What does the future of ecommerce hold this coming year? Check out our online sales predictions for 2010. Our bets include: a need for increased online security, ramped up social media, a push for creativity and overall growth in the online shopping experience.
The year 2009 was fun, wasn’t it? There were lots of exciting developments and interesting things thrown at us here in ecommerce. Naturally, just as the year’s lessons are realized, an entire new year begins, ready to unleash a slew of new thoughts and opportunities for us to jump on. But what’s around the bend and on the horizon? Fortunately a little birdie brought me a crystal ball to look into once the stars aligned. (I know, enough with the clichés, let’s get to the predictions.)
So here we go folks, my top ecommerce predictions and trends for 2010…
Online security is more important than ever.
Every three seconds, someone has their identity stolen. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, with an overwhelming number of cases going undetected (Identity Theft Protection). Attacks to your customers’ sensitive information are growing in number, strength and geographical reach. As the global recession filters out, more and more individuals are becoming desperate and turning to cyber theft as an alternative. Additionally, fraudulent orders are on the rise – this means that orders are being placed from stolen credit cards and false information.
Thus, in 2010 make sure to evaluate your security protections. Check for PCI/CISP certification and ask your provider what security measures they have in place. If you are self-hosted, start researching what you can do to better protect sensitive data. Consider putting together a plan on how to prevent and handle potential security issues.
We get serious about social media. (Then social media throws us a curveball.)
The Center for Media Research reports that 56.3% of online marketers plan to include and grow social media into their overall marketing strategy. For some context, this is of equal importance to email marketing – 56.8% of marketers plan to use email in their plans. With this type of investment, your social media channels are going to require a lot more thought and strategy. You’ll need to align your social efforts into every piece of your strategy, from sales to support to marketing and beyond.
And once we get it all figured out, we’re going to be hit with an exciting new opportunity. Perhaps a new platform takes off like wildfire or a new integration takes place (Google and Yahoo have already agreed to include Twitter results in their search engines.) Stay on top of developments and you’ll be prepared to catch any curveball thrown our way.
The economy gets better, but sentiment from the recession lingers.
Financial forecasts for 2010 look promising. Lending is set to increase, money is expected to flow more freely across markets and GDP is slated to grow each quarter. But if we’ve learned anything from 2009, it’s that online shoppers are looking for deals, discounts and coupons before making purchases. This behavior will continue in 2010 – even as the economy improves, your customers will still be weary of shelling out extra cash.
The good news is that this won’t last for long. More good news is that you’re already used to this behavior. Just keep on with your promotions, discounts and relationship building and you’ll be in good shape. Patience can be hard to keep in ecommerce, but online sales growth is forecasted from several experts and economists. Hooray!
It’s all about the Benjamins relationships.
In 2010 your online business will no longer be able to simply put itself out there and expect money (“the Benjamins” – e.g. $100 bills) to flow in. With the rise of the Internet, particularly social networking sites, relationship building is one of the most important things you can do. Mmarket segments are starting to unravel to the individual level. In other words, there will be a lot more personal conversations taking place between businesses and consumers.
This is a good thing – you’ll be able to receive more real-time feedback to learn what your customers want, need and expect. One important thing to keep in mind: relationship building via personal conversations is a two-way street. Expect for customers to have more control of the conversation in 2010 and just run with it.
Creative ideas win the race.
Finally, it’s time to take a page out of the hare’s book – slow and steady will not win the race in 2010. This isn’t to say that strategies and tactics for selling online shouldn’t be well thought out, but the increasing amount of clutter on the web, mixed with a dwindling attention span from online shoppers means that creativity and innovation will be critical for success. The positive side is that we can all learn from each other and our ideas. This year, it will be very important to stay ahead of the competitive curve by meeting the demands of your customers in a compelling way.
I think there is reason for all of us to be very optimistic about what lies ahead in 2010. The opportunity for growth is there and customers are expecting more and more from the ecommerce industry as a whole. With this in mind, let’s bid a fond farewell to 2009 and welcome the next year and decade with open arms.
If we’re good to 2010, it will be good to us. Happy New Year everyone!
-Matt Winn, Marketing Associate
What do you think will happen in 2010? Do you agree or disagree with the predictions above? How is your business preparing for the new year? Share your thoughts and strategies below!