MOBILITY

What will happen in e-commerce during 2016?

BY Dan Berthiaume

Although it still only represents a small percentage of total retail sales, e-commerce is one of the biggest subjects in retail for 2016.

Shipping software provider TrueShip offers the following list of 10 predictions for the direction of e-commerce in the new year.

1. Amazon will become the new Walmart. Amazon surpassed Walmart in terms of market capitalization in 2015. In 2016, TrueShip predicts Amazon’s collection of small businesses using it as a sales platform will dislodge the huge entity Walmart as the overall top retailer in terms of influence, stature and reputation.

2. E-commerce will represent 10% of all retail. Based on 17% year-over-year growth between 2014 and 2015, TrueShip expects e-commerce to increase from about 7% of all retail to 10% by year end.

3. Facebook will overtake YouTube for branding. Although more brands still use YouTube for video promotion than Facebook, Facebook videos get more total views. In 2016, this will lead to Facebook becoming the top video branding platform.

4. Emotionally driven shopping will become the new standard. Online retailers will make shopping emotional with tools such as shared shopping lists, consumer referral engines and online social shopping communities.

5. In-store pickup will save big-box chains. In-store pickup is faster than home shipment and avoids shipping fees. This will help keep big-box chains relevant in the face of online competitors such as Amazon.

6. Competitors will create Amazon Prime-like portals. Online retailers such as Newegg and third-party platforms such as ShopRunner have already launched subscription-based shopping portals that mimic the Amazon Prime model. Although nobody will be able to match all the features of Amazon Prime, more players will enter the space.

7. Drones will begin delivering packages. Amazon will launch the drone era by offering Amazon Prime Air, which provides drone-based deliveries in as little as a few hours, in at least one market.

8. Marketplace-based selling will shift the industry. Marketplaces such as Etsy, which offer a single access point to thousands of sellers and millions of products, will continue growing in popularity and prompt imitation.

9. Mobile shopping will overtake desktop. TrueShip expects 60% of holiday shopping to come from smartphones and tablets in 2016.

10. Hassle-free returns will be expected by consumers. Offering easy online returns will become a requirement to stay competitive rather than a competitive differentiator.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

The top 10 mobile trends for 2016 are …

BY Dan Berthiaume

Everyone knows mobile will have a huge influence on commerce and customer engagement this year.

But what specific mobile trends will have the most impact in 2016. Enterprise mobile and Big Data solutions and services vendor Digital Management Inc. (DMI) has released a list of the top 10 mobile trends for the coming year. They are:

1. Putting customer experience first. Customers expect one consistent cross-channel experience. Thus retailers will have to embed mobile customer experience in every part of the organization including sales, customer service, development, product management, marketing, administration and finance.

2. Reiventing the business. Enterprise mobility needs will move past developing mobile-optimized device management, sites and apps to holistically optimizing the entire business for mobile.

3. Security and privacy hit the boardroom. There will be growing boardroom-level demand for improved physical security, mobile device management, app management, enhanced authentication, security testing and protection as well as ongoing monitoring combining analytics with other monitoring tools.

4. Real solutions by the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) will move beyond opportunistic solutions looking for a problem to solve to sensors collecting data to assist logistics, production, product development, efficiency and user experience.

5. Omnichannel and mobile payments break through. With the mobile share of e-commerce traffic and payments rapidly increasing, retailers need to redesign their omnichannel experience, including payments. The whole e-commerce experience must be redesigned “bottom up” for mobile.

6. Accelerating innovation through partnerships. To keep pace with the rapid development of mobile, companies need to use internal APIs and third-party partnerships to create new mobile services without major investments of time and money.

7. Programming languages and development tools. For 2016, DMI believes that a mix of Java, Microsoft C#/.Net and Java script will continue to dominate development generally, with Swift taking over iOS entirely. Web apps and app wrapping using PhoneGap/Cordova will make up the bulk of enterprise application development with Xamarin as the fastest growing cross-platform tool leaving the others behind. Native app development will continue to be the first choice for consumer apps.

8. Mobile ad formats changing. To be successful, mobile advertisers will have to adapt to ad-blocking and also recognize the need for mobile video advertising.

9. Putting data into action. Algorithms and “smart devices” will play a much larger role in real-time customer service, using machine learning to better predict and react to consumer needs.

10. Ensuring you don’t ‘overcloud.’ Cloud-based mobile service development offers many advantages. However, moving too many mobile services to the cloud can degrade performance and reliability. Storage of data into many places can also raise security and privacy issues.

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J.James says:
Apr-07-2016 03:10 pm

Enterprise Mobility
Excellent piece of writing. I appreciate your efforts in getting together all the points together in one article. Your thorough knowledge is praiseworthy. We recently updated our website with some new pages related to enterprise mobility. Kindly check our website http://www.rigelnetworks.com/offerings/business-services/mobility/ and let us know if we can add something that has been missing from the content. Any help from your side is appreciable. Thanks in advance.

J.James says:
Apr-07-2016 03:10 pm

Excellent piece of writing. I appreciate your efforts in getting together all the points together in one article. Your thorough knowledge is praiseworthy. We recently updated our website with some new pages related to enterprise mobility. Kindly check our website http://www.rigelnetworks.com/offerings/business-services/mobility/ and let us know if we can add something that has been missing from the content. Any help from your side is appreciable. Thanks in advance.

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OPERATIONS

Staples takes big interest in small biz

BY Dan Berthiaume

Staples is continuing to build on its assortment of small business services with an expanded technology assistance offering.

Staples Tech Services now offers a next day guarantee. The suite of offerings includes PC services. Select Staples stores also offer small businesses mobile phone and tablet repairs. The new guarantee from Staples Tech Services includes PC set-up, data transfer, software upgrades, virus removal and more.

PC’s brought into Staples stores by small business customers by noon will be serviced by 5 p.m the next day or the repairs are free. This excludes hardware repairs, unbootable PCs, off-premise services and is subject to store hours.

“Staples customers rely on technology to keep their business running, and we are committed to providing quick and efficient tech services for the total lifecycle of their technology,” said Peter Scala, executive VP, merchandising at Staples. “Whether our customers need tech support in store, online, at home or in the office, our new Staples Tech Services make solutions happen and help keep business running smoothly.”

Earlier in January, Staples released a new performance tracking mobile app known as Quick Wins for small businesses. In December, Staples launched the #MoreSmallBiz Squad, a group of experts who directly interact with small business customers through use of the #MoreSmallBiz hashtag. The experts offer blog posts and other content, and also directly interact with small businesses who post questions on Twitter using the hashtag.

Collectively, small businesses offer a substantial customer base of user who in many cases cannot afford the type of technology service contracts typically leveraged by their larger competitors. As online retail platforms and mass merchandisers continue cutting into Staples’ core office supply vertical, the retailer is wise to find new ways to serve new customers.

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