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The latest trends in ecommerce in 2016

Written by Meshell Long on February 23, 2016 in Strategies & Tips

8096899965_13b19b62d1_k.jpgWe're right at the halfway point of Q1, and you've likely already noticed product trends in your own niche. We've noticed them too. Our Director of Marketplace Success, Meshell Long, spent some time pulling data from the Doba catalog to compile a report about the latest trends in ecommerce for 2016, so that you can see what's selling, where it's being sold, and who's buying.

Note: you can access this data too with a free subscription to Doba.

Consumers are more comfortable online

Consumers are more comfortable shopping online. In fact, shopping driven by social media is expected to triple in 2016. You need to take advantage of "buy now" functionality on social media platforms where your products are featured. This will enable you to potentially increase your conversion rates by up to 1,000%

You can increase conversion via social media by adding Q&A functionality and reviews to your product pages. Sending a followup email to your customers to let them know their question was answered, and incentivizing them to leave reviews, can help you see as much as a 51% increase in email conversion rates. 

And as every marketer on the planet should know by now, email marketing is the single most effective method of putting your products in front of your customers.

Millennials have the spending power

This generation will have the most impact on consumer trends, according to Smart Insights, and they rely heavily on social media to influence their purchases. Personalized shopping features - like product recommendations based on past purchases and social interests - are a must.

Speaking of product recommendations, they play a huge role in millennials' buying processes. The more user content you have on your site, the better your conversion rates will be. According to a report from Forrester, 51% of millennials say other consumer opinions found on a company’s website have a greater impact on their purchase decisions than recommendations from family and friends. 63% of millenials will also prioritize their purchases with companies who portray personality and social responsibility. 58% will even pay higher prices as long as some of their cost goes towards a cause they support.

Committing a certain amount of your proceeds to a charity or other non-profit organization is a good way to drum up a positive public image of your business. Orvis, a major sporting dealer, commits 5% of pre-tax sales revenue to conservation efforts. As such, they're rewarded by extremely loyal customers, and are one of the largest sporting goods manufacturers in the world.

Mobile/Omnichannel will be big

Mobile has been the up-and-coming channel for years, and is seeing ridiculously rapid growth. Mobile retail sales are expected to easily surpass $31 billion this year. Not only will retailers need to up their game in the mobile world, but they'll need to stay competitive by creating a seamless omnichannel experience

This includes social media sites, websites, mobile, apps, emails and in-store pickup options. Mobile shoppers spend 66% more than customers who purchase ONLY in stores. 

Now that we've gone over trends in where and how products will be bought, let's dive into what products have been trending so far in 2016. These trends are likely to continue as the year progresses.

Related content: How to use Google Trends to inform your product mix strategies

DIY crafts, hobbies, and home improvement

With the increased number of users on Pinterest and other media platforms, including network television programs that focus on the “do-it-yourself” demographic, (which consists of mostly millennials), crafts & hobby supplies are going to continue to grow in 2016. Everything from scrapbooking, sewing and knitting, home improvement tools, baking and art supplies will continue to see sales growth. These types of items allow consumers to create their own looks and express their unique personalities, which is something that millennials highly value. 

Healthy, fit, eco-friendly, and organic products

Healthy lifestyles are a big deal in every demographic these days, and we're not just talking healthy eating here. Healthier living spaces and external economic factors play in as well. More people are realizing all the time that a healthy mind, body and spirit are inseparably connected.

These trending products range from vitamins & supplements, food & drink, and organic household cleaners. Also, devices that help you stay accountable to lifestyle changes, like fitness trackers and smart electronics, will continue to rise in 2016.

Products in all categories that include natural looks like wood grain and items made with recycled materials will see a big jump as well. Even product packaging and product manufacturing will play a huge role in individual brand and marketing success for this category.

Smart electronics

Just as humans are increasing their focus on a healthy environment, they are also looking to save time and energy by using smart appliances for their homes, offices and personal life in order to keep in touch and stay on top of their busy lives.

Smart products that can be controlled with a smartphone will see increased sales and will make last year's manually controlled items seem almost pre-historic. Everything from app-compatible virtual reality gaming, controlled lighting, in-home temperature/security systems, personal heart rate and baby monitors and medical tools are products to watch.

Consumers are using their phones and apps to share purchases and personal accomplishments tracked by devices and apps that are mobile friendly. 

Personalized apparel

Everything from hand-selected, curated boxes that include an entire outfit ensemble to screen-printed tees with mega personality is going to be huge in 2016. The secret to apparel trends in 2016 is personalized selection and style. 

Emergency prep

With the rise in building and rebuilding for sustainability, there's a growing trend of general preparedness spreading across the US.  Everyone from politicians, education professionals, and local townships are creating emergency plans for the unexpected. Products that help provide basic resources, communication and increase survival and comfort during an emergency will continue to increase in sales.

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Photo courtesy Seika.

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