With Christmas on our doorstep, and festive shopping surge gathering momentum, it might be easy for businesses to start living in the present(s) instead of preparing for the future – but it’s not savvy. Smart online retailers will also be spending their spare moments looking ahead to the New Year, and getting a head start on the trends that could make or break 2012 for them. And the big one, we can tell you, is mobile.

Not having mobile may mean not being in business – that’s how much we predict its stratospheric rise in 2012. It’s not just about optimising your existing website for smartphone and other devices either – there’s much more to consider. Alongside social commerce, HTML5 and user rating and reviews, it’s time to get your 2012 strategy in place.

  1. Crowd pricing. Volume discounts, or discounting a product when a certain number of people have purchased it, is already popular but will boom next year by fully utilising the share potential of social media.
  2. The advent of HTML 5 promises to make it easier to ensure all your customers, whatever their device, can view your site.
  3. Video kills the image star. 2012 will be the year of video commerce. Instead of viewing a static image, customers will watch a model show off a blouse, or make espresso with an espresso machine, or even be entertained by a video containing people using all the products available – and click on them to transfer them to their shopping basket.
  4. Searchdon’t navigate. The search facility will need to be top-notch – people simply don’t navigate like they used to. People will expect to be taken where they need to be quickly and easily.
  5. Let people talk. Optimise your reviews and ratings for mobile. User-generated recommendations are nothing new, but they are increasing in popularity and this will only continue in 2012.
  6. Don’t app it. Again, we’re talking HTML5 – giving you the opportunity to operate from a single, catch-all platform without worrying about whether your apps can operate on different devices. Mobile sites are no longer add-ons – they need to be as dynamic as your website – so don’t waste the opportunity.
  7. Security. You need to make sure that you’re up to date on your security issues. Cloud platforms, the increase in apps, legitimate sites like Facebook – they present both opportunities and threats for SME online activity. Be prepared – and invest wisely in securing your activity.

Think we’ve missed another big trend for 2012? Let us know. And we’d love to hear what you’re doing to prepare for 2012, so drop us a line with your thoughts.