MyVoucherCodes founder Mark Pearson shares his 2015 predictions for online retailers

Improving Returns Policies

A flexible, convenient returns policy is essential for building customer loyalty, both on and off-line. When it comes to buying more expensive or complicated items, a fair returns policy will give customers the reassurance that if they change their mind they can easily return them. 

High Tech High Street

The hoards of new ecommerce apps and tech savvy business models don’t necessarily sound the death knell for the high street. Today, online sales only account for around 12% of the retail market according to data from the Office for National Statistics

In fact, the new technology supports both retailers and shoppers’ evolving needs and expectations when it comes to price and customer experience. New products such as mobile payment services and iBeacons can facilitate high street shops in providing faster, cheaper and more convenient service that is becoming the norm for online shoppers. 

High street must up their game to keep up because:

  • Almost half of shoppers admit to showrooming: checking out a product in store, but using their mobile to compare prices and buy online. To address this, retailers are adopting universal pricing strategies across all platforms. 
  • Smaller retailers, independent shops and pop ups can use apps like Yaap in Spain and micro-location technology like PayPal and Apple’s beacon tools, that help independent retailers attract customers in spite of their smaller online presence.

The ‘Airbnb Effect’

New, customer-centric digital and mobile platforms are ousting incumbent models. When innovative companies offer a more accessible service, customers will flock to it in droves, as we’ve seen with Airbnb changing the travel accommodation industry.

Airbnb cleverly positioned itself as a conduit between online and real worlds, providing a simple, easy-to-use platform and apps. Customers want simplicity and intuitive functionality, and ecommerce is embracing these principles.

Content is Key

Websites will re-think their entire content strategy in the year ahead. This year we will see companies playing the long game with content, both in form and keyword targeting. The way emerging search engine platforms understand language has developed to a point where links to smarter related searches are coming from a better understanding of the subtleties of the language we use.

This will make it harder to rank for specific phrases or keywords. As a result, companies will be forced into shelling out more for pay-per-click campaigns as paid search becomes ever more competitive and unsustainable.

Stuffy, keyword-laden ‘About Us’ pages we’re used to seeing on websites will start to evolve, or disappear completely. Marketers will create long-form content that focuses on broad head keywords and highly relevant long tail keywords as well as informative, educational and creative content. Marketers will increasingly write for people rather than search engines.

Smarter Marketing

Marketers will continue to push boundaries to target users according to interests, demographic and even time of day preferences. Accurate targeting relies on identifying and acting upon serving up the most relevant ads and customised deals using the latest technology. Expect marketers to recognise user habits and potential pre-purchase destinations, and gain a clearer understanding of their customers’ needs.

Targeting technology will give retailers the second chance at the ones that got away. Online shoppers who bounced before or during the checkout process can be targeted, re-engaged and converted.

More small businesses will use AdWords to target these users and organisations researching user behaviour will develop smarter ways to reach them at the exact right time and place to present them with personalised promotions.

After searching for offers on a voucher code website or viewing a product online, consumers will visit blogs and review websites such as TrustPilot, an additional opportunity to offer up a deal for that specific product. 

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