Ecommerce is the future - here's our predictions for 2017
Ecommerce – buying and selling things online – is the future. There’s no arguing about it – it’s just the way we do things now. Even if the high street enjoys a resurgence, ecommerce is never going to go away, and any organisation that fails to embrace it is sure to be left behind.
We have provided digital vouchers for some time now, and they’ve proved to be very popular with organisations looking to reward their staff. These e-gifts can be in the form of vouchers for big online retailers like Amazon, or codes to spend online with brands and retailers that also have a more traditional brick-and-mortar shop presence.
If you’re not convinced on digital, then take a look at the stats, and the way we think ecommerce will be going in the years to come. This is what your customers will be wanting from your service – and how many of your staff will be wanting to receive and use their rewards.
Ecommerce – the stats
Ecommerce has grown a massive amount in just a few years – between 2008 and 2015, the value of ecommerce sales rose by roughly £200 billion a year – from £334 billion in 2008 to £533 billion in 2015 – with 2016 statistics from the ONS seeing online retailing enjoying a year-on-year growth of more than 21%, and accounting for more than 15% of all retail sales.
While 15% may not sound like much in the grand scheme of all retail sales, it’s still a massive amount, in the hundreds of billions – and it’s only set to get bigger. By 2018, it’s expected that online retailing will account for 18% of all sales. If the rate stays the same, without speeding up, online sales will reach parity with traditional retail in about 20 years – though it’s likely to happen a lot sooner than that.
Everything gets faster
Faster loading. Faster delivery. People don’t want to wait for their stuff – and that’s why you have next-day delivery, or even instant drone delivery. This is a big part of why we’ve introduced digital rewards – vouchers instantly land in your employees’ inboxes, and they can instantly be spent online if they wish.
In the retail world, this speed will likely be achieved by localisation rather than drones – they are a bit impractical, if we’re being honest – with a growing number of depots and local couriers working round the clock to get shoppers’ packages out to them. Even Uber are getting in on the action with Uber Rush, turning its network of cabbies into delivery drivers too.
We’ve gone on at length about how important it is to take a personal approach – it’s as true of rewards as it is with retail. While the right reward is a great motivator, the wrong reward – whether because it’s not relevant to the person receiving it, or because it’s been delivered in an incredibly generic way that doesn’t properly acknowledge the person receiving it – will likely have the opposite impact.
The amount of data collected from internet users means that advertising, products and deals can be increasingly tailored to the individual user – your front page on Amazon will look entirely different to someone else’s, for example. As more and more platforms integrate, and as apps collect more and more data, there will be further opportunity for retailers to learn about their customers, greet them by their name, and offer them the right deals.
In the past, our incentives and rewards teams have created apps that allow co-workers to recognise each other’s achievements – perhaps the future could be to use these apps, and the data they collect, to identify the ideal rewards for individual employees.
Speaking of apps, they’re becoming a bigger and bigger thing for retailers. Customer loyalty programmes – where you get benefits, deals, offers and so on for staying with a company, or perhaps making a certain amount of purchases – are nothing new, but 2017 will see more and more of them move to an app.
This is a big win for retailers – it makes it even easier to maintain an open line of communication with their customers, and to gather data on what they’re interested in.
When it comes to providing recognition, use of apps such as these are good indications of the types of rewards staff may appreciate – regular vouchers for a company with a good loyalty scheme will see your staff get even more from their rewards.
So if you’re looking for ways to reward your staff in 2017, be sure to take into account the ways in which people are spending their money. Vouchers and gift cards that can only be used in a certain way may not have the impact you require.