Top 5 E-commerce Trends of 2014

E-commerce continues to evolve rapidly and users are getting to be very savvy online shoppers indeed. As such, they expect more from your site; box-standard e-commerce models will simply no longer do. So, how do you evolve with the times? Here are the 5 top, pretty much essential trends, that e-commerce businesses need to stay on top of their game.

1. SEO

What? This isn’t a new trend, I hear you cry. Now I know. Of course it isn’t but the effect that good SEO has on a site now is even more important than ever. Optimizing text, videos, images and using content to maximize relevant keywords is a trend that just isn’t going anywhere fast. It’s no secret that being higher than your competitors on Google will get that searcher in your door first, and if they find what they’re looking for, they won’t even walk into your competitor’s shop. A strong up-to-date SEO strategy is the single most important trend that won’t go away. So forget what you might have heard, the keyword is by no means dead; it just forms part of the recipe of great SEO. Through effective keyword research, targeted content marketing and competitive analysis, the fight for Google ranking is still very much on. Combined with strong on-page optimization, excellent site structure, usability and effective linking, and you’ve got a recipe for SEO success.

2. Using Data

…but not just any data. The term ‘Big Data’ is a hot buzz term at the moment and a big trend in business and marketing. The goal: to use sophisticated information to drive engagement. Finding ways to use specific data has become more en vogue than the process of collecting it. An example: collecting payment dates and assessing whether a person might be ‘due for another one’ is an effective way to target potential return customers. Another is asking for purchasing factors. No one minds ticking a box that said ‘through a friend’, ‘via Google’, ‘on Facebook’ and even when they don’t you can test it from analytics. This kind of data is one of your best friends when it comes to knowing where to spend marketing money.

3. M-commerce

Let’s just be straight up honest here. Not being mobile-friendly is just not competitive. Without having a mobile-friendly site companies miss out on a huge market. And no, a desktop site that ‘works on mobile’ is not going to cut it. This means: responsive design and a focus on the fact that mobile customers have different needs than desktop users is essential to an all round multi-channel strategy. While no one is abandoning desktops, they are using multiple devices and retailers need to be reaching them any time anywhere any device, selling seamlessly across channels. Generally conversion rates on mobiles tend to be lower for many retailers than on desktops, so working on getting users to convert is a key focus in the m-commerce world at the moment.

4. User Experience

We opened this blog post talking about how smart and sophisticated shoppers are, and they are, but smart doesn’t mean they want to face a challenge in finding what they’ve come to find. They’re smart enough to know that if they don’t find what they want within their 10-second online attention span, they can find it elsewhere. From intuitive interfaces, to visually appealing fonts, to easy navigation, user experience is the key to both search and conversion. The more conversion, the more satisfied customers, the more Google knows you’ve earned your ranking. An even more exciting trend is the move towards personalization. As a shopper moves through the store, rules to surface relevant content that enrich the customer experience and push further sales, are paving the way for flawless customer journeys.

5. Social Media

I know, I know, it’s “old’ news now that social media is important and yes everyone’s got a Facebook page etc but wait, social is still very much a trend that needs keeping an eye on. Social shopping is a constantly evolving beast. Integration with social media continues to bolster online sales and the use of sites such as Pinterest to connect with potential buyers should be at the top of the digital marketing agenda. Plus, and we’re going to go nicely full circle here, social and search are buddies, you may not think it, looking at Google and Facebook but they are. The addition of ‘share’ or ‘like’ buttons and the ability to add social login and ratings will play a big role in boosting SEO. And of course, don’t forget Google+. It is unsurprisingly, Google’s best buddy of all.

About Anna Krahn

Anna is a writer & digital content manager with over five years experience in writing for website content creation and management, video production and presenting, project management and digital marketing including SEO and social media.

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