Bigger, bolder imagery, widespread web video roll-out and a surge in mobile ecommerce all feature in our top ten predictions for 2017
- Full screen, bold imagery will become far more common, with additional navigation following mobile trends – hidden until rollovers
- Ecommerce sites that want to beat the competition will need high quality 360 degree product imagery or product videos. Video has been shown to increase conversions by as much as 300%
- Promotional, brand videos will become standard for the larger online players to create a wow factor that will help them build brand loyalty by creating a more emotional experience for the consumer – online video agencies are set to do very well
- Mobile shopping is set to continue its onward march – it’s essential that you have a responsive website or you will lose out to the competition. In 2016, you could just about get away with not having a mobile-friendly website. In 2017, you can’t.
- Continuing the trend for mobile-friendly sites, we expect to see more scrolling and parallax websites, with less need for customers to click to get key information
You’ll need to make sure your website works on mobiles – you could just about get away with not doing so in 2016; in 2017 you can’t
- For the more cutting edge businesses, audio and even video customer / concierge services will help satisfy the need to create a more human experience – the closer people get to a traditional retail experience, the more likely they are to buy
- Search engines will continue the shift towards listing the most updated web pages, as opposed to those with links, meaning you will reap the rewards of updating your website frequently, by adding new products or articles
- Search will continue to lose ground to influencers and social media as a driver of online sales as a result of brands upping their content game and social media efforts – building your social audience and not turning people off with spammy content is key to benefit from this
- Interactive services will explode – Amazon is really ahead here with profiles for mobile, Fire and Kindle that allow customers to store information and play audio / video across multiple platforms. Conversely, privacy will become more of an issue as consumers become more aware of unsolicited profiling – advertisers need to find a way to seem less “creepy”
- In an attempt to regain control of the news narrative, we expect to see major social networks and the mainstream media increase censorship – but that crucially this will backfire and make them lose more market share. Similarly, while 2016 was a year when everyone seemingly got involved in politics, it is wise for businesses to tread a careful line as those that are considered too partisan by either side could lose large audiences forever.
Avoid political messaging in a highly polarised environment – or risk being written off by a significant customer base, possibly forever
To summarise, the sites that will do well in 2017 online are those that seek to inspire their customers and make the effort to do so with great content. You’ll need to make your website mobile-friendly or risk losing business.
Those that use negativity or are too political, as we saw in 2016, are taking a big risk in alienating a large section of the population who will be motivated to punish them in return. This is particularly true for brands targeting older generations but even Sanders-supporting millennials are not going to take kindly to negative emotional messaging. In fact, this target audience needs hope more than anyone!
Here’s to a happy, prosperous and peaceful 2017!