Every few years or so, the Internet seems to be reinvented by new trends, and the eCommerce arm of the Web isn’t any different. While online shopping has technically been around for decades, it wasn’t until the mid 1990s with the advent of Amazon and eBay that it took off with the everyday home consumer. Fast forward 17 years to 2012 and online shopping is ubiquitous for most consumers. In fact, according to Internet Retailer, eCommerce sales are expected to jump 62 percent from $226 billion this year to $327 billion in 2016.

But what are the latest trends in online shopping today? People aren’t talking about eBay or Craig’s List like they are novelties anymore, now they’re talking about Etsy and Pinterest. And what the success of Etsy has done is popularized unusual products like never before. Many people have never heard of steampunk before Etsy, let alone what a steampunk wrist watch looks like. But now, people are looking for the most unique item they can find online.  On the flip side, more common products like tools and consumer electronics, which in the past haven’t sold as well online as they do in brick-and-mortar stores, are finding new life on the Web. This is happening because smaller online stores are either partnering with larger, big-name distributors or manufacturers (something some of our clients do) to sell those products on their own site.

Social influence is also becoming a huge factor in eCommerce. This falls right in line with the rise and triumph of Etsy. Many people (and companies) are using their social channels — Facebook, Twitter and especially Pinterest — to nudge Internet users to their online store. This is supremely effective for smaller “mom-and-pop” or individually-owned eCommerce sites. And one of the reasons this is so effective is the mobile factor. According to Think Mobile with Google, 81 percent of all smartphone users access the Web on their mobile devices. A lot of time spent on the mobile Internet is through apps, many of those social. If a company with an eCommerce website is pushing its products through its social channels, it’s nearly a sure bet that some of its fans or followers will click a link  to the site.

A Screenpages report from 2011 states that 10 percent of traffic to online stores is coming from mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. This is just another indicator of why developing a mobile eCommerce site in conjunction with a desktop one is essential for success. My Trio Rings’ Punit Shah told Mashable that not only do many of My Trio Rings’ customers have easier access to the Web from their smartphones, but that the average price of a mobile sale versus a desktop sale is higher. Twelve percent higher, in fact. So if your eCommerce site isn’t properly optimized for both the traditional Internet and the mobile Web, you could potentially be missing out on quite a few sales.

If you have questions or suggestions about how to improve an eCommerce site, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below or contact TM today.

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