eCommerce Rides The Digital Wave

A crowded marketplace and a soft economy have created a perfect storm that is accelerating the digital evolution. As eCommerce businesses look to reassure consumers and encourage them to spend online, they're turning to interactive features like video and consumer generated reviews to engage users and stand out from the competition.

According to Jupiter Research, nearly 80% of online shoppers now research products and services online before purchasing, utilizing interactive features like customer reviews, discussion forums, product customizers, and informational video. Studies show that shoppers are more loyal to the stores that incorporate these kinds of features, buy from them more often, and return fewer products after purchase.

E-tailers are looking to cash in on this trend by updating their web stores with new technologies and more user-friendly functionality. In fact, a recent Internet Retailer survey found that over 43% of online merchants will update their sites with video in 2009 - 40% with personalized product recommendations, 37% with customer reviews and ratings, and 35% with product configuration tools.

Online stores are also looking to utilize technology to nurture present relationships with their current customers. By taking advantage of strategies like email segmentation, viral web strategies, and brand-oriented blogs, ecommerce businesses can remarket to their customers while gaining new insight about their customer base.

Online retailers are also updating their web sites to improve the user experience and enhance performance. Nearly 50% of merchants have rolled out a new design in the past year, with the top priorities being better organized category and product pages, improved navigation, site search enhancements, and a faster checkout experience.

The Content Management System Web Cube makes it easy for companies to add these types of digital components to their eCommerce stores. The tool was developed to streamline the online shopping process and recently incorporated a variety of new eCommerce features to improve the customer experience, including product reviews, product detail videos, and enhanced SEO functionality.

One major technological benefit for businesses investing in direct eCommerce capabilities is the ability to complete credit card transactions online. Buy securing direct payment from consumers instead of relying on credit terms from retailers and other channels that may not be able to meet obligations in a downturn, eCommerce businesses provide added security and a more reliable revenue stream.

Interactive functionality adds to the eCommerce shopping experience by incorporating the personal touch of the brick and mortar experience while improving the speed and ease of shopping online. The enhanced experience created with video and other interactive features can increase sales, improve conversion rates, enhance customer relationships, and build consumer loyalty - in any economic environment.