The E-commerce space has been experiencing steady growth in the past few years. McKinsey, a global management and consulting firm, predicts that ¾ of the world’s 8.5 billion people will have mobile phones and internet access by 2030. Children from the middle class in the emerging markets are also expected to increase significantly and get richer than the preceding generation. It will be a broader customer base that will raise the purchasing power and alter the current operational trends.
To remain relevant and profitable in the coming decade, it is prudent to pay attention to emerging trends. In this post, we discuss the top e-commerce trends that you need to know and follow in 2019 in order to outdo your competitors.
#1: Personalized Content
Personalized content means providing a customized shopping experience to clients depending on their buying behavior, interests, and psychographics. Although the trend is already being exploited by some brands through product differentiations, the strategy has not borne significant results. Many products are withdrawn before they can hit maturing stages in their lifecycle.
Customers are expecting brands to deliver tailored shopping experience when they visit their online stores. Every visitor anticipates getting unique content such as recommendations that make the shopping experience more satisfying. This is likely to progressively molt e-commerce into a personalized and more satisfying “me-commerce” outlook.
At Amazon, the company is adding video and audio descriptions to provide better and more engagement to visitors. Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO, posits that streaming videos help to increase sales of most products especially fashion items such as shoes.
Dropshipping is a highly profitable model for e-commerce enterprises that do not have a lot of capital to start. The process involves acting as the middle person between the customer/supplier and manufacturer.
The purchased product is processed and shipped directly to the client without going through the lengthy chain of distribution. In 2018, the State of the Merchant E-commerce Report established that 16.4% of the online stores were dropshipping their orders.
Businesses that use dropshipping enjoy an average revenue growth of 32.7%. Therefore, dropshipping is expected to become an even more important trend in 2019.
Stores that sell bulky products that take a lot of store space are especially focused on using dropshipping to increase sales and cut on associated costs.
#3: Adoption of Augmented Reality
Until recently, Augmented Reality (AR) was considered to have limited applications in the retail sector. It was largely associated to apps that focused on entertainment. But e-commerce stores have adopted AR technology and are innovatively using it to drive user engagement and conversions.
In the fashion niche, AR is being used to help people try clothing and makeup using simulated models on themselves. If the client likes the simulated model of him/her on a new hat, dress, or shoes, the order is processed and order delivered to the preferred location.
Another example of an e-commerce store that has adopted AR is IKEA. The company has created an AR feature that allows clients to check how different interior design items would look in their space.
AR is expected to become a dominant technology as retailers find new ways to impress clients and drive conversions.
#4: Integration of Artificial Learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being adopted in different industries because of the convenience it offers in helping to study the shopping behavior of targeted clients to provide personalized recommendations.
In the e-commerce niche, firms are adopting chatbots to help improve customer service. But the chatbots are being used to deliver more than customer service. They are used to help with guided transactions and gathering customer information.
Some of the retailers using chatbots include Burger King and Taco Bell. Taco Bell created the TacoBot on the messaging platform Slack that allows its clients to order food by simply messaging the company.
#5: Multi-channel selling
One reality that marketers must appreciate is that people do not just use one channel for online purchases. According to Omnichannel Buying Report of 2018, 87% of buyers in the United States do their shopping offline, 78% buy on Amazon, 45% in online stores, and 11% on Facebook.
These numbers demonstrate that for e-commerce stores to drive more sales, they need to target multi-channel shoppers. Therefore, multi-channel selling is going to become more important with popular channels.
One of the challenges that made retailers shy from using multiple channels model is the difficulty of managing the channels. However, the problem has been addressed by platforms such as BigCommerce. You can also sync the business inventory with common channels that your clients use regularly and process orders from a specific location.
#5: Smart Payment Processing
The last step in a customer journey to buying an item from your store is payment processing. Even after a lengthy process via awareness and comparative evaluations, a difficult payment process can easily make you lose the client.
Baymard Institute explains that about 70% of shoppers abandon carts before completing payments. The same report further established that 28% of the people who abandon the cart indicate they were frustrated by the complicated payment process.
By consolidating payments into one platform, it makes it easier for you to manage payments and simplify the buyers’ checking out process. More retailers are expected to enter into a partnership with payment services companies to ensure that clients who put items in the shopping cart complete the purchase process.
#6: Intensified Mobile-first Strategy
According to Gartner, 89% of American companies believe that the bulk of the revenue for many retailers will be through handheld devices. By 2020, Gartner projects that smartphones will help to drive more than $129.44 billion. This reality has made most retailers to rethink their mobile strategies to drive sales.
As smartphones penetration intensifies, search engines have also encouraged marketers to ensure that their platforms and content are designed for mobile viewing. After realizing that more than 50% of traffic was coming from mobile devices, Google released its mobile-first index that prioritizes content created for mobile devices.
The mobile-first focus by search engines and growing access to smartphones are expected to become an important factor in defining the digital marketing strategies of retailers. Stores are expected to craft mobile websites, mobile content optimized, and apps that target audience with handheld devices.
The e-commerce space is fast growing into a mammoth industry as every retailer joins the space to optimize sales and maximize profits. The interest from multiple stakeholders in artificial intelligence and social media among others are making the e-commerce niche to evolve at a rapid rate.
As a player in the industry, it is prudent to be on top of the game to note the trends and ride on the present wave. Do not wait for the trends to interrupt your operations, stay ahead of others by learning the latest methods for driving traffic, enhancing customer engagement, and driving conversions.