This is the time of year when people love to publish lists. They mostly fall into two groups, the ’10 best XYZ of 2013′, or the ‘Top 10 ABC predictions for 2014’. I prefer the latter type and have just read Business2Community’s Top Ten 2014 eCommerce Trends. It’s a good list, and item no. 7 really got me thinking:
Buying decisions will be primarily guided by community
As more online shoppers buy products they have never seen in person from retailers they have never used before, they will increasingly rely on input from their digital peers to make their decisions. In 2014, expect to see traditional ratings and reviews supplemented with features that connect shoppers to community support networks.
Community is without doubt playing an increasingly important part in ecommerce, but the larger point here is the one that’s interesting to me. More shoppers are buying products they have never seen from retailers they have never used before. These shoppers will need to be given reasons to trust and believe in their online retailers. Good back story, authenticity, social proof, provenance, a friendly returns policy and good design are minimum requirements these days and tomorrows winners will find new and better ways to build trust. Bringing an element of true human interaction and clever use of data from social sites are two areas where we’re seeing retailers do interesting things.