Though your business may still be feeling the heat of summer, the holiday season is just around the corner. The crush of shipping and delivery orders typical of November and December is going to place fresh demands on your resources. But you can make the most of the season by investigating some of the top trends in eCommerce. One or more may be the way customers will be doing their holiday shopping this year.
• Independent Retailers. Sites like Etsy, Artfire and Instructables have changed the perception of how “regular people” sell their wares online. No longer are small businesses tied to large commercial sites like eBay or Amazon; instead, they take their brands to sites that draw consumers already interested in browsing and buying. And it’s not just arts and crafts taking this route. Some everyday commodities, like consumer electronics and household tools, are showing up on independent retailing sites.
• DIY eCommerce. For retailers who wish to bypass the competition on retail sites, services like Shopify allows them to build their own eCommerce store. Design services, secured shopping carts, unlimited bandwidth and other services impart a professional look and feel to these sites, allowing their owners to compete with Etsy and other large retailers.
• Social Gifting. The power of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks for business has been well established. They facilitate brand awareness and credibility long before the transaction takes place. For 2012, the social media trend in eCommerce point to social gifting, which lets users purchase and send gifts via their social accounts. According to Daily Deal Media, retailers “are realizing that social gifting gives them the chance to engage targeted shoppers by paying peanuts as compared to conventional advertising methods.”
• Mom & Pop Sites. The little shop on the corner has gone digital. Even as consumers are swamped with coupons and promotions tied to big-box stores and sites, the “mom & pop” effect of a small, personal company draws attention. Mom & pops can effectively target local consumers; use SEO to facilitate search results, and offer personalized service and flexibility on perks lik