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How ecommerce will change retailers 2013
Ecommerce showed strong growth through 2012, ending the year at more than $186 billion spent online. While the bulk of that spending was for digital content/subscriptions, apparel, consumer electronics and even furnishings are seeing more ecommerce growth. Here's what retailers can expect in 2013:
Kristina: Ecommerce saw a tremendous spike through Q4 2012, with spending estimated at $42 billion; how is Q1 2013 shaping up compared to that record-setting quarter?
Maria Haggerty, President, Dotcom Distribution: Q1 has gotten off to a very positive start. Typically, our clients experience a significant spike in new customers that shop on their website for the first time during the holidays. With the holiday season being so strong this year, our clients were able to acquire many new customers. And since their shopping experience was so positive, January has seen healthy re-orders from these new customers. When you layer continued growth from mobile and the focus on improving conversion rates, we see very positive signs for Q1 and 2013 overall.
Kristina: Are we at the turning point where shoppers will begin going online first and in-store second?
Maria: Absolutely. As we all cram more and more into our busy lives, savvy online shoppers do not want to go to the store only to find that what they are looking for is not in stock. Alternatively, many shoppers still enjoy going to the store and browsing in "real life" and then return home to purchase something that they cannot get out of their mind.
The connection of the physical and virtual presence is and will continue to be part of the online shopping experience. Some traditionally eCommerce-only sites are teaming up with popular traditional brick-and-mortar stores to create pop-up stores to accomplish this.
Kristina: Personalization and on-site search were two focuses for many retailers through 2012; do you expect those two areas to continue getting more play as retailers move forward?
Maria: As e-retailers get smarter about "who" is their customer, they will be looking to serve up items their customers are more likely to buy. Understanding that you generally only get a few seconds to make an impression, you want to make sure that you serve up something that is likely to be purchased. We are seeing more and more of our clients gather information about their customers through reviews and social media. The next step in this evolution will surely be to use that information to personalize the entire shopping experience.
More from Maria tomorrow, including the online segments that will lead ecommerce growth in 2013.
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