Understanding trends are key to success
Prospective entrepreneurs can build a successful e-commerce business with some effort, the right marketing methods, and a quality product. Business owners can enter the e-commerce industry on a small scale with a relatively limited budget, but they can also grow their businesses into significant operations over time. Since online businesses eliminate many challenges, like the staffing and management of a physical retail location, it makes sense for many entrepreneurs to pursue online businesses.
But because the barriers to the e-commerce world are relatively low, it’s a crowded field, and you’ll need to be strategic in how you attract customers. Marketing professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs can all use the following trends to improve the performance of an online retail business.
Personalization in E-Commerce
Personalization is one of the major trends in e-commerce today. Because an online business doesn’t have the opportunity to connect with buyers in person, the more that you can customize your marketing, online store, and checkout process to each individual, the more you can create a valuable connection with each shopper. Tracking a shopper’s actions and suggesting relevant products is one way to upsell while also making the shopper feel connected to your brand and store.
Data collection can help you further personalize your store’s marketing and performance. By collecting data on shoppers, you can better understand your audience and tailor your marketing to be more reflective of the audience’s personal interests, favorite products, purchase history, and more. Collecting data on a shopper’s birthday or other special event allows you to send out special birthday discounts and offers, showing that you value the shopper’s business while simultaneously building a personal connection with that individual.
Further, with the increasing trend of collecting data about customers, adequate business liability insurance becomes more important. Internet business insurance can protect you in the case of a data breach. A comprehensive insurance policy can also help to protect your business against copyright infringement and shield you from legal costs associated with a lawsuit.
Emerging Supply Chain Management Trends
Multiple trends also affect supply chain management. Sustainability currently plays a significant role, with the increasing world population and the awareness of environmental issues. With an increased public focus on sustainability, businesses also need to carefully examine their products’ effects on the environment, including production, shipping, and more. Not only is it ethically responsible for companies to evaluate their manufacturing and production practices, but with consumers choosing to support sustainable companies and products, this strategy could increase sales too.
Augmented reality can also help to increase supply chain efficiency and overall performance. Warehouses can use countless tools, such as 3-D facility layouts and mapping to optimize schedules and create an ideal layout for fast, efficient transportation. Truck drivers can utilize augmented reality technology to help them load their trucks in the order the deliveries will be dropped off, saving valuable time sorting through and moving packages. This technology can also help to identify the best delivery routes, accounting for traffic, road closures, weather, and more.
With improved supply chain management, businesses can deliver goods faster and more accurately. When so many consumers value the speed of delivery, embracing these trends can help businesses to get ahead of the competition and win customer loyalty.
The Evolving Role of Automation
Automation also plays an important role in e-commerce, and it’s present in many different facets of the industry. Automated chatbots are already in use to provide instant customer service, and with creative programming, they’re able to guide customers through returns, transactions, and more. While chatbots can’t always replace human customer service representatives, they can help to fill in some of the gaps and ensure that customers always receive an instant response and some help with their questions or concerns.
Even shipping methods are becoming automated. Amazon has rolled out the use of delivery drones in some locations, and as autonomous vehicle technology continues to evolve, self-driving delivery trucks may not be far behind. FedEx has also recently announced its pilot of using robots as last-mile delivery systems, bringing packages to consumers’ doorsteps.
Automated purchases and subscription options are also evolving in the e-commerce world. Amazon offers customers discounts on products if they commit to buying those items on a recurring schedule, automating future purchases. The subscription box model has also gained popularity, streamlining the purchase process so that products arrive at customers’ doors every month without their having to manually make or approve a purchase. This arrangement can benefit both consumers and e-commerce businesses, taking some of the hassle out of the buying process.
You’ll notice that technology is central to all of these management trends, and as new technology evolves, we’ll likely see even more powerful options that offer increased accuracy and efficiency. By keeping up with these trends, you can position your e-commerce business for success.
Written by: Indiana Lee, BOSS Contributor