Join the conversation on Facebook!
IMA is now on Facebook. We welcome anyone that is involved in e-commerce to join our Facebook Group and take part in the active community there.
Upcoming education for IMA members:
IMA will once again be participating in the educational sessions at the ASD show in August, 2014. We are excited to welcome some new speakers and new business members! All sessions will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center (session descriptions and room assignment TBA).
What's hot in e-commerce?
Top 3 ecommerce trends and changes for online sellers
For small to mid-sized ecommerce site owners, this should be another year of growth. Along with growth, comes change – are you prepared for the biggest changes that can affect online sellers? Here are our top 3 trends and changes to pay attention to this year:
1 - Mobile
While the number of visitors using mobile devices is increasing steadily every year, the number of mobile friendly web sites, particularly for smaller businesses, has not been growing at the same rate. Many smaller ecommerce web sites have not updated their sites to be mobile friendly and this year they may find they are losing out on a significant number of visitors – and corresponding sales.
If your ecommerce platform is not mobile friendly, it may be time to upgrade or move from your outdated shopping cart. While changing platforms is never easy, the financial costs may easily be made up by increased sales on a new, mobile friendly platform.
While you’re checking out mobile optimized platforms, be sure to check to see which platforms are ‘responsive’. Responsive sites adapt to the layout of the viewing environment across a wide range of devices so that you don’t have to design for each browser or device.
2 - Sales Tax
Currently, when a customer makes an online purchase – and the seller doesn’t have a physical presence in the buyer’s state - no sales tax is collected by the seller. The buyer is supposed to pay all sales tax on items purchased online themselves.
It is estimated that state and local governments are not getting their share of over $11 billion annually in lost sales tax revenue from online sales. In addition, brick and mortar stores have argued that online sellers have a financial advantage over local businesses.
In response, in 2013 the Marketplace Fairness Act was passed in the Senate. While it has still not become a law, ecommerce sellers would be wise to keep their eyes and ears open as some variation of the Marketplace Fairness Act will eventually most likely be passed and implemented.
3 - SEO
Search engine optimization is something that is in constant flux, but this year will bring even more changes for ecommerce businesses.
The search engines – and Google in particular – are really making changes that affect those that have been building (or buying) shady links and providing poor content.
Ecommerce sellers that have been busy writing quality in-depth articles for their customers on their own web sites will be rewarded by the search engines for continuing to provide quality content. Those web sites that continue to create (or buy) inbound links will see little to no benefit – and in fact may be further hurt by these efforts.
Still good for ecommerce SEO: videos and social media efforts (particularly for those on Google’s own Google+) and carefully optimized product pages, which includes original content for each product. If you’ve been practicing ‘white hat SEO’ you should be in good shape but pay attention to the changes that seem to come daily in SEO.