Retail Commerce and Digital in 2015: 15 Predictions from the Experts

By Unknown, blog post 11/12/2014

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With technologies like the Apple Watch and Apple Pay coming into prevalence in early 2015, now is an exciting time for retailers and, of course, marketers.

Never before has mobile technology had so much potential to shake up the way we shop, blurring the lines between ecommerce and good old-fashioned high street trawling, for an enticing and highly-personalised shopping experience.

In this post, we will take a look at the top 15 ecommerce predictions for 2015, gathered from marketing and retail industry experts.

Mobile

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 Above: Mobile internet usage will outstrip desktop in 2015. Photo by splitshire

Mobile GPS data will improve

Mobile location data is continuously becoming more sophisticated and reliable, giving marketers the opportunity to experiment with location-based advertising.

This, combined with technologies like Apple Pay and Google Glass, can increase a campaign’s relevancy in real-time.

It is estimated that location-targeted ads could account for 25% of all mobile advertising buys in 2015.

Predicted by: Ash Kumar (@ashwani) Co-Founder and CEO of TapSense

Self-checkouts will become the norm

An ever-increasing number of consumers are becoming comfortable with contact-less payment methods. In 2015, it is predicted that this will escalate into self-checkout style systems for making purchases in stores.

Gone will be the days of queuing, in favour of a self-mobile checkout where customers can use a system like Apple Pay to scan and finalise transactions, without having to approach the cash register.

Predicted by: Puneet Mehta (@puneetmehtanyc), CEO and Co-Founder of MobileROI and MyCityWay

Mobile data analysis will free marketers from channel-based thinking

Previously, clickstream data has provided marketers with an insight into their customers’ purchasing process.

However, with the rise of mobile data analytics, marketers will begin to get a more ‘human-behaviour-centred’ glimpse into how their customers really make their buying journey.

For instance, a customer may see a call-to-action on social media and then use their smartphone to make that purchase. These actions can then be attributed to the mobile channel, encouraging a more unified approach to both online and offline marketing.

Predicted by: Tom Webster (@webby2001), Vice President, Edison Research

Number of mobile businesses will grow with improved mobile technology

Mobile POS systems and cloud technology has allowed people to do business from pretty much any location.

So in the next few years, it is predicted that the number of mobile-run businesses will increase. Businesses like catering vans, clothing carts, and even mobile hair salons may start to become commonplace.

From a marketer’s perspective, social media and other forms of fast-paced, user-generated content will be used to target potential customers when they’re on-the-go.

Predicted by: Vend Point-of-Sale (@vendhq)

Social Media

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Above: Social media looks set to become a stronger marketing channel. Photo by jodie-mcshane

Social media will be valued more as a marketing channel

With digital marketing companies investing more time and effort in their social media output, it has never been more important for ecommerce businesses to ensure their social networking is on-point.

Online reviewers, vloggers and social media users will be looking at a brand’s social networks to find the information they need to make a purchase, and they will also expect any complaints and queries to be addressed in a timely fashion.

For businesses, social media content isn’t exclusively about the ‘hard sell,’ but more about engaging with your audience as people and letting them have a hand in your content creation.

Predicted by: Ashleigh Tennent (@asleightennent), Marketing and Customer Experience Director at Wool and the Gang

Social coupons will draw in new customers

People are more likely to advocate a brand if they see that other people also endorse it. For businesses, this is a great opportunity to draw customers in using targeted social media campaigns in 2015 and beyond.

The idea of social coupons, for example, allows customers to access savings based on how many people saw or interacted with a social media ad.

This method allows companies to generate product recommendations easily, which will, in turn, generate more sales.

Predicted by: Tom Goodwin (@tomfgoodwin), Founder of Tomorrow Group

Visual storytelling will nurture and grow audiences

The ability to develop an emotional connection with consumers will help brands grow in the future.

Visual storytelling techniques will play a huge part in this, inspiring conversations and amplifying the company message among communities.

Predicted by: Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina), CMO at Branderati

User Experience

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Above: Wearable technology, simple web design and iBeacon are predicted to improve user experience. Photo by Splitshire

iBeacon technology will gain popularity with targeted promotions

iBeacon technology from Apple is an exciting new medium, which retailers like Tesco, Mothercare and House of Fraser will take full advantage of next year.

Via a Bluetooth connection, a customer on a smartphone can point their mobile at a shop display to access promotional information and/or discounts.

From a business perspective, iBeacon technology offers valuable data on customer shopping habits, enabling retailers to optimise their store layout and discover new ways to target their future ad campaigns.

Predicted by: Craig Smith (@craigwsmith), Founder of Retail-innovation.com

Simple web design will put the emphasis on the product

Nearly-flat website design will become popular on ecommerce sites, as it directs  focus onto the products and decreases bounce rates.

Clean and simple web design also works better for mobile, as it’s easier to develop and make responsive.

This trend suggests that quality on-page copy, particularly in regards to calls-to-action, will become a priority.

Predicted by: Cherene Etemadi (@ChereneEtemadi), Marketing Manager at EYEMAGINE

Brands will add value post-purchase

A brand’s ability to educate their target audience is predicted to become a top selling point in the years to come.

For example, a brand that sells bread-making machines could put together an ebook of bread recipes to send to customers after they have made a purchase.

Becoming an industry thought leader will put brands at the forefront of customers’ minds, and attract return custom.

Predicted by: Venchito Tampon (@venchito14) Link Building Specialist for digitalphilippines.net

Customer data will become vital

With the rise of the personalised mobile shopping experience predicted for 2015, customer data will become increasingly important for brands looking to attract a loyal customer base.

Businesses with a data-centric culture will thrive, whereas companies that ignore their customers’ information may find that they lose out to the competition.

Predicted by: Certona.com (@Certona)

Google Glass and wearable technology is set to gain popularity

Worldwide spending on wearable technology, such as Google Glass, is set to hit $1.4 billion by the end of 2014, rising to $19 billion by the end of 2018.

This means that customers can access all the information they need about a product instantly.

Devices like portable consumer spectrometers, for example are currently in development and will be able to analyse the exact contents of anything a Google Glass wearer looks at.

For brands, this will mean that they have a duty to provide all of the information a customer could ever need up-front, so that when Google Glass looks up the company, only positive reviews and useful information appears at the top of the search results.

Predicted by: Juniper Research (@juniperresearch), Smart Wearable Devices Report

Advertising

Paid-for content becoming commonplace

At the moment, we are used to seeing sponsored ads on social networks like Facebook.

But for 2015 and beyond, it is predicted that we will see paid-for advertising cropping up all over the internet, not just on social media sites.

Predicted by: Katherine Wood, (@Talent_Tribune) Managing Editor at Talent Tribune

Corporations will show their human side

There’s a developing trend among big brands for showing their unpolished, human side in home-video-like advertising campaigns.

Shooting on social video apps, such as Vine and Instagram, allows corporations to target their audience with content that feels more honest, transparent and, in many ways, more entertaining than sleek sales ads.

Predicted by: Owen Andrew, writer for @btrax

Marketers will maximise the power of video DIYs

The power of video marketing, via YouTube, will become increasingly important beyond 2015.

Increasing the visibility of your ecommerce business on this platform with content like ‘How To’ videos, first and second-tiered marketing campaigns will help business owners target their products to the differing segments of their audience.

Predicted by: Agu de Marco (@AguDeMarco), Co-Founder and CEO of Wideo

Don’t get left behind in 2015 – find out how you can adapt to the changing retail climate with our new guide, ‘Ecommerce in 2015: 15 Tactics Every Retailer Should Be Using’.