E-Commerce’s Growth Skyrockets. Are You Ready for Change?

“By 2037 e-commerce will overtake traditional commerce.” That’s the harsh reality according to Nielsen in their report “Future Opportunities in FMCG Ecommerce”. The year 2037 might seem like it’s still far off, but it’s a reality that will surely come. E-commerce is everyone’s highest priority and this report tells us that it will dominate even further in the years to come. That’s why it’s time to start evaluating and reinvesting in your e-commerce solution now, so that you’ve done your fair share of optimizing by 2037. Where should you start? There are a few tools you’ll need to look at to make yourself ready for the changes to come.

What will change?

Quite a lot, actually. At the moment, there are plenty of new technologies that are worming their way into the consumer’s daily life. An example would be voice technology. As Google, Amazon and Alibaba continue to improve their speech recognition algorithms, which has pushed past an impressive 95% word accuracy rate for the English language, more languages will follow soon enough.

This technology combined with home devices and modern smartphones open so many possibilities when it comes to commerce. And we haven’t even touched upon the other new kids on the block such as VR, AI, and mobile payments…

All of these advancements are predicted to give e-commerce that final push to overthrow brick-and-mortar stores. However, this also means that there’ll be more and more channels to distribute your product through, so keeping your messaging consistent across all channels is incredibly important. How are customers supposed to trust a brand that says one thing on Facebook and another on their website? This makes omnichannel commerce an enormous challenge for many companies today. What more once even more channels are added?

Even today, 80% of the citizens of Western Europe are actively buying online every month according to the Ecommerce Foundation. But before you learn how to run, you have to learn how to walk. By improving your e-commerce now, you can make sure that your omnichannel strategy is up to speed and sustainable for growth going into 2037. That way, you can offer a complete and consistent experience to your customers as soon as possible.

Preparing for e-commerce growth

Many organizations have already made great strides in the digital world. On the flip side, there are also companies that haven’t. Let’s assume your organization is part of the latter group. What do you do? How do you make sure that you are ready for 2037? No worries, we’ll break it down into some easy-to-digest steps. That way, you’ll know where you have to start your journey to omnichannel success.

1. Make sure your data is under control

First of all, you’ll want to make sure that your data is fully under control. If you make mistakes here, you’re sure to hit a brick wall in your e-commerce growth. A customer needs to be able to trust your store, which is why you need to make sure you provide a fitting and consistent experience for them. Supplying them with incorrect or outdated information will definitely throw a wrench into your relationship with your customers.

Let’s say your business sells furniture. If the sizes of a cupboard are wrong on your website, you can rest assured that you’ll receive quite a large amount of complaints. How would you feel if you ordered your dream cupboard online, only to find out that it’s one centimeter too high to fit into your room while assembling it? If you invest in a good PIM solution, you can rest assured that this won’t happen to your customers. At least, for the things they buy from your store.

2. Choose your e-commerce solution

Once your data has been whipped into shape, it’s time to take a look at your ecommerce solution. This one’s a hard choice to make. Do you want to settle for one big monolithic solution that takes care of everything out-of-the-box? Or would you prefer the flexibility of an API-based approach? There are differences for you as a company and the way you’ll work with it. If we’re going to continue with the furniture store example, this is just where a customer would buy your furniture online.

Of course, there are more nuances to picking the right platform. Depending on the needs of your business, the chosen system can be completely different. In the end, this is not a decision that should be taken lightly. If you still want to learn more about this, I recommend checking out our whitepaper “The Ecommerce Selection Handbook”, as this is not the main focus of this article.

3. Connect 1 and 2, then start personalizing

You might think you’re finished now, but no. You’ve only got your basics covered, and there’s still much work to be done. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be proud of where you are now! You can sell your products online and you can be sure that all your information is standardized and correct. That’s quite a feat already! But there’s still work to be done. Now that the foundation has been laid, it’s time to start optimizing!

Take a good look at your website and e-commerce store. Is everything clear? To you, it might be. But what about that first-time visitor to your website? Do they know what to do? Try to look at it from their perspective. Try to gather as much data as you can. Check your preferred web analytics tool, look for market research and try to conduct your own interviews and A/B tests.  Once you know what people want and where it goes wrong, it’s time to start incorporating what you’ve learned.

Make sure you don’t lose track of your other channels, though! If you’ve noticed a softer tone-of-voice works better and update your website, update your other media, too! You could compare your brand to a person here. If a person treats you completely differently in certain situations, you probably won’t trust him or her. It’s the exact same for customers and brands. That’s why consistency is key across all of your channels.

Improving your store is a never-ending process. There’s always something to optimize or something to recheck. The sooner you get started, the more things will have been done by 2037.

Personalizing experiences for e-commerce growth

After all of this, we still haven’t touched upon personalizing content. Whether it’s an introductory message for a first-time visitor or even different content based on which website the visitor is coming from. It might sound like science-fiction to some, but a good omnichannel strategy that is focused on product experience makes it all possible. According to research by Sitecore, personalizing customer experience can lead to an increase of 19% in digital conversions.

Check out this video by Sitecore if you want more info:

Your store also has room for personalization if you want to get the most out of your e-commerce solution. The “product recommendations”, the “often bought togethers” or the “users also looked at” sections. They’re nothing to scoff at! Thirty-five percent of e-commerce giant Amazon’s sales comes from their perfectly optimized recommendation engine. That’s a rough 62.2 billion dollars’ worth of revenue, for those wondering.

Your connected PIM and the personas defined in your CMS make it easy to keep all your personalization efforts consistent across the board. Focus on product experiences and do the work that needs to be done to build the entire experience. Then push it to your system and present a potential customer with a total product experience. Doing so will cause him or her to start to trust your information and your company. What is part of that product experience? Is it only the sizes and technical details of the cupboard you provide? Or does it have more aspects? We’ll discuss the essential parts of product experience in our upcoming webinar.

 

This blog was written by Brecht Beertens from our partner Osudio and is part of a four-part series of blogs focusing on the FMCG market in 2019.

Osudio

We started with designing and building websites in the 90’s. Over the years, we grew into a full service digital agency, focusing on ebusiness. Since 2017, we are part of the SQLI group.

Our team consists of entrepreneurial, inspirational and driven people who are not afraid of challenges. With more than 200 employees, we operate internationally and implement business-transforming projects from our offices in Belgium (Diepenbeek), Germany (Lünen, Stuttgart and Berlin), the Netherlands (Eindhoven and Amsterdam), Spain (Valencia), Switzerland (Zurich) and the Nordics (Copenhagen, Malmö).

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