E-commerce should be social

Most industry research points in one direction - online commerce is booming. At Episerver, we follow these trends closely and conducted our own study with Epinion to look in-depth at the Danish market.

The results show that more than a third of the population a third of Danes state that they would spend more online in 2012 than they did in 2011. (36% of Danes who shop online expect to shop more online over the next year while 3% expect to do less). It is estimated that the total turnover of e-commerce will reach over 60 million Danish Kronor in the coming year. But despite the positive outlook, many online businesses are not geared to meeting customer expectations, potentially missing results they might achieve. According to several experts, one of the main challenges is building bridges between social media and online businesses, if you do not want to lose customers to competitors. The study also gives an indication of other focus areas that organizations need to address.

Know your audience

The main question is whether the many Danish online shops are geared for the big boom that could await them? Knowing the audience, focusing on the customer and meeting their expectations are crucial, as some of the highlights from the report shows:

  • 36% of Danes who shop online, expect to shop more online over the next year. 3% expect to do less.
  • Online purchases are often entertainment related (theater tickets, games, books, music, toys, etc..). Second in line are travel, IT equipment and electronics (the answer of 57%, 47% and 47%). However, it varies greatly with sex and age.
  • Women buy much more clothing and footwear (46%, compared to 22% for men). Men buy far more IT equipment and electronics (59% compared to 37% for women).
  • The Danes are cautious when shopping online and 84% staying mostly on Danish websites. 24% agree or strongly agree that they often use social media, blogs, communities, chats, etc. as research before buying something on the Internet
  • There is strong reaction to a bad experience. 46% have had to drop a purchase because it was difficult to get to the checkout. 55% have had to drop a purchase because it was difficult to navigate around the site.

Our friends and network influences online sales

A shop is no longer just a shelf where you can show what you have. As a shop you must create a link between the user's social life and the products you offer. It is extremely important to create personalized communication.  As a shop owner, the better you knows your customer needs, the more likely you can outperform your competitors.

Jens Petersen, Commercial Web Editor at Tryg og ekspert i nethandel (an industry organization in Denmark) stated it this way:

"Consumers' habits are very much influenced by communities. We act as our friends do, and this applies also to online habits. As visitors shop online, they can engage communities through social elements and integration with social media. It is about creating a user-to-user dialogue, and in that respect it lags many Danish webshops afterwards. Next generation shopping sites need to create a deeper and more authentic experience and a clear relationship between the company's online presence and business in the physical world, while they support the users' desire for communities across online and offline experiences. "

Personalizing the online experience

Interflora is one of the companies which invests to expand its e-commerce platform with, among other things, personalized cards and personalized push-communication to create a stronger sense of cohesion with its customers.They are building their new online presence on Episerver. In a recent article on Markedsføring (in Danish) , Jan Oppermann, Marketing Director at Interflora, explains how they get closer and engage further with their customer and how they plan to go from "one size fits all to personalizing the experience for each individual customer.