Major trends in the e-commerce platform are actively shaping the way the entire world makes their purchases. These trends are drastically influential to the worldwide shopping experience. So which online platform is here for the long run? Firstly, we can analyze the major differences between e-commerce in the United States and the e-commerce platform in Asia, to discover what is the most successful way to utilize these trends. Then, we will analyze the solution the SeeBiz Platform has to offer to handle the growth in the industry.
The Evolution of the E-Commerce Platform
The shift in e-commerce trends is evident from the leading numbers of consumers making purchases. E-commerce is constantly reshaping due to these progressions. Mobile, social, and logistical advancements between buyers and sellers are contributing to these changes on a global scale. Businesses are connecting with businesses in a much different way. Businesses are engaging with consumers like never before as well. These three innovative e-commerce trends are also in practice by business leaders in regards to expanding operations and sales.
How Asia Uses E-Commerce to Outsell the World
Balancing innovations creates the harmony and data necessary to harness progress in the e-commerce market. This progress is happening every day on a global scale. As a result, China leads the world with 55.8% of e-commerce sales while the United States trails with just 17.0%.
Asia is dominating the e-commerce of the world. Therefore, North America is trailing significantly behind. China’s e-commerce market is staggering in comparison. The digital market in China is totaled at $1.13 trillion and is expected to keep rising. The e-commerce market in China is larger than both western continents put together. The total retail market size, combined with the e-commerce shares of China is where this data comes from. The biggest comparison to make in e-commerce would be between the two major leaders in the industry; Amazon (in North America) and Alibaba (in China). City growth and population size are the major influencers of these differences between the continents.
City Growth Causes Retail Growth
Factors contributing to the differences of these companies are; increased modernization, emerging middle and affluent classes, and finally the exponential increases in production and consumption. Increased demand increases production. It’s a cycle that will continue to move forward as the population around the world increases. There are no signs of stopping this cycle either. This is a result of the number of online shoppers from one year compared to another year.
The government’s ranking system for the cities in China is in tiers. There are 160 cities with populations over 1 million. Tier 1 represents the cities with the most development. These cities are on the cutting edge of online and mobile commerce. The gross domestic product of each type of city is a significant amount. The reason for this is because the online shopper base is simply enormous. Online service use is different in each city. The cities with the most population are not just using, but actually shopping online and making purchases.
The growth channels for e-commerce are expanding at a massive rate too. Consumers in lower tier cities are spending more money just the same as in larger cities. This is important because China outspends the entire world. These spending habits split the cities into two overarching tiers, a higher tier and a lower tier. Two other tiers are the online shopper growth compared to online shopper base. E-commerce adoption is nearly complete in higher tier cities. Understanding customer behavior is necessary to increase the average order value and we can do this through the use of data. Online shopping has seen a very steep increase across every region. Percentages of purchases from vendors outside of China or vendors outside of North America are rising.
E-Commerce Growth In China
How can we tap into the Chinese market? Scarce product ranges tend to be more beneficial as opposed to price point. The shape of e-commerce growth in China gives us a great deal of information about how e-commerce will start to be shaped in the rest of the world. And it is being shaped by 3 main trends; mobile, social, and logistics. Each trend is advancing at its own rate. What can we learn from these trends to capitalize and better prepare for the future?
For lower tier cities the strategy is combining entertainment with e-commerce. This is done primarily through apps on mobile devices. This strategy has shown a huge amount of success in terms of money spent. Oversimplification is a danger when comparing China to the rest of the world. Also timing. Timing is crucial when it comes to innovation. To avoid these extremes there has to be an understanding. The asian market is very different from western civilizations. The asian market skipped over a few technological advancements that the west is still very much using. These technological advancements are; personal computers, traditional online retail, and postal services. Fast- forwarding past these technologies has given the Chinese-consumer multiple generations of development in a short amount of time. Each of these leaps is comparable to a specific trend in e-commerce. The profitable applications can be understood by balancing this knowledge and understanding how to use it moving forward.
Mobile Commerce Growth
The first development is with mobile commerce. Mobile shopping is increasing in every country. Consumers in China buy everything from fifteen categories of products as opposed to the five from the United States. E-commerce has become the default shopping experience due to a lack of development with physical retail stores. Mobile was the first and native interaction with online shopping in China, East Asia, and the Asia Pacific. Lack of infrastructure allowed Asia to take a mobile-first approach to the internet as a whole.
Consequently, entertainment, e-commerce, and communication have merged. Browsability, discoverability, and payments are all available on one device. By 2021 the prediction is that 85% of online shopping in China will be done on mobile devices, as compared to the 53.9% in the United States. The United States is not a mobile first economy and likely won’t be until at least another generation down the road.
