Retail & Ecommerce

The increasingly connected world we live in continues to drastically alter the relationship between brands and their customers. Arguably this change is most obvious in the growing expectation for always-on, real-time interactions across any device. More often, newer, disruptive entrants—not incumbent brands—are setting these new standards for customer expectations.

This year, 27.0 million US adults will use the sharing economy at least once, according to eMarketer’s first forecast on the subject. The number of users will grow by double digits through 2018, as more Americans flock to the convenience of services such as Airbnb and Uber. Transportation is the biggest sector of this economy to date, but lodging is catching up.

Generally, internet users want a convenient and secure mobile experience, a February 2016 survey found. Over the next three years, respondents expect the mobile experience to not only be more personalized, but also something that can adapt and react to location.

Adoption of EMV cards, a global standard for credit and debit card payments sometimes referred to as chip-and-PIN, has ways to go. March 2016 research found that consumers are still struggling when using these cards for the first time.

Home ecommerce site Wayfair saw mobile traffic surpass desktop traffic for the first time in late 2015, and mobile has remained in the lead ever since, according to Bob Sherwin, Wayfair’s senior director of customer acquisition. eMarketer spoke with Sherwin about what’s driving the shift to mobile for Wayfair and how its customers behave on mobile vs. desktop.

More than half of digital buyers in Japan said they prefer to use a particular ecommerce site because of the wide product selection offered. Cheap shipping charges and better prices were other reasons that affected their preference.

Consumers are increasingly researching products online before they purchase them in-store. According to Q1 2016 research, appliances and electronics are some of the top product categories involved in webrooming.

Marketing technology isn’t magic—even the most powerful tools are only as effective as the data they are fed, and when it comes to targeting consumers in physical stores, data is limited. Alexis Rask, chief revenue and operating officer at shopkick, a shopping-companion app that drives customers to stores through personalized offers and rewards, spoke with eMarketer about the challenges that physical locations present.

Nearly three-quarters of client-side marketers worldwide say they are working toward delivering a cohesive customer experience rather than standalone campaigns or interactions, according to February 2016 research.

Digital buyers in Australia expect a lot when it comes to shipment tracking options. However, many retailers are not quite meeting these expectations, according to October 2015 research.

Retailers are continually tackling shopping cart abandonment, but according to Q1 2016 research, the digital shopping cart abandonment rate is high worldwide, at 74.3%. Abandoned carts aren’t all bad, however.

More than two-thirds of adults use online and offline interchangeably for research and buying. But physical retailers feel the heat, as digitally empowered consumers look for better in-store services.

Consumers are increasingly using on-demand services like Uber and Instacart to get the things they want, when they need them. According to October 2015 research, annual US on-demand economy spending has reached $57.6 billion, most of which goes toward online marketplaces.

Electronics worth less than $50 are still one of the leading product categories purchased by Amazon Prime members. Data from Cowen and Company also indicated that more consumers are purchasing video games, toys and vitamins than did so a year ago.

Digital shoppers are not willing to wait a long time for website pages to load while shopping. In fact, more than a third of respondents said they are only willing to wait up to 5 seconds, according to November 2015 research.

Department stores offer several digital services to consumers, ranging from personalized promotional offers to receiving recommendations from a personal shopper. While some find these services to be cool, others find them creepy.

Mobile commerce had a breakthrough year in 2015. Smartphone retail mcommerce sales in the US nearly doubled, driven by larger screens, smoother buying experiences, better mobile search and context-driven discovery. The same trend should continue throughout 2016.

Javier Calvar, chief operating officer of Albatross Global Solutions, discusses the challenges facing luxury brands as they attempt to extend their appeal in digital channels.

Consumers expect to use their mobile device as part of their shopping experience, and according to February 2016 research, nearly two-thirds of US retailers understand that’s where they need to be.

As mobile usage becomes ubiquitous, the path to purchase is becoming less defined. Shoppers are always connected, well-informed and often quick to convert both digitally and in-store. The traditional shopping phases still exist, but once smartphones are introduced, behavior shifts.