3 Areas of Opportunities for Ecommerce Retailers in 2016

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 28 Dec, 2015

As Internet retailers get ready to welcome the New Year it is important for them to reflect on their strategies from 2015 and identify areas of opportunity for 2016.

While every retailer may find something different that they want to focus on for the year ahead, there are a few general areas that the industry as a whole will likely pay closer attention to, including digital customer service, user-generated content (UGC) and mobile. Read below to learn more about these three areas of opportunity and how Internet retailers can capitalize on them in 2016:

Digital Customer Service

Digital customer service isn't a cool feature anymore - it's expected. What's more, ecommerce retailers must go beyond live chat in order to compete with other retailers. Social customer service, for example, is becoming increasingly popular despite 33 percent of customers noting that they never get a response from the brands they contact.

Fortunately, technology is making social customer service an easier task. TouchCommerce, for instance launched a solution called TouchSocial in November that enables brands to respond to consumers on social networks with the purpose of increasing customer satisfaction and conversion. In addition to TouchCommerce, Facebook made it easier for brands to offer customer service with its Businesses on Messenger solution. This offering enables brands to send detailed messages with custom layouts designed for order confirmation, shipping updates and more through the Facebook Messenger app. To learn more about improving customer service initiatives on the world's largest social network, check out Website Magazine's "Become a Customer Service Pro on Facebook."

User-Generated Content (UGC)

Content marketing has quickly become an integral part of a brand's digital strategies, and one of the best performing content types tends to be UGC. This is good news for retailers, as creating fresh, branded content on a daily basis is very time consuming.

UGC can be found all over the Web - from reviews on product pages to social media mentions. To ease the content production process and to engage audiences better, retailers should repurpose UGC across channels. For instance, if a consumer leaves a positive review for a new product, the retailer may want to feature that review in an email marketing message or highlight it in a social media post. For some more UGC inspiration for 2016, check out Website Magazine's "3 UGC Wins from Holidays 2015."

Mobile Apps

Mobile was a big focal point in 2015, thanks in part to Google's Mobilegeddon update. In 2016, however, Internet retailers should pay attention to mobile apps in addition to their mobile sites. In fact, Amazon revealed that customers shopping on its mobile app more than doubled this holiday season when compared to 2014, which may signal a trend.

That said, it is important that retailers plan a mobile app strategically, as this project could turn into a waste of money if not executed properly. For example, what features can be included to make consumers come back to engage with the app? While including exclusive offers or gamification features within the app may be enough, retailers should conduct their own research by downloading and interacting with apps from their competition. Doing so may lead to fresh ideas and inspirations for their new app.