The Internet has brought about significant changes in consumer shopping patterns. As more online retail platforms open up and buying online becomes easier, the landscape of e-commerce continues to shift; something we’re continued to develop in our business hosting plans. Here are five trends that experts say shaped the holiday season. Do you agree with them?
Traffic to online retail sites has been rising steadily in the longer term from all sources. This last holiday season experts predicted the following two driving forces for increased sales:
- Image-sharing sites, in particular Pinterest.
- Mobile devices, especially tablets.
Social sharing and peer recommendations have become increasingly important. Pinterest’s users are generally very fond of online window-shopping: identifying possible purchases through pictures found online, then “Pinning” the images they like on their Pinboards. Internet retailers have duly noted this and are utilizing Pinterest very effectively to raise awareness and generate traffic to their sites.
The convenience of mobile shopping online is very attractive to consumers. During the holiday season, mobile shopping facilitates last-minute purchases. Tablets, with their high-resolution screens that encourage closer looks through easy zooming, are also making notable differences to traffic.
Consumer satisfaction associated with sales has been dropping off in some markets, especially in the area of “daily deals.” Flash sales remain popular and were predicted to make some difference by attracting new customers; but they’re not going to be as big a driving force as loyalty programs that retain existing consumers. Consumer retention tools such as special offers, coupons, daily deals and discount sales are an increasingly important part of online commerce.
In an arena dominated by bricks-and-mortar giants and behemoth “e-trailers” such as Amazon, small start-ups and boutique online stores made the most significant gains over the 2012 holiday season.
Experts predicted the rise in the number of older consumers taking advantage of online shopping, as computer use and engagement with the online world continue to rise among more mature shoppers.
The fastest-growing category in online shopping has been in customized goods. Consumers enjoy choosing from different options and tailor their purchases to their particular needs.
Let us know if your online sales exceeded or disappointed your expectations. Write your comments below!