1ecommerceThe online era has turned trading upside down. Resourceful retailers are always looking for new ways to inspire their online customers nowadays, but the preference of their clients change from year to year.

We reveal in the following what trends will determine the eCommerce industry in 2016:

Customer centricity decides: It does not matter what you sell or what your clientele looks like. In 2016 only those will be successful, who put their clients at the center and respect their needs throughout the entire buying experience. This applies to selling features, such as the payment method, as well as to the customer support. With customer centricity, you not only promote loyalty in 2016, but also differentiate yourself from competitors.

mCommerce growth is unrestrained: The mobile sector determines the competition in 2016. Hence, dealers will severely feel if their website does not guarantee a good mobile purchasing experience. It is no longer enough to have a responsive website to play among the field leaders. Important is an uncomplicated, quick customer journey, which corresponds to the customer's wishes and even works cross-device.

Online sales experience: Regarding the shopping experience, traditional bricks and mortar businesses are still ahead of the eCommerce, but maybe that's not the case for long. In 2016, online retailers need to transform the online shopping to an experience: Storytelling, interactivity and advisory features are what you need to set yourself apart from the competition. Novel technologies such as wearables and virtual reality devices create new possibilities which must be exploited.

Amazon and Alibaba optimization: There is no 2016 without Alibaba and Amazon when thinking about eCommerce. Instead of fighting the superiority of the business giants, traders must finally deal with how they can benefit from them: How can I display my products there optimally? How are my products found more easily? Etc. Dealers have to answer such questions, if they want a piece of the cake.

Direct sales increases: The more direct the way to the customer, the better - that’s why more and more  manufacturers have turned to selling their products directly and traders are forced to develop alternative sources of income (such as social commerce). Dealers have to face up to the direct sales and defend their position through offers, brand awareness and selection.

Social Commerce creates new revenue streams - and threats: In 2015, we have seen Facebook implementing the purchase button and this year diverse social networks will follow. If you are missing this trend, you will lose out on a new revenue stream. But be careful not to be taken in by others, as overall the (potential) benefits are still enormous, such as better local promotion of your products and reach of large parts of your target audience, all of which can succeed easily thanks to social media.

Use omnichannel potential: Not only the consistent cross-channel customer experience, but the benefits of use of each individual channel have a huge impact in 2016 on how well disposed your customers are to you. In order to maintain a positive customer experience, you need data for success. Otherwise, failure will depend on how skillfully you use that data to further improve the customer experience across all channels.

By Daniela La Marca