What are the specific e-commerce trends for 2017? The hunt for independency, the importance of larger volumes, and mobile engagement are some of the strongest trends as shared by four CEOs of leading Nordic e-commerce companies.
Marcus Fredricsson, CEO, Mekster:
The race is driven for e-retailers who base their operations on dropship
Customers’ ever increasing overall demands make convenient shipping options more important. In some verticals, it has historically functioned well to work without stock and instead have suppliers send goods directly to customers (dropship). But today more customers disqualify e-retailers who send goods directly from suppliers, particularly in cases when the goods come from different suppliers since they then need to spend far too much time to collect the goods in different batches.
E-retailers are assuming important “wholesale roles”
In order to offer fast and precise deliveries you need to have the products on offers available for immediate delivery to customers. You also need a tremendous control of the supply chain logistics to satisfy customers. Looking at how e-commerce is developing now, and in 2017, and how the international marketplaces like Google Shopping and Amazon grab market shares, smaller e-retailers must be prepared to partially loosen the customer relationship and focus even more on the logistics to successfully offer their products through these marketplaces.
E-retailers will make better use of virtual reality
Virtual reality (VR) has existed for a number of years but the e-commerce industry has not yet found a way to utilize the technology. Some actors have made promising attempts, but in 2017 I forsee that the e-commerce industry will take on VR in a big way. Initially, much effort will be invested in replicating the benefits of the physical store, e.g. more inviting product exposure, better upselling opportunities, of course with brilliant virtual staff who know exacltly what you want.
Marcus Fredriksson is founder of Nordic Etail, an ‘e-commerce factory’ that owns, invests in and manages e-commerce stores in a broad range of exciting verticals with considerable growth potential.
Christoffer Tyrefors, Cykelkraft.se:
Cut middlemen and increase profitability
The cloud has long been a popular place for IT operations and service delivery, but its popularity is spreading; today you can run yor own display advertising with real time purchases on international spot markets for ad slots; you can easily build your own satellite site networks through services that provide the entire chain with domain purchases, content deliveries and link constructions. You can easily manage your newsletters with Amazon’s infrastructure without the need for middlemen. In short, you can simply do more yourself, and only pay for actual delivery! This a sign of maturity in an industry that has been largely funded by venture capital and valued growth unbelievably high, but that now needs to find fundamental profitabilities of their core businesses and therefore needs to stop paying money to intermediaries.
Google dependency and the hunt for independency
Google’s ad formats are becoming increasingly difficult to discern and take up more space in search results. Google responds directly to many searches. For e-commerce with physical products, Google Shopping shows products, prices and inventory from multiple stores directly in the search results – i.e. customers do not even need to visit a store in order to shop! It makes us e-traders more dependent on Google than ever. The e-commerce industry is feverishly looking for ways to reduce the importance of search, which in practice means to build brands. To build a brand requires something which happens to be the the third major e-commerce trend in 2017, namely…
…Eat or get eaten
Large volumes have always been good for e-commerce, but with the large e-market places that are being rolled out globally (both traditional ones like Amazon and new ones like Wish), Google’s dominance in the entire purchase process funnel and the significantly increasing media noise, volume will become even more important. Volume translates to economies of scale, and with economies of scale it is easier to (more affordable) to build the brand. Those e-commerce actors with a strong brand can get customers to shop at acquisition with sustainable business.
Christoffer Tyrefors is CEO of Cykelkraft.se, Sweden’s largest online bicycle shop and one of the fastest growing e-commerve companies in the Nordics.
Sven Hammar, CEO, Apica System:
B2B shopping experience becoming more like B2C
B2B e-commerce is becoming the biggest revenue generator in the U.S. and around the world. B2B organisations will take advantage of all of the B2C industry advancements to improve their business models and shopping experiences. Despite low volumes, B2B tends to have higher value in each sale. It will be important to ensure online assets are available and meet e-commerce purchase models.
DDoS attacks continue in a social way
DDoS attacks continue to flood enterprises with disruptions and targeted misconduct, also on e-commerce sites. Today’s attacks are being rolled out through social media channels, being delivered via real people and are tied to specific actions of companies that the consumer doesn’t agree with. I predict that we will see more attacks as companies continue to take advantage of social media to build customers and brand confidence. E-commerce actors will look for traffic visibility tools to ensure that these attacks don’t create downtime and disrupt sales.
Analytics for both sides of the business
Comparing sales data with performance data creates a strong bond between the two. A platform that performs faster will lead to higher sales – a 100ms increase in page load can increase sales by 1 percent. Performance and sales will align more in 2017 as organisations establish KPIs like web/cloud/app performance to increase profits.
By Sven Hammar, co-founder and CEO of Apica, a provider of powerful, best-in-class technology for testing, monitoring, and optimizing the performance of cloud and mobile applications.
Torkel Hallander, CEO, Nordic Etail
SalesManReplication – SMR – will become the new buzzword
Online retailers will increasingly harness the power of user-centric shopping – when web-shops start acting like the worlds best IRL salesman, not only will shoppers get a better experience and spread the word, but the retailer will se increasing conversion rates and higher margins as a result. It will involve everything from asking those important questions, listening to the customer, addressing each customer individually and personally, helping to choose products, easing the shipment and even making returns hassle-free.
Mobile engagement will increase its influence over e-commerce
According to a recent statement by Gartner, mobile-driven e-commerce revenue will rise by 50 percent in 2017, due to higher mobile engagement and the mobile-centric behaviour of online shoppers. Functionality for shopping mobile will reach new heights, selecting and choosing products, moving between devices, payments will be easier etc… but more importantly the critical-mass hurdle for people to start realize they can do it in their phone has been passed… once you have purchased one thing in your phone, you will start wanting to do it all in the phone.
Web sites, web shops, e-mailings and other forms of digital marketing are becoming ever more targeted. The presentation and the offering are becoming more designed for individual customer preferences, behaviours and purchasing power – all in order to maximise sales, profit margins and customer satisfaction.
By Torkel Hallander, CEO of Nordic Etail, an ‘e-commerce factory’.