What was big in 2013, trends to watch in 2014, and the mood at NRF 2014

By all accounts, 2013 was a very interesting year in ecommerce. It’s a year where the reality of mobile, or mobility as it’s now being referred to, came to fruition whether retailers were ready for it or not. It’s also a year when, for many, just talking about omnichannel became no longer enough – and the term “multichannel” was effectively dropped from our vernacular. It was also a year when providers of technology and services started to finally work together to form the integrated solutions that retailers so desperately need to compete and keep up with customers’ expectations.

Working with a lot of different companies provides insight into the many things that keep retail business owners up at night. So what was on their minds?

  • Technology
    • PIM, or product information management, was among the most asked-about technologies
    • CMS, or content management system, was also hot on retailers’ minds – as they are producing more content to engage their audiences and gain better visibility within search engines, the organization, and storage of that content becomes a bigger issue
    • Responsive design vs. mobile-optimized – from 2012 through 2013, retailers experienced a major shift in the types of devices their site traffic is coming from, but without the typical conversion rates, and so the debate regarding responsive design vs. mobile-optimized continued with no clear winner
    • Mobility – the conversation about mobile has shifted to “mobility”, and engaging customers using location-based targeting and geo-fencing technologies
  • Business strategy priorities
    • B2B – more and more B2B businesses are looking to leverage online and mobile to serve their customers and generate qualified leads, and are considering ways to offer their products and services to a B2C audience
    • Omnichannel – in most instances, customers’ expectations of retailers’ omnichannel capabilities far exceed reality, and so the struggle continues to provide a more seamless and integrated experience across all channels and platforms
    • International – with US internet penetration maxing out, and the evolution of service providers and platforms to support it, retailers are looking abroad to drive sales growth and broaden their footprint
  • New Trends
    • Visual Navigation – the use of strong imagery, most notably by social network Pinterest, has introduced a new breed of browsing that shoppers have responded to very favorably
    • Atypical product and service providers going online to retain existing customers and reach new ones
    • The emergence of an end-to-end personalization solution that brings all of the disparate components (product recommendations, site personalization, off-site retargeting, and analytics) all together in one platform

2013 was a good year, and 2014 promises to be even better. Just having been at NRF’s Annual Convention and Expo, where our CEO, Bernardine Wu, spoke on the topics of omnichannel and mobile, you could sense the excitement from the attendees throughout the Expo hall. Many retailers stated that they finally have budgets to move their omnichannel plans forward. It’ll take a while for it to all come together, but that’s certainly good news for all of their customers out there.

Let our team of ecommerce experts help you prepare for the 2014 season!

3 HOT TIPS:

  • Rank and prioritize omnichannel initiatives by level of effort, potential return, and importance to your customers to make sure you tackle the most important things first.
  • If you haven’t already, analyze your site traffic by device to determine the level of urgency to move to the next phase of your website’s evolution with responsive design.
  • Understand what countries, other than the US, are driving traffic and sales to your site and begin to understand the options and opportunities to go global.