Written by: Ian Drysdale, Global eCommerce Leader at Elavon
January is a time when businesses around the globe set their sights on making 2018 the best year yet for business. A smart way to plan is by taking note of upcoming trends that your customers can use to bolster sales, organize their data, and offer their customers top-of-the-line experiences in-store, online or on mobile.
Industry experts are predicting another year of technology and innovation moving forward the customer experience at every touchpoint. Here, I cut through the clutter and decode the five trends I believe will have the biggest impact and give your customers the best bang for their buck.
Going global. With modern technology and the internet, the world is now everyone’s marketplace in the online digital space. Big retailers to small local shops can enjoy the benefits of playing in the global marketplace — which include economies of scale, global purchasing power from emerging markets and an expanded customer base — with a consumer-friendly online store and the right payment processor. By offering foreign consumers the ability to pay in their home currency, businesses can increase conversions and drive revenue. Elavon offers Multi-Currency Conversion (MCC) which can reduce the risk of cart abandonment by enabling businesses to show prices in any of the 90 currencies available.
Maximizing micro-moments. “Micro-moments” is a concept that has recently been identified by Think with Google, and is set to take the eCommerce world by storm. Fueled by our growing connection and reliance on our smartphones, micro-moments are “intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.” Have you ever been in a store and wanted to buy something, but double checked that it wasn’t cheaper at another retailer with a quick search using your mobile? Have you ever done some quick research on your device for an upcoming trip or major purchase while taking public transit? These are micro-moments — snippets of time where consumers turn to the internet for instant information. To transform these moments into brand loyalty and eventually convert them into sales, retailers need to think in micro-moments and be ready with one-touch reliable information that their consumers can count on.
Omnicommerce experiences. Today’s customers expect simple and easy holistic interactions with a brand, whether they are shopping in a bricks-and-mortar, on a website using a desktop or on their mobile phone or tablet device. This is a concept known as omnicommerce, and it offers convenience for both retailers and their customers. Their customers get perks like personalized offers, easy in-store returns of online purchases, and their credit information being “remembered” across devices. Retailers get the benefit of learning more about their clients’ shopping habits across all channels and harnessing that data to drive more business. To achieve a truly seamless omnicommerce experience, they’ll need an integrated payment system like Converge from Elavon. Just what they need for taking payments in-person, online or on the go, Converge boasts multi-layer security features and allows them to accept credit, debit and more innovative payment methods like Apple Pay.
Leverage data insights for personalized shopping experiences. Data-driven sales, marketing and inventory management is more efficient and effective with their time and money. It means collecting and using customer information to do business the smarter way — based on quantifiable information rather than hunches. With more platforms offering simplified data collection and analysis, it’s easier than ever for everyone to use consumer insights. The current trend is to leverage these metrics to create personalized shopping experiences for customers. This involves tracking behavior and interests to create custom recommendations of products and services that customers may be interested in. It allows the same website to behave differently for each unique user, tailoring the experience to their preferences — and it’s the future of eCommerce. The same techniques can also be used to deliver hyper-targeted native advertising and custom marketing campaigns.
Mobile bigger share of sales. With mobile currently accounting for about 50% of all eCommerce sales and mobile internet use overtaking desktop, there is plenty of room to grow in order to take full advantage of evolving consumer tastes and preferences. Since research shows most consumers prefer mobile-optimized websites rather than mobile apps for mobile- and device-based shopping, they’ll need to ensure their site is mobile-friendly and optimized with the mobile user in mind. When doing this, keep security top-of-mind, design with the user experience in mind — think bigger text to compensate for declining eyesight and larger buttons that are easier for thumbs to click on — and incorporate an eCommerce solution. Converge can help here, too. It has flexible secure options, whether they’re looking for a plug-and-play shopping cart like 3DCart or Shopify, or if they are a developer looking for tools to incorporate payment acceptance without holding payment sensitive data.
About the author: Ian Drysdale is EVP of Global eCommerce for Elavon, where he leads its eCommerce, integrated payments and payment facilitator businesses. A 25-year veteran in the payments industry, he is focused on growth through value-added capabilities and disruptive payments technology that matters to businesses. Ian is married with three children and enjoys playing tennis on the weekends in his hometown of Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter @ianmdrysdale.