What the Future of E-commerce Looks Like in 2014

Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Business Technology [ 0 Comments ]

2014 will see ecommerce become an ever more prominent part of marketing2013 was a groundbreaking year for e-commerce. Our previously one-dimensional marketplace, limited to in-person purchases, has developed and evolved into a more dynamic environment, allowing shoppers to buy at their leisure, whether that means running down to the local grocery store or ordering your produce online.

In a new article, business tech news outlet ZD Net speculates on how these trends, which have made 2013 exceptionally exciting for small businesses, are likely to bleed and blend into the new year.

Mobile Commerce is a Speeding Bullet
The weekend after Thanksgiving, starting with the popular Black Friday, has become three of the busiest shopping days of the year, both in stores and online.

According to research from IBM, nearly a third of e-commerce traffic during the busy weekend came from mobile customers. No surprise considering that throughout the year mobile transactions have increased 56 percent from 2012. Recognizing the shift toward a more mobile preference, small businesses should work on preparing additional content friendly to smaller devices. Like The Prospecting Expert, a small B2B consulting firm based in Minnesota, which designed an iPhone app for the sole purpose of distributing content to customers. Unique ways to not only distribute mobile-ready content but reinforce a business’s brand will help drive mobile strategies to success.

Related: 10 Things Your Business Should Be Tweeting Everyday

The Social Marketplace
Since the inflation of the social media bubble, which brought platforms like Facebook and Pinterest to the attention of the business community, marketers have slowly been working the popular networks into their overall advertising strategies.

Just this past Thanksgiving weekend, IBM found customers referred to a product via Facebook spent approximately $100 per order. A small horse supply business in New Jersey, the Toll Booth Saddle Shop, stands as a great example of how organizations can benefit from social platforms. Toll Booth keeps their Facebook page loaded with videos, photos and fresh content. They even offer customers an automatic 10 percent discount if they choose to make a purchase through the official Facebook store.

Small businesses can gain an advantage over their competition by simply outdoing them on social media.

The Internet Will Assist in Targeted Ads
Marketers are always striving to increase the effectiveness of their advertisements. In many cases, this means understanding audiences.

There are several ways organizations today connect with and understand customers, like social media. But these avenues, while incredibly informative, are still somewhat limited. You can learn demographics, but the information can be generic. To overcome this hurdle, some companies have begun using the GPS systems in smartphones to provide shoppers with information about promotions specific to their immediate area. Throughout 2014 marketers are expected to expand on this practice, using the Internet to further target customers in an exact geographic location.

Small businesses should keep a keen eye fixed on these developments, and jump at the opportunity as the possibilities become available.

Related: The Top Three Digital Marketing Trends

Local Businesses Gain an Advantage
There can’t be enough said for the development and subsequent inclusion of technological advancements in commerce, but a recent survey showed customers are beginning to look for a more local touch.

According to ZD Net, a survey from Deloitte found that nearly 66 percent of shoppers currently support the practice of buying locally. This gives a special advantage to small businesses. Not only can they capitalize on the online tools and resources and techniques similarly available to bigger companies, but small businesses can also benefit from their more intimate size and place in the community.

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