The 10 Evolving C's of the Retail Industry
Retail is a buzzing arena in the business industry -- one that guarantees an increase in revenue each year. Recently, it has been totally digitalized in the form of ecommerce. Have you seen the recent report on the first quarterly ecommerce sales of 2016 by U.S. Census Bureau News? If not, you are missing out on a good read. According to the report, sales in the first quarter of 2016 increased by 15.1 percent from the first quarter of 2015 and even more so from years past. Experts believe 10 Cs are the main reason behind the evolution of the industry. Here is my analysis on the 10 Cs and their impact on the industry.
1. Conversational commerce.
Mobile is, without a doubt, invading the B2C industry. Mobile commerce accounts for 29.7 percent of all U.S. ecommerce sales in 2015. Social messaging apps are probably the biggest part of that statistic. With a few clicks, your desired product can be pushed into the delivery process. Messaging apps have now become a mode of communication with customers. In fact, live chat has the highest satisfaction level for any customer service channel with 73 percent. Another success is Facebook Messenger. It's promoting conversational commerce in a way that customers like.
2. Coverage on search grounds.
Google has now become a survival kit for every layman. According to a study found on Kissmetrics, 30.5 percent of all traffic comes from organic searches on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. Optimizing your website per search engine standard is now a common practice, and every online retailer is paying significant attention to it. If your website is ranking reasonably in the search engine results page -- called SERP -- you are more likely to get clicks.
3. Content rich experience.
Gone are the days when we trusted word of mouth about a retailer. Generation Y consumers trust data, detailed descriptions, video reviews and social proactivity. Most eretailers have realized the need for a content rich experience, and they are making enormous profits out of it.
The more details you provide, the more consumers will be eager to buy. Here is an example of showing complete product description, customer reviews and video description to assist buyers in making a quick decision.
4. Commandment in UX.
User experience is one of the major factors behind enormous sales of any brand. Most ecommerce websites are now based on conversion centric web designs, bearing in mind the call-to-action. If a website’s UX is solving the user’s problem, then everyone wins. I have read that every $1 invested in UX returns up to $100. If a website is well-commanded with its UX, insane profits ought to be anticipated from it.
5. Cater the omni channel customers.
Many people are still unaware of the buzzword "omni channel" in the ecommerce industry. It means offering buyers multiple ways to perform a sale in order to give them a multi-channel experience. Retailers are overwhelmed by this technology -- believing that a customer who is arriving from multi-channel is more valuable than a customer who is coming from a single channel. Big names like Starbucks, L’Oreal and Macy’s are performing well when it comes to an omni channel experience. Take a look at some data to support the case.
Source: Retail Week
6. Customized email marketing.
Nowadays, customized or personalized email marketing campaigns are like magic sticks for marketers. According to a report from CampaignMonitor.com, customized subject lines encourage users to click and review your email.
Personalized email marketing delivers the highest ROI for businesses and marketers with 760 percent growth rate. Businesses are actively using it, and it is now considered as one of the best channels for user retention and acquiring convertible traffic.
7. Co-operative customer support.
No doubt, co-operative customer support is an essential thing in every industry of the globe. But it has unique worth in the ecommerce industry that directly impacts ROI. Timely response to customer queries delivers a wow experience. Social media, live chat, email and phone are considered as the best customer support tools. Stats found on Desk.com show that 78 percent of customers believe that social media with be the next tier of customer service, and 46 percent of online customers expect brands to provide customer service on Facebook. Those companies who don't respond to social media are in trouble -- 88 percent of customers say they are less likely to buy from companies who leave social media complaints unanswered.
8. Customized campaigns.
Holiday seasons and festivals are great opportunities for retailers because the buying habits of consumers are at their peak. Sales will likely be higher compared to ordinary days. The majority of retail businesses prepare customized marketing campaigns for each holiday season or festival to attract more customers to their brand. Customized campaigns can be in any form -- offering deals, discounts or free giveaways to attract a certain audience.
9. Content for media houses.
Online magazines and news websites are considered the most authoritative source of information, and people trust them blindly. Most of the trends are derived from a media channel. For example, if a publisher features certain news on its online magazine, it eventually becomes a trend in the market. Eretailers are targeting media publishing to get featured in order to create a trend and attract a large audience. Let me clarify this with a demonstration and real life example. I’m working for a women’s fashion brand called Sophie and Trey. It got picked by BuzzFeed as one of the 27 totally underrated places to shop. Consequently, it drove tons of traffic to the website. People were searching for the products mentioned in the post.
10. Coupons strategy.
Consumers are always looking for deals and discount coupons to save some money. Businesses are regularly issuing coupons to invite customers to try their products. This is both to acquire new customers and get existing ones to return. VoucherCloud.com has incredible stats on the value of coupons in digital campaigns.
In a nutshell
That's what's evolving and revolutionizing the ecommerce industry, especially in 2016. If you are planning to initiate a retail model, make sure you are making the best use of these tools and techniques for a ROI bombardment.
Abbas Rajani is an Inbound and SEO Strategist at Pac and Copy Plus, a digital marketing agency and a blogger at Visiblup. He has been assisting B2B and B2C businesses with ROI growth and effective online presence. Currently, he is working on a logo design project ‘PNC Logos‘. Follow @abbas_rajani for more online marketing related updates.