Here are my top tips to help you embrace the e-commerce trends that emerge next year, to improve customer experience and keep you ahead of competitors.
1 – Hire the right people
To embrace big data effectively you need people who know what they are doing and can make sense of the mountains of data being collected. It has been suggested that a growing number of e-commerce companies will hire data scientists in the coming year and they may prove a worthy investment. Similarly, hiring professional writers to create compelling content for your site can give you an edge over competitors.
2 – Prepare for multi-platform
As multi-platform shopping becomes more popular, it is important to make sure your website is tailored to give a consistently good shopping experience on computers, tablets and smartphones.
Think fast, interoperable sites that engage your customers, no matter what method they are using to access them.
3 – Create a good impression at Christmas
One of the best ways to get ahead in the new year is to impress shoppers at Christmas. Extra touches like keeping customers informed of their delivery status, offering free shipping during the festive period and having a clear, simple returns policy will encourage shoppers to come back in 2014.
4 – Review the past year
When deciding how you are going to approach 2014, look back over 2013 to determine what the highlights were, and which areas you could have improved upon. What products sold well and which do you still have a warehouse full of?
Answering these questions will help you plan a strategy for the coming year, taking into account areas in need of change.
5 – Do what works best for you
When planning ahead for 2014, you need to think about what will work best for you and your customer base, rather than blindly following trends. Why not ask regular customers what changes and improvements they’d like to see so you know what areas you are best spending your time and money developing.
Words by James Hardy, Head of Europe, Alibaba.com