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Happy New Year, everyone! It’s been a whirlwind of a holiday season, with many still on vacation until Monday. If you’ve been focusing your efforts on maximizing holiday sales for your online store, spending more time with family or just taking a much needed break rather than reading up on the holiday’s top ecommerce news, you’re not alone.

Not to worry, though. We’ve rounded up the top ecommerce stories you need to know this week, centered around what will likely be 2015’s most important ecommerce disruptor: mobile.

Nike, Target, Macy’s, Amazon See Huge Mobile Commerce Growth; Drive Industry Toward Mobile-First Focus

Larger brands and retail chains focusing their efforts on ecommerce optimization earned the highest revenue and brand loyalty in Q4 of 2014, including Target, Macy’s, Nike, Under Armour and ecommerce industry-leader Amazon.

Target rose in the rankings of top retail sites this holiday season, due largely to the brand’s mobile app Cartwheel. According to the most recent ComScore data, 62% of Target’s mobile visits came via the app, a number rivaling Amazon’s mobile traffic, which leads the retail industry at 66%. Average mobile traffic for retailers and brands rests at 30%.

62% of Target’s mobile visits come via the brand’s app, Cartwheel.

Target’s brand strategy is focused on bringing in more millennial shoppers, doing so by creating a better mobile experience via the Cartwheel app. Macy’s is also using a more omni-channel approach than most to appeal to millennial’s, with 11-12% of the brands marketing mix going toward omni-channel, as compared to 9-10% for average department stores.

Other brands focused on well executed digital strategies include Nike and Under Armour, with the former seeing 60% growth in online sales in the fiscal second quarter of 2014. Nike is heavily investing in ecommerce infrastructure, capabilities and geographic expansion, hoping to propel the brand to a $2 billion sales target for online by fiscal 2017.

Mobile accounted for 25% of online shopping, with 50% of traffic coming in from mobile on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Mobile-first shopping experiences are becoming more and more influential for retailers’ bottom lines and will continue to do so. New data from Ericsson suggest 90% of the global population over 6 years of age will own a mobile phone by 2020, likely shifting the shopping mindset. For Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping, mobile accounted for 25% of online shopping, with 50% of traffic coming in from mobile. A better checkout experience on mobile is expected to increase mobile purchasing and, according to Forrester, by 2017, firms will spend $189 billion on engineering platforming and processes for increased mobile engagement and conversion.

As of now, “too many mobile apps are simply a mirror image of features and navigation from websites that fail to take into account the needs of customers on the go,” the Forrester report indicated.

Solid Economy Leads to Small Business Optimism

About half of 830 small businesses surveyed expect to see the economic environment continue to improve in 2015, compared to 38% which believed so at the end of 2013. In addition, 80% said they expect to see sales increase in 2015, as compared to 77% the year before.

80% of small businesses expect to see sales increase in 2015.

This rosier attitude comes from overall increased sales in the second half of 2014, though small businesses are facing challenges from recent policies, especially in the U.S. Topping the list of small business concerns for 2015 include a raised minimum wage for workers, the need to provide healthcare coverage for those with 99 full-time employees or more and limited access to capital as entrepreneurs continue to wait for the Securities and Exchange Commission to finalize rules required by the Jumpstart Our Business Startup Act of 2012 that will allow them to raise small sums from everyday investors, an arrangement known as equity crowdfunding.

Delivery Disruption: Ecommerce’s New Innovation Darling

Delivery may be ecommerce’s newest sweetheart in 2015 as innovations and acquisitions create more reliable, speedier delivery of products to customers’ doorsteps.

Research is showing delivery improvements could potentially boost online sales by $18B.

“We are expecting 2015 to outperform even the technology-powered e-commerce revolution of 2014,” says David Jinks, spokesperson for Fastlane International says. “Retailers have paid lip-service to the idea that the customer is king, or queen, for many years; but today they really are. No longer do companies decide how much stock might be available in any store, or how many days it might take to deliver. We were in a push-economy, with manufacturers and retailers calling the shots, now we’re in a pull-economy: customers are in the driving seat, and are deciding exactly when and where they want their products. The good news is that research is showing delivery improvements could potentially boost online sales by $18B.”

Of the expected improvements, those that will hit the market sooner rather than later include Sunday deliveries, same day deliveries, better signature proof systems, electric and even hydrogen powered delivery vehicles and unmanned drone deliveries.

Indian Ecommerce Market Expected to Reach $6B in 2015

According to a new Gartner report, the Indian ecommerce market is expected to reach $6 billion in revenue in 2015, a 70% increase from 2014. A few months ago, Bigcommerce predicted B2C ecommerce sales will hit $2 trillion worldwide in 2015.

The dramatic bump is marked by an increase in worldwide Internet users, more convenient and secure online checkouts, lucrative ecommerce offers, 24/7 delivery services and a robust startup ecosystem.

The dramatic bump is marked by an increase in worldwide Internet users.

Contextual marketing is cited as the best way to gain consumer attention and standout from the etailer crowd, both in India and worldwide. Using data to personalize and customize marketing efforts (i.e. email campaigns, SEO, SEM, onsite search, customized landing pages) will likely be how 2015’s biggest retail winners reach the top.

Photo: Flickr, Vernon Chan

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