Ecommerce Trends to Watch and Capitalize On in 2019
The year is still new, things are just getting busy and it’s the perfect moment to start planning ahead. The era of online trading has already walked through the door, and we’re not overstating things.
Of course, we still frequent regular ‘mortar and brick’ establishments and get our foods at grocery stores, shoes, and clothing at the malls, lattes and macarons at that French deli just around the corner. However, it’s getting more and more difficult to meet a person, who has not used the services of an online store at least once in his life. And liked it, which is why statistics foresee that retail e-commerce revenue will amount to $4.88 trillion by 2021. If we were to look at the bigger picture, the forecasts state that e-commerce will soon account for 15% of all specialty retail sales in the US (in China e-commerce is already 23% of all retail).
The number of e-stores is also growing and competition is getting fiercer and bloodier. E-merchants can’t afford to track trends as a hobby anymore. Trends need to be analyzed and adopted in the timely fashion because the cutting edge technologies are going to referee who will stay on the track, and who will smell the dust of the rival’s newest eco-friendly sneakers.
To keep your business afloat, you need to stay tuned to the latest trends, which often are dictated by technological progress or changes in consumer behavior. Implementing these innovations does not always translate into big spendings, but staying on your toes does mean a call to arms for your time, energy and acumen.
Today how we discover and purchase goods is a 24/7 cycle. Fueled by mobiles, which provided us with sales increase 55% this year, the whole landscape of online interaction and e-shopping is reshaping as well. A lot of new patterns are emerging, and while some of them will fade quickly, the rest will stay and will directly affect both how e-businesses are run and what people expect from them.
Already we see a merging of online and offline worlds and new symbiotic commercial ecosystem is being born… Well, before we get lost in the maze of psychology, futurology and a lot of other –rologies, we can guarantee one thing.
This year is going to be even techier, however impossible this may seem today. Let’s explore new and exciting ways of how to make your e-business lead the pack and how tech-savvy you should get to become a top dog. Ready, set, go!
A rise of ethical e-commerce
Today we see a growing consumer awareness of the environmental and ethical implications of their offline and online purchases, including real and hidden impacts. People start asking themselves and the sellers such questions as ‘Did they really need to use such a big box?’, ‘How and where is this product made?’ and ‘Is this brand socially responsible?’ Nowadays consumers, when making purchasing decisions, are more and more ruled by their value paradigms and ethics.
As a result, opponents of an excessive amount of non-utilitarian and non-ecological packaging choose the merchants who resonate with their value system, for instance, those who abhor using excessive packaging, going instead for reusable eco-friendly wrappings.
In the newsletter and ad campaign, many companies are now disclosing their environmental footprint in terms of resource consumption and waste, covering everything from the produce of the raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, and shipping.
It might be a viable idea to devote a portion of your marketing and merchandizing to an ecofriendly collection or mention your participation in some crowdfunding or another activity related to respect for the environment.
Dear chatbot, I’ve been wondering…
The e-commerce market will continue to introduce artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots, which simplify the work of sellers and also streamline for the customer the choosing and buying processes. You can use chatbots to track the interests and preferences of users, forecast their next orders and choose the most effective advertising based on the received data.
This year we will see significant progress in this area, meaning that companies will do more than simply employ chatbots, they will start creating virtual consultants with a human face and even a distinguishable character.
Actually, such giants as Pizza Hut, Whole Foods, Sephora, Spotify, Mastercard have been already testing rather human-looking chatbots, and the number of companies employing AI will continue to grow.
Consider getting a chatbot app that can recommend products, encourage cross-selling and upselling and on the whole better customer support.
Alexa and the likes are said to be the next big thing
Research shows, that voice searches will amount to 50% of all searches by 2020. Today an amazing 55% of teenagers and 41% of adults use voice search regularly. Almost 25% of people owning products like Amazon Echo, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Home have been making purchases through voice search.
Being one of many online stores in an increasingly cut-throat market, you’ll need to adapt quickly, if you want your company to stand its ground. The widespread application of mobile phones for searching for goods and making purchases forced all working in the field of e-commerce to recognize that new emerging pattern and the most astute businessmen are already making steps toward optimizing their sites.
This trend will be accepted high and low because it is consumer friendly, quick and also hands-free. You can shop while doing other tasks! Also, the presence of AI on the e-commerce landscape will be further strengthening by the growth of image searching. Searching for products by pictures from the Internet or personal photos will be gaining in the popularity department because it saves time (for clients) and helps to increase conversion (for store owners).
We recommend taking the following into consideration and putting it to practice.
- Optimize for questions, that people generally used to ask (generally starts with why, where, what, best, good etc.)
