Venture capitalist and internet analyst, Mary Meeker, has released her 2019 Internet Trends Report with a round up of this year’s digital observations. From the rise in ecommerce sales to personalising digital experience, several themes detailed by Mary Meeker are recognised by Netcel through our conversations with both B2C and B2B ecommerce brands. Here is a summary of the top takeaways from Meeker’s report for ecommerce brands, looking at the trends that will impact your short, medium and long-term success.
The Growth Of Digital Commerce
With 3.8 billion internet users globally – more than half of the world’s population – there has been a six per cent year over year growth. Perhaps as a result, online transactions now account for 15 per cent of all retail sales in the US – a growing figure that’s up 12.4 per cent. In contrast, traditional retail sales have grown by a mere two per cent.
Growth of online sales in the UK are even higher with data from the Office for National Statistics showing that online sales in the UK make up a record high over 18 per cent (up 15.3 per cent since 2017), and now one in five pounds in the UK is spent online.
A recent Statista report projects growth in digital commerce sales for both retail and B2B manufacturing of $4.5 trillion and $1.2 trillion respectively. Naturally, there’s little wonder why CMOs listed digital commerce as being one of the core capabilities they feel are most vital in supporting their company’s marketing strategy over the next 18 months in the 2018 Gartner CMO Spend Survey.
Brands are now recognising the need to bring the personalised experiences they successfully deliver to their customers instore, to their online experience, if they are to differentiate from their competition and continue to drive online revenue.
At Netcel, we’re seeing brands reviewing their technology stack to ensure they have the capabilities for success in a competitive market. Products such as Episerver’s Experience-Driven Commerce enable retailers to personalise customer experiences and gain deeper insights into customer journeys to better understand which campaigns, experiences and products are most effective.
Using Data To Personalise Customer Experience
With real-time customer data at many businesses’ fingertips, Meeker reiterates the importance of commercial organisations in using AI to leverage data in order to improve customer experience. Moreover, with 91 per cent of retail customers favouring brands that provide personalised offers and recommendations, and a further 74 per cent of customers actively willing to share their data in exchange for personalised experiences (Accenture 2018), using data to improve digital experience is more accepted and expected than ever.
Since 1995, Meeker explains how successful businesses have been using digital insights to optimise sales. She now believes that businesses must use ‘Data Plumbing Tools’ to better understand customer needs and improve operational efficiencies to aid with consumer decision making. Meeker’s recommendations very much align with Netcel’s expertise in using digital technology to help businesses utilise their data more effectively to deliver truly individualised digital customer experiences at scale.
Digitisation Of Offline Services
Offline services are also set to become more ‘digitised’ to encourage revenue growth. Meeker observes that the speed of sale and delivery have been key differentiators in the delivery ecosystem for numerous Chinese, Indonesian and South American companies.
In two years, Chinese group buying website, Meituan Dianping, has quickly become the ‘Amazon of services’ through its app which connects consumers with local businesses. The tech firm have almost doubled its number of active merchants whilst positing itself as the go-to platform for local search and consumer service discovery.
The Rise Of Social Commerce
Meeker highlights the achievements of businesses utilising messaging and social media apps in order to expand their ecommerce capabilities. Companies such as WhatsApp have trialled integrating ecommerce and payment functionality within their app. WhatsApp Pay was first trialled in India in May 2018, allowing users to transfer funds in real-time via the secure UPI payments system.
And with Instagram checkout launching back in March this year, customers are able to shop within the app, improving purchase times and usability. As mobile shopping increases and with the average US adult spending over three hours a day on their phone, there’s a growing need for businesses to take a mobile-first strategy.
A New Surge In Voice Technology
The adoption of voice enabled technology has sharply increased over the past two years, with a particular rise in Amazon Echo installed base, no doubt as a result of the number of Amazon Echo Skills increasing twofold. With Amazon continuing to invest in building more useful and intelligent Skills, manufacturing and retail organisations need to consider how to optimise the technology from an ecommerce perspective.
As digital technology experts, Netcel can help businesses clarify how to effectively harness the power of voice technology and other emerging technology, from both transactional and conversational UI perspectives.
In summary, customers of both consumer and business facing organisations are increasing their online spend and expect seamless, personalised digital experiences. With ever increasing opportunities to collect customer data and a rising number of transactional channels, brands and suppliers need to make sense of the vast digital technology landscape available to them and get the most from their customer data.