Being an online retailer presents many challenges, but it’s also an exciting and highly rewarding industry that requires creative thinking in order to stay competitive. Online retail is growing hugely in popularity and value, factors that have forced traditional retailers to pay attention. The nature of online retail continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate, and as such, retailers are adapting.

There have been several great boosts to the online retail world in the past decade. The explosion of social media has contributed enormously to the success of many businesses. For example, when Facebook implemented ‘Facebook Connect’, they allowed users to create an account on external websites with the click of a button then connect and share information with their entire network of friends and family. This gave online retailers a marketing opportunity beyond anything they could achieve on their own. These days it’s rare to find a site without social media sharing buttons for each product. Social media enables potential customers to talk about brands and products, find advice, and share what they’re interested in on networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social media campaigns offer a new and exciting way for online retailers to both attract potential customers and support current ones.  Popular social media channels such as Instagram and Facebook offer an enormous consumer base that can, with the right strategy, be accessed – for free. Most online retailers now offer news, promotions and post-sales customer support through social media.

The new frontier of online retail is changing the way people access the internet, particularly through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Among the many recent and notable innovations in online retail, free shipping, once rarely offered, has become a popular offering. Retailers who accept the cost of shipping and offer further incentives are rewarded with increased customer confidence and increased customer conversion rates.