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Enabling Successful eCommerce for Small Midsized Businesses : Customer Expectations for Excellent Mobile and Omnichannel Service are Shaping eCommerce
eCommerce has become the primary customer engagement channel. Customers now invariably investigate sellers and products online before buying by visiting their web sites and checking out other customers’ experiences on social media. eCommerce has also become a popular customer sales channel. It dominates the market for buying “soft” virtualized products and services, or “X anything as service” that are deliverable online. All companies are faced with adapting to eCommerce and keeping up with rapidly changing developments. But small midsized businesses (SMBs) are particularly challenged what with their limited resources.
The following important trends are affecting SMB eCommerce:
- Rising consumer brand and service expectations. Consumers realize they are highly valued in today’s slowly growing economy. Not surprisingly they have higher expectations for brands. They want to feel they are getting good value and that they are being treated well. Consumers also expect immediate responses to their issues. And they must feel comfortable with making transactions through eCommerce companies and sites to the same degree (if not higher) as they have with bricks and mortar retailers.
- Shorter business cycles. Product and service innovations are becoming “transient advantages” as they are being copied quickly by competitors. As a result, customer knowledge and service are prime marketplace differentiators.
- Going mobile for engagement but not for product purchases. Mobile devices have become the dominant communications tool. Frost & Sullivan research forecasts that the number of North American consumer wireless subscribers will increase from million in 2014 to nearly million in 2018. Meanwhile the number of consumer voice landline subscribers will decline from million to million over the same period.
But research by content monetization platform supplier Skimlinks suggests that consumers are still using their mobile devices for engagement, and their desktops and laptops for actual purchases. These units account for % of revenue driven by all commerce-related content or “comtent” while mobile, like smartphones, and tablets each generate % of revenues. These results are not surprising as wireless devices’ make viewing and navigating more difficult, particularly if users are in motion. Sometimes too, consumers find themselves in public places where they cannot risk divulging personal data.
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