The age of mobile has rapidly transformed the way we shop online. How has this happened, and what does this mean for the whole new market for eCommerce jobs that we now take for granted?
Before the dawn of mobile
What we now know as ‘eCommerce’ was confined to the desktop, and as logistics caught up with demand, so did mobile. After all, how else could you satisfy shopping urges on the go? Done right, eCommerce is a lucrative playing field. The value of eCommerce retail sales worldwide in 2017 reached £1.7 billion GBP; the value of e-retail worldwide sales is predicted to grow to £3.66 billion in the year 2021.
What the eCommerce landscape looks like, in numbers
Another report by Statista shows the breakdown of devices used by online shoppers worldwide who made purchases in 2017, where 33% of all worldwide online shoppers made purchases every month using their desktops, compared with 19% of online shoppers using mobile.
Similarly, 16% of shoppers made their online purchases using desktop, compared with 11% of online shoppers using mobile. Approximately 34% those who made purchases a few times per year would use their desktops or laptops compared with 21% of online shoppers using mobile.
However, for those worldwide online shoppers who made daily purchases, the results were the same with 3% of those making purchases using desktop compared with 3% for mobile.
It’s clear that desktops remain most popular for placing online shopping orders. From evaluating the Statista research, there is a sizeable gap between 38% of worldwide online shoppers who have never made purchases using mobile – compared with just the 7% who’ve never used their desktops to shop online.
The shift to mobile
How quickly is mobile is adapting to these eCommerce trends? A 2017 report by eMarketer Retail, suggests that shoppers preferred using their smartphones to look for purchases during holiday season.
It reported research from Adobe showing that during 2017, a total of 45% of retail eCommerce site visits came from smartphone devices compared with 46% originating from desktops that same year.
However in 2015, only 33% of retail eCommerce site visits came from smartphone devices compared with 55% of website traffic coming from desktop PCs.
It’s clear that modern lifestyles have shifted around mobile platforms; what can be more convenient that the palm of your hand?
Graham Cooke, CEO of Qubit, said in the report, “The consumer has changed, and retailers need to look at mobile as where the growth in revenue is… Product discovery, and creating experiences which provide a seamless segue from an app like Instagram to the mobile website of the brand is now essential”.
Among we Brits, mobile devices are said to be ‘accelerating’ the rising trend of ‘Research Online, Purchase Offline’ (ROPO) in high street sales. According to The Telegraph, a survey of more than 2,000 Brits conducted by YouGov for mobile shopping app Udozi revealed that 40% of Brits preferred shopping in a physical store than online.
This is further supported in a report by Retail TouchPoints revealing that 90% of consumers use their smartphones while shopping in retail stores, according to a survey by research company SessionM.
Approximately 54% of consumers would use smartphones to compare prices, 48% of consumers would research online product information and 42% would read product reviews before making in-store purchases.
Another report by Retail Systems also found 70% of retailers frequently see customers researching an item online before visiting a store to purchase it. This trend is understood to be influenced by price conscious shoppers looking for bargain deals and saving money on purchases.
There are still friction points, though. The Telegraph report found that 44% of British shoppers said they would do more shopping if it weren’t for delivery fees, and 24% of Brits were simply put off by online shopping experience – logistical problems, delivery charges and the like.
This is why the industry around eCommerce has grown – to service the needs of online customers, there needs to be a solid chain from the head office to the warehouse.
What do these changes in eCommerce mean for the eCommerce recruitment sector?
Retailers understand the need to adapt to these changing market conditions, particularly focusing their efforts around multichannel, supply chain and online trading to meet consumer demand.
We’ve seen a rise in senior-level positions, notably with eCommerce Director and Online Strategy jobs, and Head of eCommerce vacancies that need the right candidates to step in and lead eCommerce forward.
Because consumers are used to the idea of buying anything, any place at any time, the impact of mobile has essentially blurred the lines between brick-and-mortar retailers and digital sellers. This means the gap between retailers and consumers have never been closer, meaning more comparison shopping, price awareness and shifting sales between in-store and online platforms.
In turn, the impact of mobile on eCommerce has created and expanded opportunities for specialist eCommerce recruitment agencies within the sector. We act as eCommerce Director head-hunters, and fill highly specialised eCommerce vacancies such as Online Strategy jobs, social media vacancies, digital marketing and web content management jobs to name but a few.This is because although many customers still prefer in-store shopping to online, mobile has given rise to another trend of ‘showrooming’ – where customers will view an item first in a brick-and-mortar store, then buy it later online after scouring price comparison and voucher codes sites.
Businesses need to recognize eCommerce particularly on mobile as a necessity because consumers’ lifestyles have changed with more people interacting on mobile on a daily basis. Busy schedules and limited time means more consumers will shop online quickly on their mobile devices. If you offer a fully optimised mobile shopping experience, you’ll earn the respect and loyalty of your customers.
How tech is changing the game
The future is now. User experience and functionality will continue to play a key role in future eCommerce trends, resulting in increasing demand for specialist eCommerce recruitment agencies to fill the new roles that arise, particularly in mobile commerce.
Indeed, we are starting to see an increase in demand for mCommerce jobs at all levels.
One key differentiator in the eCommerce sector is the improvement of service logistics, such as the the availability of products, faster shipping and delivery times, and all at a lower cost.
Greater use of artificial intelligence in eCommerce will aim to improve search functionality, such as customer service chatboxes and voice controlled search tools, where consumers can speak directly to their device for faster product or service enquiries.
This has proved hugely successful with recent products such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. Storefront apps will also aim to improve user experience and accommodate the shift from desktop to mobile; here, online shoppers will be given a ‘virtual’ window shopping experience.
The rise of ROPO will also influence how retailers compete to give consumers the best value for their purchases both online and offline. Improved mobile checkout and payment systems will aim to improve security and privacy concerns, and also improve online customer service.
The rise in the use of augmented reality will take user experience to another level high quality and technically advanced visual software tools, high quality animation, photography and videos designed to engage consumers with retail brands.
Improvements to social media will also continue to play a key part in influencing purchases, such as a rise in social shopping through popular social media channels such as Pinterest and Instagram. This means that for a typical Online and eCommerce Strategy job, strong strategic and analytical skills are a must – the average (or should we say typically excellent) online strategy job involves developing a sharp eye for the data to deliver innovative solutions.
Why looking inside the bricks and mortar store also matters
As any eCommerce Director worth their salt will tell you, implementing in-store technology such as tablets or smartphones gives customers and employees the advantage. Although the focus here is on eCommerce, we’ve seen that a key KPI is driving growth, and their direct reports will support them in that.
Likewise, there are recruitment opportunities to be had in training offline sales staff on the online experience, as consumers increasingly expect this to be joined up. This is a key concern for a Head of eCommerce, as it falls to you to develop innovative offline and online marketing strategies.
All these changes in eCommerce brought about by mobile have highlighted the fundamental need for businesses to cultivate the loyalty and trust of their customers.
This means functionality, reliability and good customer service, particularly in a space consumers are looking for ways brands can accommodate their needs. Mobile devices have made trust more important for eCommerce sites because of consumers limited time, attention and busy lifestyles.
Make sure you’ve got a specialist eCommerce Executive Search Agency like us on your side to fill those eCommerce job vacancies!