Top 3 Factors Disrupting Online Retail in 2015

Brian SmythWiser is a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine that monitors, analyzes, and reprices retail products in real-time. Wiser enables retailers to boost profit margins and revenue, price with confidence, and improve merchandising through a sound pricing strategy. Today Brian Smyth from Wiser discusses three factors that have changed online retail in 2015:

Like a tornado ripping through an empty cornfield, online retail has gathered enormous strength. Consumers love it for its convenience, and there are fewer barriers to entry for retailers. Every year it seems that eCommerce gets stronger and develops even more innovative practices that have a lasting impact on the industry.

Many companies have drawn up ways to improve eCommerce in 2015. These ideas can completely change the way online sellers compete with one another. Retailers are beginning to switch gears to accommodate their business strategies according to these changes.

Social Media

Using social media has always been a useful way for retailers to communicate promotions, answer questions, and solve any complaints from shoppers. Towards the end of 2014, social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter began testing “buy buttons.” These buttons would allow browsers to purchase products on social media sites.

In 2015, these buttons are becoming a reality, as more social media sites adopt them. Recent news indicates that Facebook really wants to venture into the eCommerce landscape. They have a good launch pad for their pursuit, since the site accounts for 50% of social referrals. Many are unsure if shoppers will adopt the practice, but it could be promising.

Mobile Search

Mobile now makes up over 50% of all eCommerce traffic. If that isn’t enough of an incentive to optimize your site for mobile, there is also the fact that Google now places mobile friendly sites at the top of mobile search results.

Google has taken the quest for mobile a step further and is testing a “buy now” button. The Wall Street Journal reported the testing back in May, but it could develop into a powerhouse to take on one of Google’s biggest search competitors: Amazon. The buttons will be exclusive to mobile browsers for now, but will essentially give users the ability to purchase items directly within Google using a branded site.

Memberships began building hype at the beginning of 2015, advertising its prices as the lowest on the web. The company doesn’t profit from the products it sells, but from membership fees. (like a Costco and Amazon mashup). Many portrayed Jet as a company that wants to take on Amazon as an eCommerce leader, and Amazon took notice. In what many felt was a defensive counter to Jet’s launch, Amazon held Prime Day on July 15, offering prices lower than Black Friday. The day was exclusive to Prime members, encouraging those who hadn’t yet signed up for a Prime membership to give it a shot.

Could Prime Day be hinting at something bigger? It’s possible that membership programs could become more prevalent in online retail. If Prime Day was in fact a defensive tactic, Jet really might be onto something. Initial reports show that Jet has a long way to go to get on Amazon’s level, but it’s the idea behind it that could really disrupt retail in the near future.

While time will be the ultimate test for these disruptors, retailers can count on an increase in competition and customers can expect a better shopping experience in the long run.