also offers companies another very important and much-needed benefit: the opportunity to collect customer data that can be very useful in maintaining ongoing interactions with customers. “Selling direct lets you collect first-party data that you can use to personalize the customer experience, and ultimately monetize that relationship,” writes Winkler.
A third benefit of eCommerce is the ability for the company to create personalized products, something that’s typically not available in most retail stores. In the eCommerce environment, shoppers can do such things as design custom packaging, mix and match custom assortments, or participate in contests, while also developing ongoing relationships with their favorite companies.
The proliferation of eCommerce presents excellent opportunities for all types of forward-thinking tech companies to leverage their capabilities by serving the retail companies that sell directly to consumers or to other companies online.
One of them is GroupBy Inc., a company whose cloud technology powers some of the world’s most relevant and highly converting eCommerce websites while reducing manual effort.
The company’s SaaS-based suite provides industry-leading features for data enrichment—a major consideration when it comes to optimizing product descriptions and site pages for search—as well as enhancing navigation, personalization, merchandizing, SEO, and search autocomplete. The company says it excels with complex, large-scale B2B configurations and in dynamic, high volume B2C scenarios.
And that’s just part of the puzzle. One undeniable shift in the eCommerce world has been customers’ continued proclivity to shop via their smartphones and other mobile devices.
According to an article on dcvelocity.com, “Mobile-friendly shopping is what every customer likes to have,” noting that each eCommerce store now has an application through which its customers can easily place orders. “Customers can easily compare things to make the right decision.” Also, the website adds that “push notification is the other factor which helps in binding the customer. With this, the customer can easily know about the upcoming event, discounts and other things.”
Of course, it’s always been paramount for shoppers to be able to easily locate the items for which they’re looking, and therein lie the real opportunities: getting browsers to your site. While companies like GroupBy are bringing a new level of sophistication to search optimization through such tools and tactics as data enrichment—which provides their eCommerce customers with tremendous benefits—others are finding ways to create new methods of optimization.
“Today, digital markers are taking advantage of the reverse image search trends,” writes John Kessler. In other words, companies upload every image that they have of their products and services in Google images.
“Annotating these images with their details can be immensely helpful in leading the users directly to the websites,” writes Kessler. “Now when people make reverse image searches in different images or via text, they can easily get hooked with the linked images available on Google.”
By finding and clicking on the linked images, shoppers can be taken instantly to the platform that sells the product. This increases the traffic on the website and as a result, increases sales.
As the use of eCommerce continues to grow and thrive and, as shoppers continue to demonstrate their preference for the convenience (and, often, cost-savings) of shopping from virtually anywhere, merchants will need to continue improving the ease and efficiency with which they serve their customers. Right now, companies like GroupBy continue developing innovative ways to make eCommerce even more sophisticated.