In an attempt to help e-retailers better prepare their campaigns for 2014, Rakuten has released a global retail forecast on trends that will shape the e-commerce landscape over the next 12 months.
The world’s third largest e-commerce marketplace predicts that with global e-commerce sales forecast to hit $1.4 trillion for the first time in 2014, the boundaries between entertainment and shopping will blur further as retailers will rush to deploy multimedia content to make shopping experiences even more engaging. Next year, retailers will start providing richer, more personal online shopping journeys thanks to the greater availability of data regarding consumer preferences and habits. Besides, retailers have come to realise that shoppers are no longer content with the approaches they use to reach them and have started to recognise their need for entertainment and value as they surf the web.
Social media will remain one of the most powerful attributes of retailers given its ability to influence users’ buying decisions. The impact of social media on shoppers will be even more pronounced in 2014 and will also affect what retailers sell. More and more retailers will resort to curation communities such as Pinterest to look for insights in near real-time, as this will help them stay tuned to hot product trends that could help them fine-tune their stocking decisions in due course.
An area that will require retailers’ attention next year will also be multi-channel shopping and the stages it involves. This means retailers must be aware about the devices and channels consumers use at any given time to access their offerings, with a view to develop more detailed profiles of their customers. Rakuten advises retailers to analyse the purchase journey of shoppers in order to streamline the channels they use for sales, and personalise the shopping experience.