The E-Commerce Column

Re-Investment Phase of E-Commerce

Hotcakes Commerce Dashboard: Featuring Mobile Statistics

E-Commerce is still a very new thing when you think about it.  It may feel like it's been around forever, but if e-commerce were a child, we'd be just now teaching it how to be a gentleman or a lady, while at the same time preparing it to go to college.  E-Commerce isn't in it's infancy, but rather in it's adolescence.  We replaced training wheels for a bus pass only a couple of years ago.

Phases of E-Commerce

With such a short life, it's not easy to identify any repeating phases.  In contrast, we have to be blind to not have seen growth and transition when it comes to recent trends like social and mobile on e-commerce-focused websites.   We wrote about it last year, but e-commerce was the first industry to see mobile devices surpass desktop devices visiting a website.  In mid-2014, overall traffic tipped over 50% and then purchases followed in November by over 70%!  

Before mobile, search and product discovery was a big trend.  At this point, that's kind of old news.  Another recent trend has been social though.  Like mobile, it's been going on for a while though.  With services like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest changing the way people find and purchase products, it's no wonder that mobile devices are taking over the stats.  Ironically, buying using a mobile device has simply become more convenient for many customers.

Re-Investment Phase

One phase that's not nearly as exciting though has been the re-investment phase.  Every year, successful businesses find themselves placing bets on upcoming trends, marketing, personnel, and more.  This occasionally leads to adopting new technologies and even a new platform altogether.  

When you look at the average life of a website, it is updated about every 3-5 years.  Sometimes, the updates are purely aesthetic.  Other times, the whole system is replaced entirely.  Combine that logic with the phases that we mentioned earlier, and it's pretty clear to see that the record-setting ups and downs of 2015 will lead to a renewed interest for companies to invest in new e-commerce platforms.  According to Forrester, e-commerce software spending alone will double by 2019.  That's not even including the additional services that are required to implement the various e-commerce solutions, which is also going to double.

Re-Invest the Right Way

Right now, we are all in the early weeks of the second re-investment phase of e-commerce, it's incredibly important that you spend as much time as possible finding the right solution for you.  Vet it completely before purchasing it.  Do the same with your chosen partner that will implement the site for you.  Your e-commerce site is too important to cut corners on.

At the very least, you need to make sure that your new e-commerce platform considers the following, else your competitors surely will:

  • Single page checkout - Customers are way too busy to deal with wizard-based checkouts. 
  • Mobile-friendly all of the way - If a customer can't view and purchase products on your site with the device of their choosing, they'll go to your competitor.
  • Socially-connected - Empower your customers spread the word to their networks about your amazing products.
  • Product discovery - If you have more than a couple products, your customers better be able to find them easily.  Amazon-style category filters and search facets are easy wins here.
  • Integration - There is no such thing as an e-commerce website that doesn't need to talk to other systems. You solution should be easily customized by the IT department.
  • Ease of Use - We can't harp on this one enough! It doesn't matter if your new system can check all of the check boxes on your list of requirements if your team can't use it.  

About the Author

Will StrohlWill Strohl

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