When ecommerce first emerged in the United States, it was a niche thing. Convenient for those who lived in more rural areas, handy for Christmas shopping while avoiding malls, but ultimately, not something universally adopted. Until now.
Two exciting studies emerged this week which tell a very different story.
First, The Hindu reported that global ecommerce generates more than $1.2 million in revenue every 30 seconds. Facebook contributes around $5,483 to that number, Pinterest around $4,504, and Twitter $4,308.
The study, conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India and Deloitte, clearly showed that social media is contributing greatly to the overall ecommerce revenue in the world.
According to the study:
“The maturity of social media and its reach across masses and classes makes it a suitable platform for online sales. Social media pages provide information regarding new products in the market, user reviews and ratings of the product, recommendations, and information technology (IT) products.”
If you run a business in the ecommerce sphere, this survey brings to light several interesting features you should make sure are operating on your website. Look for:
- Secure payment gateways
- Product ratings and reviews
- Recommendations based on previous products or browsing history
- Ways for prospective shoppers to talk to current owners, such as the ability to ask a question
- Ability to motivate customers with reward points or special discounts
Meanwhile, Forbes reported on a new study from Emarketer that shows that ecommerce businesses are no longer seasonally based. In fact, in China, almost half of ecommerce transactions happen on mobile devices, whether that means smartphones, tablets, or cell phones. Chinese customers are expected to spend over $300 billion on purchases from their mobile devices. Compare that to the $75 billion that American consumers are expected to spend, a number that Forbes calls paltry.
What does this mean for entrepreneurs in the ecommerce sphere?
- Remember that the world market makes it possible to draw in customers from all over the globe. At some point, the United States will probably catch up when it comes to mobile computing; after all, texting wasn’t something that most Americans did until the show American Idol introduced text voting.
- Make sure your website and payment portals are ready to go mobile. When shopping from your phone finally does hit the same popularity in the U.S. that it has in other places, you won’t want to be caught without a mobile ready site.
- Don’t assume that sales will follow seasons. In previous years, the biggest online business boom was right around Christmas, but as more and more products have become easier and easier (and often cheaper) to buy online, that has shifted. Some e-tailers, such as U.K. based Flubit, say that their August earnings will easily beat out their record 2014 Christmas season.
- Every day transactions are becoming the wave of the future. Customers love being able to do their shopping online, while they’re on break from work or commuting home. Knowing how to interact with the online audience, communicating effectively through social media, and knowing how to build product buzz, are all going to be absolutely necessary skills for any business that wants to succeed.
Business has been good for ecommerce businesses for many years, but all signs point to business getting even better. If you’ve been considering stepping into the ecommerce sphere, either with an existing business or with a new concept, this may be the right time to make that move.