The (Digital) Future’s So Bright: Ecommerce Trends to Expect in 2019
By Josh Walter, CEO
It’s an exciting time to be in ecommerce.
This past holiday season alone, U.S. shoppers were estimated to spend $119.99 billion with online retailers, a 15.5% increase over the same period in 2017. What’s more, ecommerce is expected to become the largest retail channel in the world by 2021.
If you’re a manufacturer in the home furnishings industry planning to get more out of your ecommerce business in the days ahead, your future looks increasingly bright as the channel continues to increase its share in the retail space.
Here’s more on what’s to come.
The Shipping News
In the early days of online shopping, people were limited to products that could be easily packaged and delivered to a mailbox or doorstep. Think books, CDs and clothing. But significant advancements in the world of logistics have made it cost-effective to ship larger items, like furniture and homewares, easily and quickly. 2-day delivery has been around for some time – but now even for larger and more complex products, 2-day delivery is becoming the new norm.
With Millennials hitting their 30s, they’re looking to start families and invest in their homes, which means a greater demand for furniture and homewares. Perks like free shipping, tracking updates and assistance with installation, make door-to-door delivery an especially attractive option for young shoppers. Data backs this up: according to Statista’s Digital Market Outlook online furniture and homewares sales are expected to reach $190 billion in 2019.
Driving Your Brand’s Buy-In
Brands today don’t own the buying process. Buyers do.
Shoppers now have the ability to research their purchases online, and then to either buy what they want directly through the internet or, if they prefer, to make their purchase in-store.
It’s all about what the buyer wants. Many like to try in person, and then purchase online to reap the ease-of-purchasing, shipping benefits and broader selection of products that ecommerce can allow. Alternatively, many like to research online, and then purchase in-store where they can touch and feel what they are buying. So, it’s vital for companies to offer cohesive in-person and online experiences that meet consumer expectations and strengthen the brand.
Some studies show that omnichannel campaigns—brick-and-mortar, online, social media and so-on—have 166% higher engagement than single-channel efforts. What’s more, case studies have shown that companies that invest in the right marketing component can see yields in all components and, conversely, those that neglect a key component see losses elsewhere.
If you haven’t examined the harmony—or lack thereof—between your physical and digital spaces, it’s time to take a long, hard look.
It’s not a new concept by any means, but preemptive distribution is going to be increasingly important for brands looking to stand out from their competition. Preemptive distribution is exactly what it sounds like: You’re delivering your product to your target market when and where they want it. It sounds simple, but there’s a lot to it.
This is where big data analytics come in. By tracking consumer behavior in relation to your brand and outside of it, you’re able to employ precision marketing and enhanced personalization. This means you communicate with your buyers on their level. And, once again, with ongoing improvements in shipping and logistics, there’s an element of instant—or at least near-instant—gratification.
From Omnichannel to Omnipresent
Smart marketing goes beyond omnichannel. Successful brands know it’s not just about selling a product or service, but about forming a relationship with their consumers. These companies look to interact with consumers through branded content and physical touchpoints. Web content that feels like a lifestyle magazine, personalized email digests, shoppable social posts, in-store events with custom hashtags are just a few examples of ways brands can stay top-of-mind for their target market.
Contact us today to learn more about how ecommerce in the home furnishings space is evolving, in addition to what a cohesive channel strategy can do for you.