Touch payments have now overtaken as the preferred way to pay for goods, and we as consumers get annoyed when it’s not available. Stopping to get a card out of our wallets before we purchase now creates friction in what could be a very smooth process, and once we have experienced the frictionless transaction, we expect it all the time. We have changed our expectations to want this service as standard.

This has now influenced everything from how we purchase fast food, to how we order a taxi. If you now cannot order and pay for a cab from your mobile, there is perceived friction in the process. We expect to be able to get from A to B, and pay without ever reaching into our bags.

The digital sector has a massive influence on how we change these expectations in purchasing. As online merchants, we don’t know what’s coming in this industry, what the next big development will be. If you don’t keep up, you and your store will be left behind.

Speaking at the eCommerce Show North earlier this month, David Wise, Director of Channel Sales at Magento, talked about how the digital field is transforming our expectations as well as the way we purchase.

Keep it Fresh

Merchants who are flexible will get the customers in future, because they are keeping up with the changes, and are ready to change with them.

Over the next five years, what will you do to future proof, and to differ yourselves from your competitors? Customer Experience accounts for over 40% of what we think drives people to certain websites. Interestingly, people didn’t say mobile would be a driving factor, but that could well be simply because we already expect this today; now. We aren’t thinking ‘mobile is going to be huge in five years’, because it already is huge.

Marketplaces

When asked on reasons to shop on brand sites vs marketplaces, people said that brand sites had more exclusive things you can’t find away from the brand’s own store. The product ranges drive people to brand sites. But things like a free courier, and a good shopping experience, were both stacked in favour of marketplaces.

Being Unique

People want personalised experiences. Take Oliver Sweeny, the men’s shoes brand. They now employ a full time tattoo artist to tattoo their boots for a truly unique experience, and people want to buy them. We love to feel unique and individual.

Content is key

People use it to get to your site, to decide that they are going to buy your product. The brand experience is vital to get people to see who you are and what you do.

Imagery is key as well. Don’t sacrifice your speed for high quality, but poorly optimised images.

The roles of stores has changed

Being online means you are more accessible than ever before. But so are your competitors. Your website is no longer simply a place to go and buy products from, but must be a platform which you use to convince people that they should buy from you and no one else. Customers want to see innovation on websites, and they want the convenience of purchasing as quickly and simply as possible so they can get on with their day.  We love to buy but we don’t love to pay, and the easier it is to pay, the better the sales. You need to create a frictionless experience on your store to get the custom.

And Social Media DOES matter

Social Media impacts everything we do online, both as shoppers and merchants. We want what our idols have, we make purchasing decisions based on what our friends recommend. What you do on social media will impact your sales, but you need to link the campaigns back to the right places to have the best result.

Get Magento BI

As we’ve already mentioned, Magento BI is great to maximise your sales, and push the best part of your business. Truly Experiences, a luxury holiday company, became 70% more efficient for SEO after switching to BI.

Closing Advice? Future proof your business

Progressive web apps will be the next big thing for mobile shopping. It brings apps and websites for mobile together. You can update the site faster without re-uploading it to an app store again and again. You also don’t need to submit it to multiple app platforms.

Use search in Google for images and have them link through. Searching for something and finding an image, especially for products, is the new way people search. Think about the sequence of events that get people to buy a product. They see the image on search, and click through to buy it.

The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility. That’s it. Nothing else is sustainable, everything you create, someone will replicate. Jeff Bezos (Amazon).