eCommerce trends for 2017
February 26, 2017 | Shares:

These Are The Top 5 eCommerce Trends for 2017
4 min.

The eCommerce market is growing, and this is attracting new players in droves.

This year will be the year that major technology trends change the way customers interact with brands.

In the fiercely competitive online marketplace, businesses that fail to utilize the most innovative technology to smooth the customer journey will quickly find themselves losing out.

But a great online shopping experience isn’t only about technologies. You have to get your messaging right and connect with your customers, too.

Here are the most critical eCommerce trends to be aware of this year.

Consumer Behavior Trends

eCommerce Trend 1: Mobile users will convert (eventually)

Mobile conversion rates will likely remain considerably below desktop conversion rates in 2017.

Yet you will hear everyone in the industry declaring everything has to be “mobile-first.”

This is because the key consideration stage of the customer journey often occurs on mobile devices.

As the chart below shows, tablet and mobile traffic made up a combined 58% of all eCommerce traffic in the second half of 2016.

eCommerce trends 2017 devices

These consumers are browsing products and making purchase decisions on mobile devices, and then converting later on desktop.

When the mobile user goes to a desktop to purchase, it is measured as a desktop conversion — but it was the mobile content that led them to purchase.

The average home now has more than seven devices connected to the internet.

Marketers need to break away from looking at mobile and desktop visitors as separate entities, when they are likely the same people.

In 2017, brands should be making it easier for shoppers to switch seamlessly between devices and pick up their customer journey where they left off.

eCommerce Trend 2: Marketing content shock

In terms of total market growth, eCommerce will have a good year in 2017.

The World Bank has revised its growth estimates for 2017 to be higher than 2016, and both emerging and developed markets are expected to grow slightly faster than they did last year.

Add to that continued growth in global internet adoption and shifting consumer habits and you have a cocktail for strong eCommerce growth this year.

But this doesn’t mean eCommerce marketers can rest on their laurels. The buoyant market will tempt a huge range of new players into an already crowded market, suppressing margins and increasing competition.

SEO experts will face the problem of ‘content shock,’ originally coined by Mark Schaefer, whereby content meant to attract views and links will struggle to find an audience.

This is because there will be so many people competing in the market to create compelling content that consumers will be increasingly picky about the content they access.

Content Shock graph

Content shock will make it far harder to be successful with content marketing and SEO, and thus it will mean more and more brands turn to Google AdWords.

Since AdWords prices are set according to an internal marketplace, this will increase bid rates across the board for eCommerce search terms.

This is great news for Google, but expensive for eCommerce brands.

eCommerce Trend 3: Subscribing to luxury

US consumer confidence is at an 11-year high.

The US small business optimism index recently had its greatest surged since 1980. The FTSE in the UK and the Dow Jones in the US are both setting records for their highest ever valuations.

This customer confidence means people are increasingly willing to open their wallets, whilst businesses will be more willing to invest and banks will be more willing to lend.

This means that rather than focusing relentlessly on price, shoppers will be seeking out luxury.

And when they do so they will want to spread costs out via subscription services, rather than buying one-off big-ticket purchases.

Those in their 20s and 30s today have disposable incomes one-third higher than the same age cohort did twenty years ago, but their wealth (the value of their assets) is lower than their parents’ wealth was when they were the same age.

This means plenty of money for subscriptions to eCommerce providers like SprezzaBox, but little in the way of savings to pay for large items in a single go.

Luxury subscription services are taking over eCommerce

All the key fundamentals are in place for luxury subscription-based eCommerce businesses to be extremely successful in 2017.

Marketers need to successfully build their brand to convey luxury and make sure their pricing models take into account the millennial desire (or need) to spread the cost of purchases.

Technology Trends

eCommerce Trend 4: Chatbots

Chatbots have had so much coverage over the past few months that it feels like overkill to even mention them.

But they are a huge deal for eCommerce marketers because they offer the crucial prospect of transforming how customers purchase items on mobile devices with conversational commerce.

Chat bots can impact eCommerce sales

If customers can talk naturally to a shopping bot built into a platform they already have on their mobile device such as Facebook’s Messenger App, then the customer journey will be massively simplified.

eCommerce Trend 5: Martech stacks get out of control

The number of marketing technology companies has grown exponentially in recent years.

Since 2011, the number of marketing tools has increased twenty-fold, to more 3,500. There is no sign of this trend subsiding, and it may even accelerate this year.

It is likely that by the end of 2017, there will be more than 5,000 different martech tools at eCommerce companies’ disposal.

Martech tools eCommerce trends

If eCommerce marketers do not choose carefully, they can end up wasting their time trying to integrate tools that were never configured to work together.

The answer is to actively plan and manage your marketing stack, ensuring that new tools pass the all-important integration test before being utilized.

Failure to do this will mean already disjointed systems will become even more confusing in 2017.

Robert Allen
Robert Allen, Editor, Smart Insights
Robert Allen is Editor of Smart Insights, a digital marketing advice site founded by Dr Dave Chaffey. Our Expert members, based in more than 50 countries, use our advice to improve the results for their businesses or their clients to create structured plans to develop digital strategies and manage marketing. You can follow Rob on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.
  • This one is a very interesting post. Really this helps other bloggers to create a successful online business.

    • Aimee from Yotpo

      Glad you liked it!

  • Erika Parker

    Thanks, Robert. You outlined quite significant trends in this year.

    Many marketers have already written about a mobile surge in 2017. And your observation is accurate – the key consideration stage of the customer journey indeed occurs on mobile devices. We can already see the emergence of an electronics evolution. Devices will become only smarter, faster and more connected to our culture and us. They are going to influence consumer choices at the point of purchase. Mobile devices also will be shoppers’ partner. And here we can talk about another trend. Mobile devices substitute alarm clocks, take over photography, provide access to favorite social media platforms. See? They’ve transformed how consumers communicate and share information.

    Since we`re talking about trends here, I would like to mention another article, dedicated to digital marketing transformation in 2017. The article was written by Hassan Bawab. He is the CEO of Magic Logix, a transformative marketing agency specializing in customized web development solutions and digital strategies. Mr. Bawab is also a consultant for Top 1000 Fortune companies.

    Hassan`s article differs from this one.He highlighted such trends as Big Data, The Internet of things, Virtual and augmented reality and Artificial Intelligence. Read the article and be informed of developments

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