The end of the year is a special, traditional time.

In Ecuador, people burn the scarecrow which represents all the negativity of the previous year. Chinese decorate their houses with lanterns and red decorations. Americans gather in Times Square to see the dropping of the new year’s ball and marketers are trying to predict business trends for 2016.

So here it is: let’s try to predict what’s going to happen in the upcoming year!

1. Mobile will dominate desktop devices

We’re living in mobile phones golden age.

We’re spending online more time than with any other media. Much of that time we’re spending in mobile devices and most of that time – in mobile applications.

mobile will dominate desktop

 

There is nothing surprising, to be honest: mobiles are small, handy, always in our bags and pockets. And although PC’s and laptops are still favorite devices to surf the web (91 percent of respondents), 80 percent of internauts like to browse the internet through their smartphones.

In 2014 39 percent of customers used mobile applications to make purchases and over half of 24-35-year-olds listed shopping as their second online activity behind social networking!

What does it mean for the e-commerce?

Not having a responsive website is a huge mistake. Imagine that your customer wants to check your website (on the mobile of course) and is not able to do so since your website does not fit the mobile screen. You will most probably lose the opportunity to turn a mobile user into your customer. That’s why it’s so important to think about mobiles when designing your website.

Another important Desktop applications need to have their mobile equivalents. See the example: my company’s, LiveChat’s mobile application for customer service was downloaded over 30.000 times in 2015. It means that over 30.000 agents were providing customer support via mobile device! Having a mobile version of the app can be an advantage you’ll have over your competition.

2. Big data usage

In short: if you want to make good business decisions, they need to be data-driven. Other words: you get a raw material and analyze it. Thanks to this you can get great marketing advantages: business insights and trends.

So how can we use big data to our advantage?

The more data we collect through various touch points such as loyalty programs, visitor browsing patterns and past purchase behavior, the more knowledge we have about our customers.

Once we know who our customers are, where they are and what they want, we’ll be able to carry out customer segmentation and offer products or services tailored to their needs.

We’ll be also able to send personalized communication, build customer trust and improve customers’ experience.

A good example of big data usage is Amazon’s personalization strategy. They gather info from wish lists, browsing histories, and purchasing history to create individualized product suggestions. Thanks to this you’d get information about best camera deals (while you love photography) and not fishing rod offers (although you have no idea how to angle).

Quite cool customer experience, isn’t it?

3. Marketing automation

In its simplest form marketing automation means automated email campaigns, in its most advanced – automated strategies helping to gain new prospects. The bottom line is that since you don’t waste your time on performing redundant tasks, you can focus on the quality of your messaging and campaigns.

How does it work?

Imagine a very common scenario for e-shops: cart abandonment. Your website visitor adds a product to the cart and leaves your website without making a payment.

Thanks to automated marketing you can send emails to this customer and remind about the product remaining in the cart. You can simply remind about the forgotten purchase, ask for the feedback (and get to know why the purchase was not completed) or even offer a discount.

 

shopping cart abandonment statistics
Source: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/05/shopping-cart-abandonment//#more-79550

The best thing about marketing automation is that it gives so many opportunities to improve your service and collect customers’ feedback. It gains new leads, maintains relationships with them, increases customer engagement and creates power users.

Looking at the list of advantages it’s hard to believe it’s not the hottest trend yet.

4. Relationship marketing

Relationship marketing is getting stronger because more and more companies start to notice that one-purchase customers are not bringing enough revenue. The reason behind that is very simple: the fact that a customer has bought from us once or twice does not mean that they will buy it once again.

The recipe for bonding customers to our brand is one: we need to build a strong, emotional connection between customers and the brand.

We can do that by creating amazing customer experience. By providing the best possible product and service. By personalized communication, staying in touch with customers and rewarding their loyalty. There are plenty ways to do that.

The most important is to remember to shift focus from sales to long-term engagement. Once our customers start to appreciate us for what we’re doing and for the values we share, they won’t be seduced by other companies!

A great example of a company knowing how to create a connection between company’s values and customers is Patagonia. Their commitment to environmental sustainability makes them a company everyone has to love! They are so genuine and consistent in their philosophy that it’s hard not to feel the admiration for their achievements. It also translates to incredibly high sales.

Let it be a good year for customers

While many entrepreneurs and marketers focus on marketing trends and technologies, we need to focus on the heart of the market: on customers.

Jeff Bezos said: “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Let’s make use of the 2016 trends to make our customers happy. Their satisfaction and their experience are market’s engine, let’s take a good care of it!

Author: Justyna Polaczyk. In love with art and LiveChat, fascinated with e-marketing. A life enthusiast driven by curiosity. She likes to spend her free time reading and roller skating.
You can find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of Chris Chabot and Nicolas Nova via Creative Commons.