In 2017, data illuminated some interesting habits of the modern shopper--and one of the common findings is that online shopping (and mobile shopping, for that matter) is here to stay. In fact, some findings show that 51 percent of Americans now prefer to shop online, while more than 80 percent have made an online purchase within the past month.
But that's not all. To be successful in today's market, business owners need to look at everything from the customer experience across devices to different ways for consumers to pay for products.
There's a lot to consider while formulating an effective sales strategy for 2018 and beyond, so let's look at a few of the top online sales trends from 2017 to find out what will be most important in the year ahead.
1. Optimizing the mobile shopping process
Now more than ever, people are using their smartphones and mobile devices (think tablets) to make online purchases. Forrester data indicates that by the end of 2018, mobile commerce will account for as much as $500 billion in online sales.
This means optimization of the mobile shopping experience is more important than ever. Now is the time to devote resources to a mobile-friendly website and the development of a simple, fast mobile checkout process to ensure you're accommodating buyers who are shopping on the go.
2. Accommodating digital wallets
There's another key facet of modern online shopping to consider as well: payment methods. As customers continue to adopt digital wallets (like Amazon Pay, for example), there's a real opportunity at stake.
By adding digital wallets as payment methods to an online store, retailers can speed up the checkout process, as payment details are automatically entered and securely stored. A faster, simpler checkout means fewer opportunities for a buyer to get frustrated and leave your site before completing the transaction.
3. Creating seamless experiences across devices
As today's shoppers hop from physical store to smartphone to desktop to tablet, there's a growing need for the production of seamless experiences across these different touch points. Dubbed "omni-channel retail" by some, this means that no matter where customers are interacting with a brand, the overall experience is the same.
If you haven't taken time to evaluate how customers perceive your brand within these different environments, 2018 is the time to do that.
These three tips are just a jumping off point for your 2018 online sales strategy session. There is plenty more to consider. The good news is: Your odds of success in the online marketplace are better than ever. Put together a plan for the year ahead and stay willing to learn.