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3 Emerging Trends of E-Commerce in a Socially Collaborative World

By Alex Gonzalez | Small Business

Technology enables friends and family to collaborate on pretty much anything and everything – if you want it.  You’re just a few clicks, emails, tweets or Facebook posts away from getting advice and feedback from friends and family on whatever your heart desires.

In the beginning, e-commerce supported the consumer that already knew what he/she wanted (product search, 1-click ordering).  This e-commerce technology enabled the shopper to quickly find his desired product and have it delivered to his home quickly and at the best price.  But today’s consumers’ needs are rapidly changing.

Below are three emerging trends that are shaping the next phase of e-commerce in our socially collaborative world:

1. Retailers are supporting the omni-channel consumer.  

Shoppers have blurred offline with online when making purchase decisions.  Mobile apps allow for in-store shopping, getting access to    consumer reviews, and enable product sharing with friends.  Retailers are quickly integrating their once separate channels to support this type of consumer.

2. Online properties are mimicking the offline shopping experience.  

Consumers inherently enjoy the in-person, real-life shopping experience.  Most retailers offer and encourage shoppers to chat live and get access to a real person for expert opinion and insights.  Online subscription retail allows shoppers to touch and feel products (i.e. Birchbox, Trunk Club, Stylemint), while others mimic the real-time meaningful experiences you have while shopping with friends (through platforms like Chatalog).

3. Consumers are bringing more of the decision process online.

Consumers are looking for ways to collaborate across all social channels with a trusted circle (of friends, family, experts, and brands).

According to a recent survey by eMarketer, 56% of online shoppers abandon their carts because they are not ready to make the purchase. A WSL/Strategic Retail Survey revealed 69% of shoppers say they first go to their close friends and family for advice regarding their purchase decisions.

Through social channels and collaborative shopping platforms, consumers can get feedback and opinions through every step of the purchase path.

With online shopping spending expected to reach the $300 billion mark in the U.S. alone in 2013 (up from only $93 billion just 10 years ago), retailers need to keep up with consumers’ ever changing needs. Especially when it comes to shopping and making purchase decisions online.

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