Ecommerce Trends 2016

E commerce Trends from Etsy, Amazon and Facebook

What are the major e commerce trends this week that Ecommerce Trends 2016focused public attention?

We’ve summed them up here and given our take – whether you want it or not. 🙂

New platform opportunity, new payment processing option, and a feature better including visually impaired people in the social network experience – what a great week!

Pattern by Etsy

On April 5th, Etsy announced the launch of Pattern, essentially a clean and simple website builder. As they write on their blog, it allows Etsy sellers to create a self-standing website complementing their Etsy listings.

The launch comes in response to company research that about 500, 000 of its 1,6 М merchants would like to have a separate website for their store, apart from the Etsy listings, but they were put off by the effort required to secure a domain, hosting, or choose a platform, and upload all content once again.

This new player on the e commerce platform scene will definitely bring some action into the industry. We listed a few pros and cons to predict possible effects.

Pros:

  • Allows you to choose a custom domain without worrying about hosting and so on.
  • It imports all product info, orders, inventory, content, etc. from the Etsy shop to the new site, saving time and effort. (It’s claimed to take just a few minutes.)
  • Keeps the two synchronized and one dashboard will show the results from both. Essentially, merchants will feel like managing one store.
  • It uses the same Direct Checkout, Promoted Listings, and Shipping Labels as the marketplace that merchants are familiar with and customers trust.
  • No developer is needed for set-up.

    Example Pattern Shop

    The Paris Print Shop on Pattern

Cons:

  • Only 5 themes available to choose from, which doesn’t make it so much different from a merchants’ Shop Home in old Etsy.
  • it’s the Etsy’s first attempt for monthly payment model. It’s $15/ month on top of the 3,5% fee + payment processing they will be charging for both. Domain registration is one-time $13.
  • It’s a way of preventing merchants from going to other platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, etc. and keeping them in the Etsy loop.
  • The merchants who already have self-standing websites don’t get integration with Etsy. They still have to manage both.
  • You have to deal with SEO for the new site.
  • Etsy’s own Direct Checkout is the only payment processing available.
  • The listings on both sites will be absolutely the same – you cannot offer anything different from what Etsy allows.

So, what’s in it for you as an e-commerce entrepreneur?

If you are on Etsy already, it gives you a new opportunity to expand your reach and get your own site quick and easy. You won’t need to code or learn new features. It might be pretty basic, but allows you to improve branding and looks better when pitching for funding or promoting at events.

However, if you are on Etsy, but have your own site, too – well, nothing changes for you. Only, if you believe it’s worth it, you can abandon your site and move to Etsy world. (We thought so too.)

If you’re not on Etsy (and don’t plan on being), you can only expect a few thousand new online shops springing up like mushrooms in all niches crafty and handmade. Although we cannot predict whether they’ll be successful or not, competition is likely to go up for some.

Example Pattern Etsy

Paper Street Press site on Pattern

Food for thought: If Pattern is designed to make eCommerce easier for craftspeople who only want to focus on creating their products and spend less time managing their store, how a stand-alone website that needs SEO and promotion is going to do that?

Amazon Global Partner Program

Amazon announced that it‘s making its Payments checkout available to outside merchants as through a Global Partner Program. This means ecommerce businesses that are not Amazon subsidiaries can get certified by Amazon and use the checkout.

It looks like a move on PayPal – time will show how successful the Program will be and if people will start abandoning PayPal when buying from smaller merchants.

The program boosts Partner perks like training, support, early access and, in some cases, even co-marketing activities with Amazon.Payments Methods

How does it work?

Ecommerce platforms, developers and other providers who help businesses sell online can participate. It’ll be free, but invite-only and limited to the US, UK, Japan, and Germany for now.

Shopify, PrestaShop, Magento, and WooCommerce have already signed up for the program so with their help, the Amazon Payment checkout option will be available to many smaller merchants and their end customers.

What’s in it for ecommerce businesses?

Pros:

  • Fast and convenient checkout – many of their customers have Amazon accounts too and their details will be pulled from there so they won’t need to type them in again and create a separate account for the small merchant’s store.
  • Amazon certification means payment security so merchants will benefit from the giant’s reputation.

Cons:

  • Amazon will be gathering their sales data: who buys what at what price, which raises questions about the benevolent nature of the program. Amazon will have so much data from competitors (in a broad sense, it sells everything) and can optimize prices and product offerings.Amazon Vs PayPal

Sure, the checkout will use all of the giant’s expertise and small ecommerce websites will get the tool and support with zero investment. However, they will have to trade sensitive sales data with the largest online retailer in the world.

We’d like to hear from you – do you believe Amazon has good intention or it’s just a tactical move to slash small merchants with one stroke? Leave us a comment!

(Sources: TechCrunch , MarketingLand , Ecommerce Times )

Facebook Accessibility

While the public is going mad over the Facebook Live release, which allows short live recordings to be posted to Facebook, another feature by the social network is not being given the proper media attention it deserves.

On April 5th, Facebook Accessibility was launched, too. It provides richer image descriptions to visually impaired people. Although many of them use screen reading software, when browsing through News Feed, they could only hear that a friend of theirs posted a picture without any other clue what it shows. This limited their experience with the platform and left them out of many updates from friends.

Now, using alternative text, Facebook will tell them: “This image may contain” plus 3 tag words describing what’s in the picture – trees, people, bicycles, etc. It’s not much and it’s pretty basic for now, but for these people, it’s a whole new world.

Facebook has promised that the feature will be available in languages other than English  over the next few weeks.

As all social platforms are going towards mostly visual content, this is a great move from Facebook to include visually impaired people in the social conversation as fully as possible.

Why is an important trend for e commerce?

While there are business benefits to being able to reach this special segment of customers with images, we’d like to refrain from commenting on it. The innovation by Facebook is socially significant in a purely humane way and we just wanted to share it with you. It’s not always about making profit 😉

 

About the author

With experience in FMCG and marketing, Dimira writes to help the brands of tomorrow succeed and believes passion is a key ingredient in any business.

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