The latest consumer electronics ecommerce trends
The consumer electronics market is one of the fastest-moving segments in ecommerce. The brands’ recognition as technologically-advanced trendsetters pushes them to find new ways to engage with customers in order to position themselves, and in recent years that thirst for more materialized itself through ecommerce..
Consumer electronics companies such as Apple and Samsung have also experienced an important growth in their online stores, from being seen as threats by retailers, to being the bread and butter of the industry and consumers alike.
This direct-to-consumer focus also turned into a trend adopted by many other industries. Just this year, Nike cut about half of its wholesale accounts in North America in order to focus on its own website. Below, we’ll focus on three strategies that are gaining traction in the consumer electronics space, and could soon find their way to other industries.
1. More to sell than products
Despite the aforementioned distancing from wholesalers and retailers, most global consumer electronics companies still haven’t reached a reality where most of their sales come from their own websites. This is due to several obstacles, chief amongst them being the need to play nice with phone carriers — which, by the way, might be coming to an end. Therefore, companies have to set up their online stores as a tool that can help with more than just direct sales.
This natural evolution has brought on a trend where companies see their websites as a way to not only highlight their products, but also to establish more clearly the brand’s identity and the way potential buyers perceive it. Consequently, consumers might not always buy through their website, but every time they visit they will be closer to a purchase. Business leaders from Dell and HP also agree.
According to Thiago Garcia, VP of Customer Experience for North America at VTEX, a leading company in the tech industry has identified that a customer can have up to 30 points of interaction with a product before deciding on a purchase. As a brand, if you’re able to be the go-to source of information for any customer — and by extension, control most of those interactions —, wouldn’t you?
“Today, a company is able to predict where a consumer is in their journey and what information they need to have in order to get them closer to a sale, so your website can help a sale wherever it occurs, and companies need to recognize that and try to better understand the path of purchase.”Thiago Garcia, VP of Customer Experience for North America at VTEX
2. Fewer specs
Speaking of brand positioning, the way consumer electronics companies talk about their products has also evolved in the last couple of years. Most manufacturers went from having a spec sheet as the basis of their product page to having it as a hidden page that you need to be actively looking for if you want to get to it. This serves a very important purpose for most brands.
“We’re seeing a shift away from the tech talk in how you sell. It used to be ‘This has the best RAM, the latest processor, etc.’, but consumers started asking ‘What’s in it for me? Why is this good?’, so sales pitches have become more focused on use cases or experiences.”Thiago Garcia, VP of Customer Experience for North America at VTEX
Garcia also pointed out that manufacturers are product people who tend to be focused on the product’s capabilities and not in the way the product interacts with the customer, which might be much more interesting for them. “This change is how a manufacturer becomes a brand,” says Garcia.
3. The (upcoming) hardware subscription services
For years, carriers have offered automatic renewals for phones in most markets around the world. This ties consumers to carrier plans and partially limits the phone models they have access to. But what if consumer electronics companies offered the same alternatives directly to consumers?
This is already a reality for some markets. In México, iShop, a VTEX customer, established a partnership with Citibank in order to offer “iPhone for Life” and “iPad for Life” for cardholding customers. Apple was reportedly been looking into offering the same service in the United States.
Consumers in many markets are already used to subscription-like services from websites such as Amazon, which offer a 10% discount when pre-ordering the same product for monthly or weekly deliveries instead of a one-time purchase.
We already know that there are customers who are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest, and subscription services might just be the next way to guarantee they’re always the first in line for future launches.
Setting the pace for the future
The consumer electronics space is a great case study for customer acquisition, customer retention and brand loyalty. This all translates into innovative ecommerce strategies that set the pace for the rest of the industries which adopt and adapt what best serves their goals.
So, what’s next in store? Brands are also looking into ways to offer better shopping experiences, which might turn into a new battleground for customers. In the meantime, when it comes to ecommerce strategies, it pays to have your ear close to the consumer electronics’ ground. And VTEX, with companies including Samsung, Sony and Motorola in its client portfolio, knows a thing or two about tech innovation and consumer experiences — reach out if you want to collaborate.