eCommerce Projections 2015: Bricks & Mortars, Move Over!

Move over Bricks and Morter for ecommerce.Online sales have been enjoying a steady increase in the U.S. over the last few years.

In fact, eCommerce sales are expected to out-pace bricks and mortar sales over the next 4 years!

  • Worldwide total retail will continue to grow between 5-6% through 2018
  • Worldwide eCommerce will grow at a rate between 13-25%
  • U.S. total retail will grow at a rate around 5.5%
  • U.S. eCommerce will grow at a rate between 11-16.5%

Mobile Users are a Significant Factor. Is your site catering to them?

This has been driven by a number of factors, not the least of which is the sharp rise in the use of smart phone (think ‘immediate’) and tablets (think ‘leisure’).

Other factors include that online shopping offers certain conveniences—from low prices (lower overhead), broader selection, shipping door to door. 

We have been studying the rise of mobile users, and the most popular technology by which people are accessing our eCommerce client’s sites to shop. Apple devices top the list, with iPhones coming first, seconded by iPads.

In early 2013 typical percentages of mobile users were around 9-20%. Today, just two years later, mobile user percentages are more along the lines of 33-64% depending on the industry. Obviously that is a big jump.

Google is completely aware of this data, of course, and is gearing its Search more and more to a mobile-first experience. With its recent mass emails to site owners who didn’t have mobile-friendly sites, to its launch of the mobile-friendly label, it is becoming quite apparent that eCommerce sites that are mobile ready are going to get better Mobile Search rankings.

So if you haven’t already switched your eCommerce site to one that is mobile-friendly, you are CRAZY!

eCommerce by the Numbers

U.S. Online Retail Sales Percentages

Forrester Report: U.S. Online Retail Sales

eCommerce by the Category

“The lightning-fast pace of change in the digital landscape has ushered in a consumer mindset that is both adventurous and exploratory when it comes to online shopping,” said John Burbank, president of strategic initiatives. “Consumers everywhere want a good product at a good price, and the seemingly limitless options available in a virtual environment provide new opportunities for both merchants and consumers. The market for fast-moving consumer goods is no exception.”

While in 2014, the main categories of online shopping were non-consumable—durables and entertainment-related products, by this year, we are seeing the rise of consumables, such as Amazon Prime Pantry, and the

Online Buying or Browsing?

Close Correlation

For people who are on a mission for non-consumables such as clothes, books, toys, or making reservations for events, tours and hotels, you can expect a one-to-one correlation between online searching and shopping. Closely following are cosmetics, personal care products, and groceries, with a smaller correlations for pet products, baby supplies, flowers, and alcoholic drinks.

When you see a close correlation, this is a great opportunity for nurturing customer loyalty. Point reward systems, coupon codes, social engagement, and email marketing avenues become critically important to grow that online customer base, especially for bricks and mortar companies.

More Browsing, than Buying

Big ticket items tend to have much higher browse, than buy rates. Products included in this category are: electronic equipment, mobile phones, computer hardware/software, sporting goods, videos/DVDs/games and cars/motorcycles.

eCommerce by the Generation

Retail in 2015 will continue to be driven by the needs and preferences of two prominent generations: Baby Boomers & Millennials.

Catering to Boomers

This large group of people with purchasing power are now in their 60s and 70s, and retailers who cater to these consumers will win the monetary rewards, however they will need to adjust some website practices to make shopping easier for them. Consulting firm PwC noted, “the Baby Boomer generation will age with increased financial resources and with a greater emphasis on youth and vitality than previous generations. As a result, they not only will tax manufacturers to adapt products to their specific post-retirement needs, but also will require retailers to respond to their evolving needs as they approach the age of 70 in 2015.”

Recently, NPR reported that Barbara Beskind, 90, is a designer at IDEO, a Silicone  Valley tech company. She works with (younger) engineers on products that improve the quality of life for older people.  eTailers who sell products geared toward this generation would do well do hire a Boomer consultant who can do user testing on their site, and suggest improvements that will garner more conversions in this age group.

Catering to Millenials

On the flip side, Gen Y, a young, but equally large market segment, is the largest group of smartphone owners. Merchants who want to reach Millennials will need to invest in fast-loading mobile-friendly eCommerce websites. Fast, because this age group group up in the instant gratification, everything-is-just-a-button-click-away generation. Marketing to this segment must also include live chat: instantly-accessible customer service. Once again, we suggest that if your company is run by mostly boomers, that you hire Millennials to do user-testing, social media, and other tasks critical to meeting the needs of this face-paced age group.

Ready to say goodbye to lost sales? Take action quickly!

Holly Nelson

Holly Nelson, CEO of 2C Development Group brings more than 20 years of success in internet marketing to every project. Her ability to identify production, communication, customer service and logistical pain points and to solve them through increased efficiencies in website design/development, online catalog management sales solutions, online content development and marketing brings consistent, clearly demonstrable ROI to clients. Follow on Twitter and Google+