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Top 5 Ecommerce Trends 2015 - Curagami

Published on Nov 06, 2015

After Curagami's annual Black Friday online retail study ecommerce 2015 trends such as free returns and ship to store are clear. This Haiku Deck explores trending online retailing tactics, strategy and pressures merchants will face in 2015.



Top 5 Ecommerce Trends for 2015
Deck created by Team Curagami.

Contact Marty Smith



5 Ecom Trends 2015

  • Free Shipping & Returns.
  • Buy Online / Ship To Store & Same Day.
  • Responsive IA & DIY.
  • Daily Deals.
  • Loyalty & Engagement = Content.
After looking HARD at over 20 leading ecommerce merchants just prior to Black Friday we see emerging ecommerce trends for 2015.

See our Holiday Ecommerce Report Card Here:

Free Out & Back

Free Shipping & Returns Dominates.
Free Shipping
You can thank Amazon for making Free Shipping a MUST HAVE thing for ecommerce. Amazon went one better too by combining their free shipping with Prime, their loyalty program.

We Saw 8 of the top 21 online retailers offering free returns following Zappos lead. The economics of free returns in most business verticals mean we expect to see more online retailers offering free returns in 2015.

When you put the pencil to the costs we are betting free returns = anywhere between a 10% and 20% order bump without a huge increase in returns (we bet 2% or less). Expect Free Returns to be common by Holiday 2015.
Photo by Enokson

Ship to Store

Buy Online & Ship To Store = Common
Our study showed buy online ship to store ubiquitous among the top 21 online retailers. If a website has bricks and mortar expect to be able to buy online & ship to the store.

Same Day

Order & Receive Same Day
Amazon has been working on same day delivery and we expect they will have it worked out by Holiday 2015 on a handful of their most popular items.

Amazon's spreading Distribution Centers and their mastery of data means order today & receive today will become a reality by Holiday 2015 FOR SOME PRODUCTS.

Same Day order / ship / receive means any competition with Amazon on those items for other sites will be impossible.


Design & Information Architecture
Responsive Information Architecture

Most online retailers create websites agnostic to receiving device. 2015 will see a handful of online retailers really GET what Mobile First means = change in the nature of content.

Changes include:
* More snippets.
* More gamification.
* Flat Design.
* Limited Colors.
* Better Type.
* Fewer Options.

That last bullet followers research we did as a Director of Ecommerce where we found 90% of traffic went to 10% of our navigation. Reducing down to "mobile friendly" ways of creating an online ecosystem will dominate 2015.
Photo by qthomasbower

Daily Deals

Daily Deals = Common
We saw major retailers such as REI.com invade the Woot.com "Daily Deal" turf this year and predict more online retailers will use "Daily Deals" next year.

The web's time is always NOW. That's why when Macy's asks customers to "preview" Black Friday Savings they are merchandising against type. The web isn't a place to "preview", the Internet is where we see & buy.

Daily Deals creates an magical timeline = act now or lose out. The web loves deadlines and deals so expect daily deals to be common in 2015.
Photo by Groupon


Marketing Becomes Loyalty Focused
When I was an Ecommerce Director we captured 14,000 unique visitors a day to sell stuff to 500. Google has made that kind of waterfall marketing dangerous.

The new Google wants engagement, time on site, pages viewed and other site heuristic measures to improve. Credit Card based loyalty programs are already common. We expect 2015 will bring more inclusive loyalty programs that also value social support such as:

* Links & Likes.
* Reviews.
* Shares.
* Creation of profiles.
* Brand Ambassadors.
Photo by roland

Move To Loyalty

  • Points & Badges.
  • Games & Gamification.
  • User Generated Content.
  • Content & Social Media.
  • Curation > Creation.
The move to loyalty implies using the web's ability to make shopping and marketing a game. Sites who encourage and reward social shares, links and likes will get more of them winning more traffic and money.

Loyalty and gamification aren't easy or something to be undertaken lightly. We suggest a phased approach:

* Create an Ambassador Program.
* As Ambassadors for help.
* Provide social rewards (badges and leaderboards).
* Use content created by customers with permission and attribution.

That last bullet plays into the changing roles we see for web marketing teams. Where once teams TALK TO their customers we see LISTENING and conversations as the secrets to success in a social / mobile / connected web.
Photo by rocket ship


New Metrics Identify 1%ers
The 1:9:9:0 Rule means:

1% visitors will Contribute.
9% visitors will Support.
90% visitors READ.

This rule is fundamental and true for most websites. 2015 will see efforts to engage beyond the 1%ers, but the rule means 10% of your traffic become shepherds for the rest.

The 1:9:90 Rule means most merchants market by proxy or "friends of friends". Your communication must be exciting enough to spread via social media or don't bother.

Finding your Ambassadors, the 10% willing to contribute and support, has never been more important to successful ecommerce.
Photo by Choconancy1


Leading Ecom Will Begin To Gamify
Games are social and viral. Credit Card based loyalty excludes many visitors. We see games and contests as a HUGE trend in 2015. Web merchants who think like video game creators will win hearts, minds and loyalty.

See our Why Time Is Money Online post on G+ for more:

Also see our Haiku Deck on how to Gamify Content Marketing:


User Generated Content = CSF
Web marketing teams will need to LISTEN better in 2015. If you aren't following 50% or more of your followers you are sending the wrong message (and don't get social marketing).

Where once it was important to create every aspect of an ecommerce site's presentation & marketing 2015 will see the rise of NOWIST thinking.

See our Think Like An Internet Marketing Pro Haiku Deck for more:
Photo by latddotcom

Content & SMM

Social Shopping Becomes Reality
Online retailers will find 2015 will emphasize VOICE and TONE. Copying what a manufacturer says about their products won't work in 2015. ECOM sites will need unique content supported by social media shares, reviews and an increasing amount of User Generated Content (UGC) to win hearts, minds and loyalty in 2015.

2015 will the the year online retailers must tell and curate great stories.

See my interview with Paper.li:
Why New Ecommerce Must Tell Stories



Roles Move To Curators vs. Creators
Perhaps the hardest shift for online retailers is learning to curate content from customers and Brand Ambassadors.

Type A retailers LIKE to create. Creation is good, but you must LISTEN and leave room for THEIR (customer and Ambassador) content too in 2015.
Photo by Aivar Ruukel


  • Showrooming = bricks & clicks.
  • Mobile / Social Web.
  • Conversations & Responsiveness.
  • Rise of the Web.
  • Decline of bricks & mortar.
2015 Pressures
Brick and Mortar retailers will face continued pressure to move resources to their websites. As websites move from 10% to 50% of sales expect to see fewer stores and better online merchandising.

The most innovative retailers will find ways to combine the tactile "Treasure Hunt" aspect of brick and mortar retailing with the "get what you want your way" Do-It-Yourself nature of the web.

We see DIY as a HUGE opportunity. Allowing customers to modify and play with your products Zazzle like will be a BIG WIN for some retailers.

Listing to customer online metrics and creating feedback loops so shoppers KNOW what is changing and why will also be an emerging trend in 2015.

We also see cause marketing as an important pressure (not listed). Read the Cone Study (http://www.ConeComm.com ) on how many people care about what retailers do with their money and think about things that win on the social / mobile / connected web and cause marketing will be important in 2015.
Photo by eschipul

Tools for Ecommerce Merchants

Curagami Contact



Martin W. Smith

Curagami Founder & CEO
Martin Smith



Martin W Smith
Photo by Gavin Lynn