The Online Shopping Experience
E-commerce businesses now have to prepare for this dual reality. Making the online shopping experience as seamless as possible and targeting traditional buyers through full-screen experiences too. We can learn a valuable lesson from this point; marketplaces. 49% of Product searches begin on Amazon, while 36% begin on a search engine (mainly Google). Where do you begin your product search? If someone is searching for a product we have to understand what their motivation is pointed towards. Above all, the most important thing is the customer experience.
Alibaba is a marketplace, but Amazon is a competitor too. Their mobile shopping experience is the paradigm of usability. The transition from a marketplace to e-commerce store makes it necessary to have visual merchandising, mobile-friendly product pages, and simple navigation. The largest challenge for mobile shopping is the payment part of the experience. Near-one-click options for payments are common among the most popular e-commerce stores. The goal is to make purchasing easier by monitoring previous habits and eliminating unused methods. Two-factor authentication (or two clicks) is all a shopper should encounter when it comes to completing a purchase.
Social Networking Makes Global Connections Happen
Global connections are happening more frequently with social networking and apps. The most popular and most actively used platforms are evident from the data. WeChat is the foundation for communication in Asia. WeChat followed an inverse path of Alibaba. It was first designed as a b2b platform and then became an entertainment hub and a b2c marketplace. China’s consumers today spend on average at least 30 minutes a day on Alibaba’s Taobao. That is nearly three times longer than the average United States consumer spends on Amazon. United States consumers have a high purchase intent when it comes to Amazon.
Conversely, Chinese consumers see Alibaba as a virtual mall of sorts. They come to be entertained and then shop last. Alibaba provides wholesalers and retailers a direct way to communicate and connect with their shoppers through online communities, games, news, talk shows, and celebrity events. Shopping has evolved in this way to be a past-time or hobby. In contrast to, simply a means to an end. This path has also emerged within social media.
Consumers spend 66 minutes a day on average on WeChat. Whereas consumers spend 55 minutes a day on Facebook. WeChat is such a prominent marker for e-commerce, because of its popularity in Asia with consumers and the apps mobile spending habits.
Payment Platforms for E-Commerce
The leading payment mobile platforms with users worldwide are; WeChat Pay at 600million users, AliPay 400 million users, Paypal at 210 million, Apple Pay 87 million, Samsung Pay at 34 million, Amazon Pay at 33 million, Chase Pay at 28 million, and Android Pay at 24 million. Half of all of Chinese consumers use social media to research products and find recommendations. WeChat’s top user activity is e-commerce related. Monetary transactions are the most prolific action on the platform. This says a lot about consumers spending habits.
How the United States Fits Into the E-Commerce Marketplace
In western nations it is pretty much the opposite experience. Social media is second to search for advertising dollars. Native social commerce has yet to emerge as a leading mainstream buying option. So why does this huge difference exist between e-commerce in Asia and e-commerce in the western nations? The answer to this question is a bit simpler than you would venture to think.
Chinese retailers are constantly innovating, because of the crushing competition in the industry. Brands are experimenting all the time with shifting trends, demands, and conditions at far faster speeds. There are also click-to-buy product placements existing at every step of the way. Product discovery exists mainly in the online marketplaces or social media platforms. With this in mind, social commerce is truly a native experience as evident by the nearly universal penetration of WeChat. Every purchase is made through a messaging app or marketplace.
To help you better understand this all encompassing experience; it would be like Facebook, Instagram, Uber, Google Maps, Amazon, YouTube and more living together inside a single app. The concept is mind-boggling and almost unreal. Except it’s happening quite successfully in Asia.
Social Media Integration Won’t Work
Native social commerce won’t work in our western ecosystem. Just look at these examples: Twitter shutdown it’s buy button in 2017 amid vociferous scrutiny. YouTube eliminated non-skippable ads and doesn’t offer in-video buying. Facebook’s buy button has been taken down and put back up many times over. Most Facebook shops send users onsite. Pinterest’s buyable pins option is not as revolutionary as it makes us believe. Their profits mainly come from advertising. Shopping on Instagram has the potential to achieve this idea. It still has a long way to go though. The shopping experience includes multiple steps and still takes you out of the platform to complete the purchase.
With this in mind, the more brands force native commerce, the more rejection they will receive. Why is this such a difficult concept to push in the western ecosystem? Well, there is no doubt that Chinese adoption of social commerce is leading the way for other countries as they continue to develop. Sophisticated e-commerce markets naturally will develop in this way. Converting users into buyers is something that must be taken seriously by businesses. Despite the negative reception for this change, there is some promise.
E-commerce brands that leverage social media through highly targeted advertising will activate new users and engage with customers in new markets. Online retailers should certainly look to the future and prepare their products to be displayed on social media rather than centralizing them on their website. This flexibility will provide the most value in the long run. A diverse set of online channels must be considered when deploying products. Mastering this diversity is the key to success on every platform. Companies should not ignore innovations. Instead, they should test out these native buying options as they become available.
