Tech experts and economists reported an average 18-percent increase in e-commerce sales over the past fifteen years. With the rise of mobile shopping that average is expected to shatter in 2016. We know how customers are accessing online sites, but what are customers buying?
Market Trends indicate e-commerce categories like durable items, groceries, and clothing will see a continued rise in online shoppers, however, smaller companies won't be excluded from this growth. CIO.com lists handmade products and crafts as one category expected to see increased interest and revenue in 2016. Personalized products, as well as personalized service could be driving this growth. Welcome, "boutique customers."
What do online customers expect from small companies specializing in handmade products and crafts?
1. High-End Service
According to Forbes, companies that offer durable items like furniture or high-end items such as large-scale flat screen televisions, are able to charge customers higher rates for slower shipping if they also provide customers with free set-up and delivery.
Although larger companies are able to provide customers with the "white glove treatment," smaller boutique companies specializing in hand crafted products and crafts can provide their high-end customers with excellent customer service, high quality products and customized domestic and international shipping company options for irregularly shaped or fragile packages.
2. Virtual Showrooming
Most brick-and-mortar based companies have noticed customers enter stores, try on products, leave and order online. This behavior isn't expected to go away. In fact, companies like Restoration Hardware have embraced it. Their customers are encouraged to visit large stores that showcase galleries and from there, customers place online orders.
To compete with larger companies, online only companies with well designed sites that encourage customers to view products from all angles see higher conversion rates.
3. Site design
Even if your site's products are quirky and idiosyncratic the site design shouldn't be. Practical e-commerce reports that customers prefer "common user interface design patterns."
When customers arrive to a site and recognize the lay-out, either consciously or subconsciously, they have a smoother online shopping experience. They also recognize cart icons and other important site areas. The commonality of important features leads to higher conversion rates and puts emphasis on the products themselves
Whether high-end or specialty, all customers appreciate easy returns and reliable shipping and,if necessary, international shipping company options.
To ensure seamless transport of irregularly shaped, fragile and other unique items, it helps to ship through a company that strategically partners with a range of domestic and international transport services from air to truck to courier. To find out more about shipping and international shipping options, please contact us.