- Optimize for natural language (try adding general terms, product titles and showcase such a way that they respond to query placed in natural language and add natural language to your site content)
- Optimize for long-tail keywords
The concept that customers do not interact with the company within just a certain single channel, but use a variety of them on their journey from product searching to purchasing, is not exactly big news. However, this year will definitely see the expansion and growth of this trend. To retain all your customers, you should collect info on customer behavior across ALL channels, combining the data into a single report.
Only this approach would provide you with the means to completely understand where and how you can influence a potential client in order to bring it to the goal, a purchase or a call, and therefore systematically and effectively increase conversion.
Experts think that 70% of e-commerce will move from B2C and B2B models to templates that are focused on the individual customer experience. And it’s not slowing down, but rather moving forward.
Consider predictive targeting and retargeting across more channels, give your customers a variety of sales options, implement reviews across every channel and make use of user-generated content, for instance, use more actively photos posted to Instagram of happy customers using your products and tweets of positive interactions with customers.
According to Google Shopping search data, one-third of all shopping searches on Google happen between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Which means that some shoppers do not sleep and do not stop when the malls are closed. However, this also means that this kind of customers are probably seen every kind of ads there is. Which, in turn, means that you need to employ as many creative and non-standard tactics in your vying for Internet users’ attention.
First of all, that translates into a need for a higher quality of photos and videos. Secondly, it means that other types of ads must come into a spotlight.
Poor quality of posted photos instantly cheapens your brand, so stay away from low-quality stock photos. Use video storytelling with a touch of humor or introducing fun facts along the way. Video galleries of products, especially with a 360-degree image of a model wearing a product, are another good way of standing out from the crowd.
Speed and responsiveness
Optimization of your site is crucial now, and as users will continue to demand better UX, the requirements will only become stricter.
Read carefully the following: ‘Google statistics revealed that the number 1 frustration users had when browsing on their mobile device was slow to load time’. What can we learn here? Mobile-friendliness has long since become something so expected, that it can be called a virtual self-hygiene of any civilized website, so to speak. Optimizing the loading speed of your site means a lesser reduction in conversion rate (as it was) and staying in the lead (as it should be).
Smarter payment processing
We all know that a lot of people abandon their shopping carts without completing their purchasing. However, what not many of us realize is that 28% of cart abandonment occurs because of a long or over-complicated checkout process. Moreover, 13% of shoppers will abandon their purchases, if there’s no local payment option.
This is one of the aspects, that can help you to get ahead of your competition in 2019. Offering a smooth checkout process with an easy payment is not rocket science, but the resulting advantages can be truly fantastic.
Carefully analyze available payment processing systems and try to choose the most convenient for your target audience.
Social media will become a big player
There are hundreds of millions of social network users in the US alone. Despite this astounding number, many of them do not press the ‘Buy’ button on their social feeds. Yet. That may change in 2019.
At the moment, the main obstacle is the lack of direct association of social platforms with shopping in the minds of Internet users, which can and probably will be overcome with the new support of loading credit card information into Instagram or Snapchat accounts.
This may change forever the e-commerce world not only with a way to pay that’s extremely easy but also with the emergence of a word-of-mouth marketing fan, that starts working when buyers share their purchases on the networks.
Consider using PayPal, Amazon Pay, AliPay and Venmo, which all provide the shoppers with the opportunity of checking out with one button.
Augmented reality and virtual reality
Tell us, would you rather buy something after just looking at the photos or would you rather take a virtual tour and confirm, that nice chair you’ve been ogling for the past week would indeed fit and look nice in your living room? AR & VR shopping provides the following major benefits:
- Users can virtually visualize the products
- Customers can explore a number of virtual showrooms
- It gives its customers reasons to visit your store
- It makes the experience more appealing to consumers
- Eliminate doubts, reduce the return rate. Statistics prove that buyers are very aware of those benefits with, stating that approximately 40% of consumers would be willing to spend more on a product if it offered an augmented reality experience.
Consider contacting the suppliers, which incorporate AR into the actual product, like Adidas, who launched a line of sneakers that unlocked an AR for customers at home. Otherwise just take into the account this trend and think about increasing interactive aspects of product showcasing, making them more ‘alive’.
Summing it up
We all should remember that the future always brings some changes, and thus creates a certain degree of fretting in all of us.
We’re sure that you’re already doing your best: sell quality products, add new ones periodically and work hard on building long-time relationships with your customers. That’s the foundation of your business and it would make it stand, come rain or snow.
We provided you with actionable e-commerce trends to prepare your store and tried to include those, which might be obvious (but worth repeating), as well as those, which might surprise you. Whether you’ve already thought about these trends or are just starting to strategize with those in your mind, we have a complete faith in you since all these concepts are doable.
Happy monitoring what’s worked for you in the past, while also looking for ways to improve!
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