Logistics In E-Commerce
Logistics is the last trend we’ll take a look at here. Shipping and fulfillment all happen offline. Logistics can be seen a lot like makeup for customers. If we notice logistics, that means something has gone wrong. For businesses, this is the most time consuming and painful part of the process. So how do logistics in Asia differ from the West?
Logistics in Asia point towards the future. Rapid urbanization and China skipping over the technology of the postal service are two huge factors here. In the 1950’s, 13% of China’s population lived in cities. Even in 2010 the majority of China was not urbanized. Today, China has 156 cities with a population of at least 1 million in each. 25 of the world’s largest cities are in China now. This includes 6 megacities with at least 10 million people each city. That’s a lot of people! China’s urbanization happened very suddenly and on purpose. This was part of an effort to fuel economic growth.
China’s Logistics Down To A Science
Accelerating these internal markets means accelerating consumerism. Not just better ways to purchase goods online, but better ways to receive those goods offline. China’s logistics strategies far outweigh the rest of the world and for good reason. This comes from a deliberate strategy by the Chinese government to invest in the Chinese Express Delivery System. China’s delivery market isn’t dominated by one or two companies like the US (FedEx, UPS) it is in fact crowded with seven plus main players on the mainland. One of these is state owned and the rest are privately owned delivery services.
Furthermore, China has mastered within an hour delivery. Unlike the United States where we’re still trying to get same day delivery right. WeChat is a model of simplicity and speed. You can find a product, order an item, pay natively, and it will be delivered in an hour. Returns also happen just as instantaneous. No packaging, no boxing, no shipping labels, just delivered to your house or apartment on time. To the united states this sounds like a movie that couldn’t possibly exist right now. But it’s happening!
Seamless Logistics Are Possible
At the same time, all over China, this amazing logistics service has been nailed down to a science. This magnificent logistical ecosystem in China is something they have learned to do at scale. No other country in the world really needs to master this though. From a business perspective, it’s a wise decision to be forward thinking when it comes to your logistics structure too.
To the west, China is without a doubt competition and a new and exciting market. In comparison, the data and demographics of China should be looked at as an insight into the future of shopping all over the world. By applying these e-commerce trends, it will essentially future-proof the way you market, sell, and deliver your products through the coming years.
The SeeBiz Platform As A Solution
In contrast to the b2b e-commerce platform illustrated above, the SeeBiz platform offers a significant amount of relief from a lot of the challenges facing businesses in the industry. In response to the competition from Asia and other countries, the SeeBiz platform was created as an answer to the growing pains of e-commerce. As e-commerce expands and changes, you can manage your products and network more efficiently. The SeeBiz platform grows as your business grows unlike the e-commerce platform.
In addition, inventory management can finally be an asset to your business with our centralized system. You can keep track of your complete product catalog and all of the correct information is in one place. This availability of correct information makes inventory control and management streamlined. You can expand as much as you need to and not have to worry about switching systems to adapt to the growth. Every department can stay connected with the most accurate data about each product.
Most importantly, the convenience of our platform doesn’t stop at inventory management. Consumer interaction, business to business is easier to manage too. You can network more efficiently and directly with the special features the SeeBiz platform offers. Even the largest companies in Asia, though they are leaps ahead of the United States, have not streamlined communication like the SeeBiz platform.
Communication Makes All The Difference
A lack of communication is the point at which all businesses seem to struggle. The right solutions for your companies specific needs are tough to pinpoint. As soon as you understand where your weak points are, you can learn how to effectively nurture them. There will continue to be a learning curve as we begin to understand how e-commerce is changing the way we shop. It’s important to have the right tools to solve these challenges as your business expands. Focusing on improving communication between partners and consumers is the most direct way to see success in this industry.
The direct messaging, instant messaging, and email features included in the SeeBiz platform are the best possible way to provide your consumers with the answers that they are looking for. Being able to answer these questions effectively shows that you are the leading expert in your field. You gain customer loyalty and trust by improving these relationships. The e-commerce platform is evolving constantly, but it will never have the simplicity of an all-in-one platform.
Overall, the advantage SeeBiz has over an e-commerce platform is that it is an all-inclusive platform. The SeeBiz platform combines all of the major emerging trends that we analyzed into one system. You can successfully handle every aspect of your business with ease.
Having this strategy in place, in the wake of evolving trends, allows you to focus on making quality products and developing stronger relationships. By being prepared for the future, you lose the missteps in communication and production. The latest data and demographics are located all in one place. This convenience eliminates obstacles that resurface as e-commerce trends evolve. SeeBiz is the long-term solution for businesses seeking to harness the change in the e-commerce platform.