It’s crystal ball time again, the time of year when we like to get on our soapbox and become the modern day Nostradamus.
2010 has been a really interesting year forecommerce. The economic picture is still not rosy and web managers have been under increasing pressure to halt the decline in traffic.
For years the online channel had been experiencing meteoric growth and web marketers could do no wrong – build and they will come. However, as the economy beat a hasty retreat, consumers became more conservative and looked to the web to research ways to save money. Voucher code sites blossomed. The number of searches declined and more people used long tail search terms to find what they wanted. In the email industry, open and click rates suffered. Blanket emails, once the preserve of the majority of retailers, suddenly stopped returning a profit. The UK affiliate space became cluttered with discount websites.
The net result has been the need for digital marketers to be savvier, using Internet technology to increase personalisation and segment offers. It’s common sense but the margins are now so much tighter that it can’t be ignored. As the Board increases its scrutiny of the numbers, web managers are under more pressure than ever to deliver. The industry is maturing and a more commercial model is emerging; about time too.
As a result, there is an increased demand from employers for commercial skills like business analysis and financial planning. Web managers must be multi-disciplined, understanding digital marketing whilst knowing how to manage the numbers. Web analytics and website optimisation is more important than ever and investment in these areas is, thankfully, on the rise.
What remains to be seen is how far web teams will go with the unglamorous side of ecommerce. We’re predicting that site optimisation, investment in mobile platforms (including tablet devices) and better integration of social media with customer service will be key themes for 2011.
Our Webcredible article takes a look at why these trends are likely to be important in 2011.
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Photo credit: danielbroche via Flickr/Creative Commons