What eCommerce Businesses Should be Planning Now for 2017’s Q3
You may be asking yourself what eCommerce trends are going to be big in Q3 this year and thus, what you should be planning for right now. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered. As we help over 1,200 retail businesses maximize their sales and business growth, we have all the information you need to help keep you on the front foot this year.
Trend #1: Automation in eCommerce
At the root of automated eCommerce are big brands such as Amazon. Consistently striving ahead with automation in their picking processes (for instance, using robotic pickers), and now even automating the buying process itself with Amazon GO; it can feel like a big job to try to keep up with giants like this.
But it doesn’t have to be. As an independent eCommerce business, you have the flexibility to make some small changes fairly quickly and reap big rewards. From automating your fulfillment processes, by sending orders automatically to your dispatch team based on a set of rules, to automatically updating your inventory levels across your multiple sales channels in real-time; there are simple ways that you can automate your eCommerce processes.
Not only that, but you could also start automating those mundane admin tasks that let’s face it, no-one likes doing. Whether it be updating your order statuses to let your customers know items have been dispatched, or posting the sales invoices to your accounts at the end of the day, week, month, quarter; if the big brands are automating eCommerce, you need to be as well.
How can you plan ahead for automation in eCommerce?
First things first, you can’t do anything unless you have a reliable (and scalable) system that can help you automate those tasks. You need to be
able to trust the system you’re working with so that you can start cutting out the mundane admin tasks we’ve talked about, and let the system take care of all of that for you.
Next, you should ensure that your workflows and processes are tip-top and detailed enough for the automation software. A good place to start with this is by using systems such as Lucidchart to map out your workflows, which can then be transferred into your automation system.
Once your automated processes are setup, keep a close eye on how everything is working together. Are your processes streamlined? Is there a part of your workflow you may have missed out during the mapping process? Whatever you need to change, do so and keep testing until your automated workflow is 100% right for both you and your customers.
If you accept the challenge of competing with the larger retailers and automating your processes, then your customers will see the improvements in their shopping experience. And you will also be able to focus more of your time and energy on growth activities, such as improving your sales and marketing strategies.
Trend #2: Omnichannel Retail
If you’ve been keeping on top of the latest retail trends and news, then you know that omnichannel retail is here to stay. But what exactly is it? And how can you tackle it to the benefit of your customers?
In today’s eCommerce environment, customers expect you to be where they are and for them to have a consistent shopping experience, no matter how they heard about you. This includes in person, at home, and on mobile and tablet devices – if you’re not where your browsers are, then omnichannel retail success is not going to be yours.
What do you need to do?
There are a few key steps that you should embark on to be the best omnichannel retailer and in fairness, they largely focus on knowing your customer. You need to know how they heard about you, where they’re shopping, what they’re buying and what their journey was to get to you. It’s your job to be there for each step of the way.
Here are a few quick points to fire up your thinking engine regarding omnichannel retail:
- Know your buyer personas and their buying journeys in vivid detail
- Connect with your consumers in any way that they expect to hear from you
- Define your primary target audience and act on those findings
- Understand and act on the data that your eCommerce system is giving you
- Create your omnichannel strategy and identify your unique roadmap
If you’re serious about growing your eCommerce business, then you should read this guide, written by Nicole from RetailMinded. It offers a lot of useful information about omnichannel retail, and how you can start implementing your new and improved strategies ready for Q3 and beyond.
Trend #3: Personable eCommerce
We’ve already discussed the importance of automating your eCommerce workflows, but we also need to mention how important it is not to lose yourself in the automation. There should still be a personable vibe to your brand and company.
Your customers actually want to talk to you. They want to know the brand they’re buying from has a story behind it and that they can speak to a real person if they have questions, feedback or complaints. Whether you choose to offer personable eCommerce via live chat, targeted emails or the good old fashioned telephone, your customers will appreciate that they’re speaking to you.
Additionally, never forget about the value of your packaging standing out from the crowd. Thoughtful and personalized packaging are being rampaged across social media – customers are loving it! Fashion retailer Trunk Club appear to have perfected their unique packaging and thank you notes – this is one trend you can definitely plan and implement quite quickly.
It’s also important for the vibe of your eCommerce website to be personable. Yes, it needs to be functional and professional of course, but your about page should have that personal touch. The story of how your company started reminds consumers that they’re buying from someone they can trust and keep coming back to for many years.
Q3 will also see more and more websites and social media displaying unique content to browsers based on their preferences, location, age, gender and past purchases. While in the past, this content may have been completely incorrect; with platforms such as Magento 2 in place, relevant recommendations and content will be easy to produce and get in front of shoppers.
Whichever way you choose to capitalize on personalized shopping experiences with your own eCommerce business, 2017 is set to be your best year yet!
Justine Cross is the Content Marketing Executive for Brightpearl, which is the #1 retail management system for omnichannel retailers and wholesalers. Brightpearl allows you to provide a truly omnichannel experience for your customers, whilst unifying all of your sales channels, inventory, accounting, CRM, suppliers, fulfillment, reporting and POS in one single system.