Last November, Cyber Monday made U.S. e-commerce history when online sales reached $3.45 billion. Last week, Cyber Monday sales more than doubled that, as eager holiday shoppers ditched the crowds and long lines of brick-and-mortar stores and turned to their computers and mobile devices to purchase over $6.59 billion worth of stuff.
What does this explosive e-commerce growth mean for business owners? How can you win a piece of the market share? As experts in the e-commerce space, here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come in this growing frontier and how you can stay ahead of the curve.
Amazon will continue to lead the charge
Cyber Monday 2017 was Amazon’s largest sales day ever. The customers of those selling on Amazon ordered almost 140 million products in the five-day period after Thanksgiving, according to CNN. Given Amazon’s rapidly growing market share of retail, this comes at no surprise.
In 2016, Amazon brought in 43 percent of all online retail sales in the U.S. and their market share is expected to grow to a full 50 percent by 2021. Consumers turn to Amazon during every phase of the purchase process, including discovery. 56 percent of online shoppers use Amazon to start their product research, bringing visibility and additional market demand for products.
This retail giant’s e-commerce dominance is only increasing. Rather than running away from the trend, many brands are pursuing an Amazon selling strategy to increase sales and margins, control pricing, and mitigate long-term risk.
Meet sky high customer expectations
The phenomenal force driving e-commerce growth? Smart, constantly-connected, tech-savvy consumers. The digital economy has forever shifted the way consumers interact with and buy from brands, placing shoppers in the driving seat. Today’s online shoppers have more options than ever, and brands will need to constantly innovate their e-commerce sales and marketing strategies to compete.
To keep up with these increasing expectations, brands must offer a seamless, unified, and enjoyable shopping experience from start to finish. From fast and free delivery to hassle-free returns, superb customer service to accurate and up-to-date product listings, there are many factors to consider. And given the hyper competitive nature of today’s e-commerce landscape, there is no room for missteps.
Prioritize your mobile shopping experience
Mobile commerce is on track to reach $218 billion by 2019. This year’s Cyber Monday shopping preferences reflected that trend as mobile purchases surpassed laptop for the first time ever. Prioritizing a seamless mobile shopping experience is no longer a ‘nice to have’ for online sellers — it’s a must-have to compete. It’s no wonder that 67 percent of top retail CFOs plan to dedicate more resources to their e-commerce mobile channels this year.
Consider selling direct-to-consumer
Customers have come to expect transparency and an easy way to purchase products directly from brands. In fact, a survey by PwC says that “52 percent of online shoppers in the U.S. are already going directly to brands and manufacturers websites with the intent to buy.” To keep up with shifting consumer preferences, many of today’s brands (like Warby Parker, Everlane, and Casper) are gaining popularity for their transparent, direct approach.
The landscape of e-commerce is changing swiftly. Even B2B e-commerce sales are projected to hit $889 billion, representing 11 percent of total B2B sales in the U.S. at the end of this year. To win in the competitive market, you need to have a well-oiled machine that creates a single, seamless experience for buyers. Today’s shoppers are too savvy and there are too many options to miss out on the incredible opportunity of a strong e-commerce strategy.
Jason Rubottom is the CEO of Ally Commerce, an end to end e-commerce as a service company helping brand manufacturers grow direct to consumer sales faster and more profitably through powerful technology and managed services.