In part I of our MITX E-Commerce Summit wrap up, we discussed how redefining a customer experience can be huge for online retail, the importance omni-channel plays in e-commerce and how data-driven personalization requires attention, flexibility and speed. In today’s blog post, we highlight mobile and 2014 trends we learned from leaders in e-commerce. Read on to learn more.
Highlight #4: Mobile Enables A Clearer Path In The Customer Journey
In the panel, “The Rise of Mobile,” e-commerce executives, including Blueport’s Carl Prindle, discussed how adoption of mobile has impacted the customer journey. CVS Caremark, for example, notes customers often open their branded app while shopping in-store. For PayPal, being everywhere for everyone differs among the many different sized businesses who use PayPal, and how their consumers behave, whether it’s through mobile check-ins, logins, app usage or other methods.
At Blueport, we use mobile for three purposes:
- Real-time availability in stores and online through geo-location
- Mobile as a marketing platform to close the consideration funnel
- Camera functionality to be used in a unique way, such as augmented reality
Overall, the mobile path is different based on each business and its customers – those that choose a path best suited for their customers is a step in the right direction. There’s still a lot of unknowns in mobile, so businesses shouldn't be afraid to come up with a story, try it, test it quickly and if it doesn't work, move on and try something new.
Highlight #5: 2014 Trends In E-Commerce
E-Commerce is expected to grow from $260 billion to $370 billion by 2017. Just ride the wave, right? Not exactly. VP, Principal Analyst from Forrester Sucharita Mulpuru discussed some hard truths and myths to pay attention to in 2014:
- The biggest threat to e-commerce is not Amazon; it’s the Postal Service. Postal Service debt is expected to reach $15 billion in 2014, and will likely increase the cost of shipping parcels, squeezing retailers trying to offer free shipping.
- Peak e-commerce volume can’t be sustained through other shipping methods. During the 17 peak holidays in 2013, daily package volume was 46 million packages. The problem? Shipping hubs couldn’t keep up with the demand and there isn’t enough ROI to sustain additional hubs throughout the rest of the year.
- The SECOND biggest threat is Amazon. Amazon has a break even business model even with offering Prime for free two-day shipping.
- Every Day Low Pricing (EDLP) dies. People showroom – 35% use phones to research prices in stores and 37% plan to research more in the future. On average, prices through Amazon for products were 30% cheaper. Unsustainable, yes, but proves the value of EDLP for other retailers
- Everyone's investing in mobile. Digging into the numbers, just 27% invest more than $1 million in revenue to mobile today. In spite of this, web revenue by device is 21% (13% for tables, 8% for smartphones). Consumers are still spending more than retailers are investing, so a relatively conservative approach to mobile investment is not such a bad idea.
- Big data is your savior. Finding valuable insights isn’t easy when there’s 280+ exabytes of data in the cloud. Use existing solutions to drive value; there’s not many new unfounded solutions out there.
- Bitcoin is the bomb. Bitcoin’s value is not totally clear to customers yet. It’s disruptive, but not immune to competition. It is a form of anonymous payment, but customers have concerns about security.
While we could go on forever, we could only share our five favorite highlights from the summit from part I and part II. Videos from the whole event are expected to be posted on the MITX YouTube channel soon.
About Blueport Commerce
Leading furniture companies work with Blueport Commerce to capture the billion dollar furniture e-commerce opportunity. We marry our clients’ bricks-and-mortar infrastructure and expertise with our decade of online furniture experience, innovative technology, and customized marketing services. For some retailers, the Blueport e-commerce platform powers their branded omni-channel websites, driving sales online and in their stores. For other retailers, we drive online sales through Furniture.com, our e-commerce website. For many, we do both. Learn more here. And, if you’re interested in working for Blueport, check out our e-commerce jobs on our careers page.