It’s been estimated that there are well over 100,000 US-based retailers with online stores, each one producing over $12,000 of revenue each year through online commerce. In this competitive market, corners of the commercial internet are looking to set themselves apart in a multitude of ways in pursuit of keeping the customer satisfied. These range from the obvious: like mobile-friendly, to the futuristic, like use of virtual reality. Let’s take a look.
Designing for Every Device You Can Access a Website On
From e-readers to smartphones to tablets, the consequences of responsive design are significant. Responsive design, also known as omnichannel design, is where web pages can detect the size of users’ screens and adjust the content on them automatically. Without it, some websites end up being very difficult to navigate. With 45% of total e-commerce purchases likely to be made on mobile by 2020, it’s crucial to make sure your website is ready.
Keeping Customers Hooked
Even after a customer has made a purchase, many online stores now think about how to keep these people engaged enough to consider making another purchase in the future, creating a more regular relationship. Effective digital marketing means it’s no longer a large time commitment for even the smallest of businesses to set up a regular newsletter or keep social media platforms active. In this way, previous customers stay informed about new products or promotions. As one marketing professional put it in an interview: “For small brands it’s often all about the story – if they can differentiate themselves from the big faceless brands out there and connect with consumers on an emotional, more personal, level.” Regular communication provides a clear avenue to do this.
Bringing the Product to Life
Businesses’ product visualization brings the sense of the product in a more vivid way to potential clients. It’s likely you’ve come across this on larger retail websites already: many contain the option to say, view a video of how a dress moves on a live model as they’re walking. For businesses selling complex products, like vehicles or architecture, a 3D visualization can be the start of a conversation with a customer which can guide the final product towards exactly what the client wants.
Augmented and virtual reality is the natural next step of product visualization and there’s significant innovation going on in this area already. Users of the interior design app Hutch take a picture of the room they’re trying to style, swipe through ‘design filters’ and then finalize their products within the preselected theme. Meanwhile, through Avametric, shoppers can try on clothes virtually, using the company’s ‘clothing-fit’ technology.
Future-Proofing Your Online Business
All of this can seem overwhelming for a small business owner on a limited budget, but there are ways you can incorporate these three trends into your business. It’s easy to check whether your web pages look ok on a mobile, and keeping in touch with existing customers is a great way to find out what they like and dislike about your products. Even for product visualization, every shopper appreciates plenty of photos of the product, and free returns if it ends up not living up to the promise. In such a competitive online landscape, it’s important to do whatever you can to ensure your online business stands out!