The eCommerce world changes quickly, and keeping pace with those changes is crucial for businesses to survive. It’s a competitive online market, with estimates putting the number of eCommerce businesses in the United States alone at 1.3 million.
Consumers are quick to leave businesses that fail to adapt and update their sites, which means business owners must stay on top of the trends. Inflow recently released their annual report on what the 20 best in class eCommerce companies are doing, and that data shed light on several important trends occurring in the industry.
1) Adding Items to the Cart without Leaving the Page
Sites that send the customer to a separate shopping cart page every time they add an item to their cart disrupt the shopping process, which can lead to fewer products per order. That’s why 17 of the top 20 companies in the Inflow report opt for either a pop-in box or a drop-down bag that appear whenever something is added to the cart on their desktop sites. These confirm the item has been added, but the customer stays on the same page.
2) More Listings for Promotions
Promotions are an important sales technique, but large visuals take up quite a bit of real estate. To push promotions without using up huge chunks of space, companies are including promotional listings in their navigation menus. This has grown more popular both on desktop sites, where 15 companies did this, and mobile sites, where nine companies did.
Global promotion elements, especially ribbons at the top of the screen, are another common choice on desktop sites, with 18 companies using them.
3) Buy Online, Pick Up In-store
Customers generally choose the most convenient shopping method, and that often means blending online and in-store shopping by placing an online order for in-store pickup. This has become increasingly popular among companies that have quite a few brick-and-mortar stores.
Five companies on the list now allow this type of ordering through their desktop sites, compared to just two in 2017. Three companies allow this through their mobile sites, up from zero last year. Listing in-store product availability online is also growing more common.
4) Listing Product Attributes in the Cart
A common customer worry when ordering online is getting the wrong item, especially when they need to choose certain features, such as the size and color of a sweater. They may have a hard time remembering if they got everything correct on a product they added to their cart earlier.
Many companies, including 19 of 20 on the list, include all product attributes on their cart pages so that customers can easily double-check what they’re ordering. It also helps to provide a picture of the specific item.
5) The One-Page Checkout Is Becoming Less Popular
While the natural assumption would be that a one-page checkout is the way to go for its simplicity, fewer top companies (six of 20) had this feature in 2018 compared to 2017. One potential reason is that one long checkout page looks more daunting to customers.
This doesn’t mean the one-page checkout is a poor choice. The accordion-style checkout page that closes completed sections and opens the next section works well because of its clean layout. Companies that go with multi-page checkouts should make sure to let customers know where they are in the process to reduce the odds of abandoned carts.
While eCommerce companies don’t need to follow every single popular trend to succeed, they should certainly keep up with those trends and consider implementing changes. After all, these trends tend to improve the shopping experience for customers, help the business improve its sales numbers or both. The companies that continually adjust are the ones that can remain competitive over the long term.