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Resolve to Take Advantage of These 5 Ecommerce Trends

By Siva Kumar
It’s no surprise that e-commerce is increasingly becoming the mainstream way to buy things for more and more of us.  Comscore reported the rate of growth of e-commerce in November 2010 was significantly higher than the same period in 2009 (13% versus 2%), impressive even given the depressed economy in 2009.  The slow recovery in the rest of the economy, however, has taught US consumers to regularly look for deals and lower prices.  And shopping online has come to exemplify the most efficient way of doing this. Add in deeper and more compelling information, a larger breadth of product selection, and searchability in addition to inventory availability, and it’s easy to imagine online shopping continuing to grow.

As 2011 kicks off, let’s take a moment to look at 5 major trends that will continue to influence online retail and some savvy ways to take advantage of them:

1. Tweet away – Consumers are spending more and more time on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. So far activities by retailers on these social networks has been focused around the basics – establishing a base of followers and fans. If you haven’t set these up, add a must-do to your New Year’s list – both cost no money and help place yourself in the social conversation…

Comparing prices using barcode scanning

Comparing prices using barcode scanning

2. Smart Phones – In 2011 over half the new phones consumers will purchase will be smartphones – mostly iPhones and Android devices. And over 40 million smartphones are already in use now. This past Christmas, the business press was actively writing about how consumers  were using mobile apps like Red Laser and our own app to scan barcodes in stores to check online prices, thus validating their purchases (and driving better bargains as a result). Mobile research and shopping should transcend from early adopters to mainstream shoppers in 2011. Consumers will expect their smartphones to help them become smarter, more savvy shoppers, giving them access to coupons, store locations and hours, products details, reviews and sale information…

3. Tablet Usage – Search will still be the main driver of sales and traffic in 2011 and SEO and SEM will still be mainstays. Do watch the fast growing consumer use of vertical shopping search experiences such as Google Product Search and TheFind. With the growth of app usage on smartphones and newer tablet devices, more and more consumers will head directly to a vertical app instead of searching from a browser…

4. Online Marketplaces – Alternative selling venues for mainstream retailers such as marketplaces will continue to grow next year. Expect that Amazon’s Marketplace offering will continue to scale with more vendors selling even more products. To stand out, look for emerging marketplaces. In 2011 expect offerings from BUY, Walmart, and Sears to scale up with more sellers…

5. FREE Shipping is here to stay – Free shipping may become even more of a differentiator in 2011. This past holiday season, consumers began to see more and more offers with free shipping. The growth of Amazon Prime is evidence that loyalty and subsidized shipping can and do go together…

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