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According to the 2016 report from e-commerce platform BigCommerce, more than half of all Americans would rather shop online than they would at traditional stores. The number includes more than two-thirds of all Millennials and fifty-six percent of Generation X. The statistics assure retailers that they cannot survive without an effective e-commerce strategy. Embrace the following five trends to keep your e-commerce businesses relevant and profitable during 2017.

1. Mobile-First Approach

This year, mobile traffic will continue to dominate that coming from desktop computers as improved, larger screens and streamlined purchasing options attract more users. As a result, shoppers expect a near-perfect online experience on their mobile devices. Having a website that “works” on mobile platforms will no longer suffice.

If people cannot comfortably shop and interact with your brand using a smartphone or tablet, you will lose access to a vital segment of your market. To meet escalating demands, make sure your website is designed primarily for mobile users. If necessary, enlist a professional web developer to design and deploy a site that meets the needs of your customers.

2. Digital Payments 

New entrants to the digital payments marketplace will continue simplifying the e-commerce experience. Thanks to products such as Apple Pay, Amazon Pay and PayPal, people can use their finger or a PIN to checkout using their smartphones or even watches, rings, and other devices and “wearables”. Customers are increasingly turning to such digital platforms to improve the security of their online shopping experiences.

For your company to enjoy growth this year, embrace digital payments in your store and on your website. If you fail to accept the payment methods that your customers prefer, you will send a growing percentage of your business to competitors.

3. Personalized and Dynamic Shopping Experience

Create an exceptional customer experience this year. Corporations such as Netflix and Amazon pioneered the mass personalization of the consumer experience. As a result, customers no longer tolerate a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing and sales. Fortunately, technology and massive data stores exist that make furnishing dynamic shopping experiences easier than ever before.

With the right tools in place, you can place your ads in front of a highly targeted audience that generates more leads, prospects and sales than outdated generic strategies. Similarly, you can supply your shoppers with relevant recommendations based on their demographics and location. Personalization will increase sales and keep your customers returning for more.

4. Same Day Delivery 

When people shop for something, they want to have it right away. Such demands created initial resistance to online commerce. Many of the nation’s retailers now offer next day delivery for orders placed before 10:00 p.m., shrinking the delay between checkout and order receipt. Although one-day and two-day shipping options have increased the appeal of online stores, customers will expect more this year.

Drop-off points and networks of independent drivers and couriers now enable you to deliver orders to your customers within one hour of checkout, within a precisely defined period. Meanwhile, the development and deployment of delivery drones promise to reduce the cost and improve the accuracy of same-day service. When you embrace same-day delivery, you put your company at the forefront of digital commerce and gain an edge over your competitors.

5. Chat bots

Intelligent chat bots will increasingly supply customers with service that is faster and more accurate than human-based chat clients. Based on artificial intelligence, these bots can predict customer behavior and detect preferences. Chat bots guide customers through shopping and checkout, and boost sales by making relevant product suggestions.

This year, many customers will encounter a chat bot for the first time, often without recognizing that they are interacting with a software program rather than a person. Embrace chat bot technology now so you can give your customers personalized attention whenever they shop, without a need for hiring or staffing an expensive call center.

Trends in e-commerce are raising the bar for customer service and creating new expectations from shoppers. By creating a mobile-first strategy and accepting the latest forms of digital payments, you make your businesses available and accessible to the majority of online shoppers. By personalizing the shopping experience and supplementing it with artificial intelligence, you create an environment that is conducive to more sales while satisfying customer needs with increased accuracy. Even as you begin offering next-day delivery, make same-day delivery your ultimate goal. Create a modern, targeted customer experience this year and watch your business grow.

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