12 Nov

E-commerce trends to watch for in 2015

This year is approaching the finish line, which means we have to prepare ourselves for another season of exciting updates to online approaches of doing business, particularly in e-commerce. This year has been great for online shops and it seems that the coming year is set to follow suit.

If you really want to hit it big next year, you need to follow the updates and trends in e-commerce. Here are some e-commerce trends that you should pay attention to in 2015:

Mobile shops

Unlike the old WAP services that have come and gone in mobile phones of yore, services on smartphones and tablets appear to be staying for the long haul. This year saw a rise in mobile shopping, and it seems to show no signs of slowing down. If you are looking for a new avenue to branch out into, going mobile is your best bet. Optimize your online store to fit mobile browsers, or create an app for your store.

Payment using wearables

Wearable devices are all the rage this year with the announcement of Apple’s iWatch, upgrades to Google Glass, and the launch of several other wearable gadgets from top tech companies. Analysts are looking at wearables as the link between e-commerce and the real world because of their portability and ease of use. Just imagine wearing a smartwatch that alerts you about current promotions in a store that you just passed by. Wearable technology is a relatively untapped market for online store owners.

Custom-fit products and services

If you have mastered the art of catching the attention of your niche market, a new trend is coming: targeted marketing based on user personal information. Many people are giving away their personal likes and interests through social media, which could be a great source of ideas for your next line of products. Customize your business so that you can capture another specific market group.

Same-day shipping

This might be difficult for small store owners, but this trend is looking to grow over the course of a few months. Same-day shipping started becoming big because of Amazon and Google, and more companies are starting to follow them. You might want to study the possibility of offering this service for your e-commerce shop.

To stay competitive, you’ve got to adapt and that means keeping track of the newest trends and knowing when to adopt them into your store. Jump on too early and a better, easier method may come along to usurp that service. Wait too long and you risk being left behind. But, by knowing what trends are on the horizon, you are in a position to make an informed decision about what to adopt for your e-commerce store.

[Photo courtesy of Sam Churchill on Flickr]
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29 Oct

How to create a responsive version of your website

Does your e-commerce store look good on a smartphone? If you’ve been relying on old techniques, then your website may look great on a desktop but fail miserably on a mobile screen.

This generation’s answer to better website appearance on mobile is to follow a responsive design. You might say that going mobile might be a waste of time, but check this out: More than 260 million U.S. shoppers own mobile devices, and more than 25 percent of them are using their gadgets to shop online. Imagine just a fraction of that figure discovering your awesome-looking Magento store on their tablets and phones, and deciding to buy something via their devices. That sounds like big bucks to me!

The key to grabbing the attention of mobile consumers is to set up a responsive website that looks amazing on their gadgets. Here are some tips on how to create a responsive design for your online shop:

Study your mobile market reach

Before spending time and money to build a responsive design, check first if your efforts are worthwhile. Analyze your website’s potential to go big on mobile by checking your existing mobile user market. Experts say that if your website gets at least 20 percent of its traffic through mobile, it’s a good investment to go responsive.

Ensure that the responsive design does not affect your current site layout

Plan out your responsive design so that it does not destroy your current desktop interface. Before launching your site’s mobile version, test and re-test the responsive interface to check for any kinks. It may also be a good idea to know what kind of mobile devices access your site the most, so you can tailor your design to those devices.

Customize content for mobile

Mobile users usually want different things from the average desktop shopper. Check the search terms of your mobile audience and then customize your content for them.

Optimize existing images and codes for mobile use

Shoppers on mobile want things fast, and so a slow-loading website just won’t do. Make sure that your responsive design includes priority content loading with lazy load feature, exact image dimensions for mobile devices, use of open Web fonts, less server round trips, and use of CDN.

By having a responsive web design, you can capture the best of both worlds: desktop and mobile. Let your customers view your site however they are most comfortable.

[Photo courtesy of Hina on Flickr]
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