Are you moving to ramp up your company’s e-commerce strategy in 2017? If so, you aren’t alone. A recent customer survey by DHL found that 57 percent of respondents plan to target e-commerce as their top sales strategy in the year ahead.  So if your business is prioritizing online transactions, you are in good company – but you also have a great deal of competition.

To set your company apart from the digital crowd, and to maximize returns on e-commerce investments, you must pay close attention to the evolving trends that are defining online sales today. From the growing importance of mobile commerce to the rising value of global sales, the factors that are influencing e-commerce are clear. You just need to recognize them, and respond forcefully.

Here is a closer look at some of the key trends that should inform your e-commerce strategy this year:

Mobile Commerce Continues to Surge & Your Business Needs to Keep Up

While the total worldwide e-commerce market is immense – about $1.9 trillion at the end of 2016, according to eMarketer – mobile commerce is rapidly becoming a larger piece of the transactional puzzle. In the United States, purchases from mobile devices are predicted to triple by 2021, according to Forrester. In the Asia Pacific region, mobile is already leading the way; in China, for example, a majority of digital consumers use mobile platforms. In the year ahead, your business should ensure that it has a robust, easy-to-use mobile platform in place. This means implementing high-resolution mobile sites with touch options, and using technology that works across all mobile device operating systems and screen sizes.

The World Is a Click Away

E-commerce has allowed businesses large and small to engage in trade around the world. In 2017, international e-commerce will continue to advance. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of our border, U.S. companies cannot afford to ignore this global potential. If you are just developing a global e-commerce strategy or looking to enhance it, you must work to truly understand international buyers and the specific needs of different markets abroad, as we have previously discussed here on the pages of DHL Expressed.

Engaging Customers Is More Critical Than Ever

If you have a retail store, you know just how important it is to have a well-trained sales staff to greet customers, help them with questions, and make them feel at home. Your online store needs to be just as welcoming and engaging. In addition to live chat and other virtual sales force options, you should make it easy for customers to post feedback, participate in promotions, and create an actual dialogue with your company. Of course, your mobile site should be just as easy to use and post to. Finally, your social media strategy should be closely integrated with your e-commerce platform.

Shipping Matters

More than ever, consumers – especially those buying from their mobile devices – are demanding speed and efficiency. Your shipping offerings should reflect this need for speed, which means that reliable express shipping options are key. In addition, to remain competitive and keep customers coming back, consider how and when a free shipping offer will make sense.

How is your e-commerce strategy changing in 2017? Let us know on Twitter @DHLUS.