Every year brings new challenges. New business trends. New customer demands and requirements. New tools and technologies to embrace. These factors lead to new opportunities for ecommerce entrepreneurs.

A successful business needs to be flexible, quickly adapt to the evolving market and stay ahead of the competition. Retail experts shared their opinion on what you should expect from 2017 & how it may affect the business.

Let’s take a look at their predictions.

Shopping experience is the new battlefield

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.

So what’s the winning strategy? Search for the advanced ecommerce technologies: customize UI, make it appealing and intuitive, simplify user identification, offer automated orders or embed payments in the browser. Everything that allows clients to buy on the go is the right choice!

Brand is the key

Fredrik Grönkvist, the Co-founder of ChinaImportal draws merchants’ attention to one of Amazon’s latest deals. This major marketplace is now open to Chinese retailers. A large number of product categories have been stuffed with low-cost goods. It may turn into a threat to American and European sellers.

To maintain profit margins in the new environment business owners need to establish a strong brand. In 2017 you should invest more in customization, design, post-sale customer service and marketing activities.

Personalized bots will do the shopping

Depesh Mandelia, the SMO of ToucanBox expects the emerge of bots and different applications that will make shopping process more convenient. The use of digital helpers is not a new thing for ecommerce. Some major webstores like Amazon, Polo and Shop Spring have implemented bots a while ago. But digital assistants still lack an element of context and do not keep the information provided by visitors; so a user goes through a long questionnaire every time he/she comes to a store. In the end, it feels like a bad game of 20 questions.

In 2017 a new generation of digital helpers and more progressive web apps would fill in the gap. Bots will get to know each consumer on an individual level and gently gather all the necessary information from age, gender and size of shoes to habits, likes and other personal preferences. Bots will connect online retailers and their consumers in a more personal manner.

Voice shopping comes in place

Trish Carey, the Marketing Director of SellerEngine shares some statistics: voice search is already used by 41% of adults and 55% of teenagers. It significantly changes the way people are browsing the websites and searching online.

To keep the sales up merchants need to review product attributes, names, and descriptions and make them recognizable for the AI.

Explore the power of A/B testing

Paul Ruoke, the CEO of PRWD gives a word of warning to all ecommerce merchants who are using free Google Optimize tools: don’t be misguided by the idea that a set of powerful analytical instruments is all it takes to collect and analyze the necessary data. You definitely need skilled and knowledgeable people who can get the most out of it.

If you don’t have a deep understanding of how to perform user research and analyze customers’ behavior based on the collected data – get professional help. The cost is minimal; accurate information and data-driven conclusions are priceless in modern ecommerce.

Develop a data-driven marketing strategy

The Owner of Digital Juggler, James Gurd thinks that ecommerce specialists gained more skills, confidence, and maturity, so data-driven solutions will replace opinion-based decisions. Nonetheless, positive examples and proven authorities would still influence the market but in a lesser degree.

The basic principles which determine marketing automation based on product lifecycles, customer demands, and visitors’ behavior became apparent for ecommerce specialists.

Shoppers will see more targeted messages instead of junk emails. It’s already happening in the present but in 2017 the process will continue at a higher rate.

Wearables will play a strong factor in ecommerce

Matt Curry predicts that in addition to mobile devices which are currently the main source of traffic and sales, online retailers would need to adjust their business to the new gadgets on the block: the wearables. Such a shift could cause dramatic changes in online shopping for both consumers and store owners. See this challenge as a chance to take your business to a new level and embrace technologies to stay ahead of the curve.

These are the expert’s predictions for 2017. What are your thoughts on the future of online retail industry this year? Please, share your opinion in comments below.

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