Online Retail Forecast is Sunny

Patti RennerI find it interesting how consumers, who just a few years ago were afraid to type a card number into a computer, are now embracing the eCommerce like never before. On Monday, Forrester Research Inc. released its “US Online Retail Forecast, 2011 To 2016” report (by analyst Sucharita Mulpara). Things look good. eCommerce sales topped $200 billion in 2011. Forrester predicts “online sales will grow from 7% of overall to close to 9% by 2016.” This means roughly one out of every 10 retail purchases made in the US will soon be made via digital channels.
Several factors contribute to growth:
  • More web shoppers – People spend more time on their laptops, at their desks, and on their iPads. More time is spent exploring shopping possibilities, while “new” shoppers are seeing what the ease of buying online is all about.
  • More spending – Even with more shoppers online, it is also important to note the about of money those people are spending is also increasing.
  • Better buying experiences – Personally, I love quick payment options. (Brian recently confessed they call him “Daddy One Click” at home.) Online retailers are getting creative in their “easy payment” options. They’re also gradually adopting some slick selling tools so consumers can get up-close with products (via zoom, color swatching, etc.) from the comfort of their screen of choice.
  • The illusion of savings – Consumers love to save money (who doesn’t?), so the perception of finding better deals online continues to drive sales.

All of this means online retailers need to take a closer look at how consumers experience your brand online. Make it easy for people to open their wallets and buy from you – from mobile, tablet, desktop or whatever device they prefer. The wave of eCommerce continues to swell. So even with the sunny predictions for sales growth, none will benefit the retailers who aren’t ready (for instance, who have yet to optimize their site for mobile browsers). Taking a customer-focused approach to your business means giving your customers an excellent experience with your brand – both in-store and online.

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