Only a few decades ago, if you needed something – regardless of how you felt – you had to get up and get it. Today, e-commerce offers you the convenience of buying products from the comfort of your own home. You may even have accounts online with preferred retailers, so that your product preferences and transaction information is easily pulled up. There is no denying it: e-commerce is a powerful thing. If you have accepted the fact that the days of waiting in long lines at brick-and-mortar stores are over, then you are most likely an avid e-commerce shopper. Accordingly, here are four trends that prove e-commerce just keeps on getting bigger.
Online grocery services are growing more popular
Business Insider pointed out that sales in the food and beverage sector total approximately $600 billion a year. It is the largest retail category in the United States – by far. Interestingly, food and beverage is also the least penetrated by e-commerce, with less than 1 percent of sales volume taking place online. However, the news source pointed out that tech giants like Amazon are making strides in that area and online grocery sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 21.1 percent, reaching $18 billion by 2018.
“Consumers are beginning to switch their ways in favor convenience.”
While there are some complexities to the online grocery business, such as maintaining the freshness of orders and delivering them on time, same-day delivery will have a profound impact in this area. Currently, only 15 percent of adults in the U.S. have purchased food items online, but 25 percent have bought specialty foods and beverages. Companies like Amazon, Fresh Direct and Whole Foods are making grocery delivery more appealing every day and consumers are beginning to switch their ways in favor convenience.
Facebook is introducing a “Buy” button
According to LearnBonds, Facebook’s Buy button will soon be unveiled. Facebook started testing the feature for some users last year, but now it will roll out the option to all its users. Being able to buy products directly on social media is a precedent in the history of e-commerce. Investor Robert Peck explained how Facebook’s new initiative could significantly boost revenue.
“We think this new buy button could not only expand the activity of current retail/ecommerce advertisers but also open a new segment of advertisers that are more ‘direct response’ e-commerce companies,” wrote Peck, according to the news source.
Some analysts believe that the Buy button could even be worth an increase of eight to 10 percent of total revenue for the social media company. For consumers, the new feature will simply mean easier purchasing and more targeted advertising in the future. The fact that Facebook users want to shop on the platform speaks to the power of e-commerce.
SEO is becoming essential for e-commerce
Another sign that demonstrates e-commerce getting stronger is the expansion of the content industry. Forbes pointed out that strategic keyword usage is increasingly important when improving searchability of products or services online. Keywords that are too competitive do not generate enough search traffic. Now, companies need to use three word phrases that are more specific to what is being sold. Along the same lines, in today’s e-commerce environment, having a blog is crucial for attracting traffic to an online catalog. Sites that do not have blogs have a difficult time attracting inbound links and ultimately, have less online generated revenue. That fact that selling products online now requires a narrative is more evidence that e-commerce is not just about selling things, it is about developing a relationship with consumers and offering them convenience.
Apple Pay is getting huge
Mobile payments are continuing to gain traction with consumers, and Apple Pay leads the charge in that space. The mobile payment solution is already accepted at over 700,000 retail locations and is enabled at popular hotel chains like Marriott and works at Coca Cola vending machines. Apple Pay offers consumers a safe and secure way to make payments. The app uses tokenization to protect payment information and requires a biometric fingerprint scan in order to authenticate transactions. It is important to point out that with EMV cards being introduced to the U.S. in October, most retailers will likely upgrade their point of sale devices to be compatible with NFC. That means that Apple Pay users will be able to use mobile devices to make purchases ubiquitously across the U.S. The growth of mobile payments demonstrates that the payments industry is increasingly relying on technology for all of its needs. Cash is no longer king and brick-and-mortar stores may no longer hold a monopoly on retail in the future. The time for e-commerce is now!