We’ve seen an enormous growth of online shopping in the past few years. Can you imagine going to physical store for everything you need? With having mobile phones in our pockets, online shopping has become easier and faster. It is expected that eCommerce sector will double until 2020, when sales are expected to exceed $4 trillion. With evolving so fast it’s hard to be on track with the latest changes and additions. That’s why we selected to 10 eCommerce trends to watch in 2018!
While shopping online makes our lifes easier, it has a smaller problem. We can’t actually see how the product looks in person and we can’t try it on. That’s why personalisation in terms of creating a unique experience for the users and bringing the product closer to them, will be extremely important for eCommerce business.
Many online retailers already put their effort in it, but Amazon went one step further. They introduced Echo Look – a camera that makes possible to try on different styles in real-time. Not that it only make online shopping easier, it also decreases percentage of returns.
Companies that will follow them, will win at selling online. It doesn’t have to be a complex solution. For example, yo can build an online calculator for your services, if you’re a construction company, contractor, etc. Or you can offer your customers to customize their products. We’ve seen an enormous growth of websites that offer custom printed t-shirts and other clothing. And yes, this kind of approach does work.
2. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is expected to grow even more in 2018. Why? Because people trust other people’s opinions over. They will choose them over an ad always. Working with famous influencers (like Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian and others) can be even more expensive than investing in ad campaign on Instagram. And let’s be honest, only a few can afford them. Beside that, you’ll reach a million of users that might not even be your target audience. That’s why working with micro-influencers with (only) few thousands of followers might be cheaper and more effective. For example: you’re selling socks and you’d like to reach more users interested in fashion and lifestyle. You make a list of 10 or more fashion and lifestyle micro-influencers who will become ambassadors for your brand. They will definitely put more energy into promoting your brand and this kind of content will feel more natural, honest and community-driven. You can use different influencer marketing strategies, based on your needs and goals.
3. User-Generated Content
Advertisers are bombing us with ads on all channels and it’s hard to believe all of them. Your potential customers will still believe Other users’ opinions and recommendations more than ads. That’s why user-generated content will become a must-have in every business’ marketing strategy. There are different ways of encouraging people to help you generate content. First step would definitely be to make a product or service that everyone would want to share on their social media. Secondly, you can make a photo contest. Additionally, you can involve influencers to share photos with your products or write a post about your service. People following them are more likely to write a post about your product or service then. But don’t forget – user-generated content must be honest and natural, otherwise it has no effect on other customers.
4. Faster Shipping
When you’re buying online and see a shipping time of two weeks, doesn’t that discourage you from buying? Mostly, we want the product we order to be deliver in the next day, if possible. That’s why businesses that will offer same or next day delivery, will win at getting new customers. Amazon Prime is a great example of how to upgrade the customer experience and take it to the next level. Walmart invested in the development of its own network where customers will be able to pick up their orders. Deliver product to your customers in 24 hours and you will win them.
5. Community Building
When Facebook introduced communities for pages, they probably knew where eCommerce will go in the next few years. Online shops won’t be just about selling stuff online anymore. If business would like to build their reputation, gain new fans and consequently new buyers. Brand will need to create communities around activities their customers are interested in. For example, a brand that is selling compression socks would want to create a community for runners, professional athletes, cyclists and others.
6. Voice Search
The voice search will possibly be the leading innovation in eCommerce – and not just on mobile phones. There are several stats pointing out the growth of voice search:
- – Deloitte reports that 11% of smartphone users use voice search regularly
- – Google’s stats show that 20% of searches within the US are already via voice.
- – HubSpot says that 37% use Siri, 23% use Microsoft’s Cortana AI, and 19% use Amazon’s Alexa AI at least monthly.
Why the voice search is growing so fast? In general people are lazy. Imagine how many times you called someone in the middle of texting, because you didn’t want to type anymore. Plus, the average typing speed is 40 words a minute. The average speech rate is 150 words per minute. The only issue we’re facing with right now is inability of voice assistants to understand complex terms and phrases. Once this bug will be fixed, the eCommerce will change drastically.
7. Growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
You probably know that I’m talking about chat bots. Automating marketing activities saves us a lot of time. And not just that. answering to your customer instantly increases chances of buying your product. But it won’t just be enough to turn on the chatbot. You will need to ask yourself: “What are my online shop visitors most likely to ask or search?” Once you put yourself into a role of your visitors and start asking questions, you already have the answers. Once you do that, the only thing you need to do is set up the chatbot.
8. Increase of Crypto Payments
Cryptocurrencies are on the rise and it doesn’t seem they plan to stop anytime soon. Many online shop already added the option of paying with cryptocurrencies, mostly with bitcoin and ethereum. With digital wallets being adapted by more and more consumers, there’s only one thing you can do: add option of paying with cryptocurrencies to your online shop – you will be thankful when you’ll see how many people uses them to buy products online.
9. Video Content
Facebook is changing algorithm almost on a monthly basis and now they started doing it on Instagram more often too. Business are constantly facing with fewer reach with their content and it seems that we can’t even reach our followers and potential customers organically. But there is one kind of content that still gets higher reach than others: video content. People are visual beings, which means we buy with eyes. We like to see a picture of the product we’re buying, but when it comes to online, we’d also like to see it how it look like in real life. And the best option to present a product in real life is with a videos. This trend will continue to rise in 2018, but remember to post mostly from 15-30 seconds long videos, to make sure that your target audience will look them until the end.
10. Omni-Channel Management
If you just launched your brand and have only couple of products, online shop is enough for now. But when it comes to growing the brand, you can’t ignore multi-channel management. The first step would definitely be setting up Facebook shop and expose products you publish on Instagram on a special page. Secondly, here is a extensive list of websites, where you can list your products for sale:
- – Messenger
- – Amazon
- – Ebay
- – Etsy
- – Wish
- – Lyst
- – Google Shopping
- – Buzz Feed
Those are not all channels, but the most important ones. The people want to spend you money, it’s your choice whether you’re going to give them a product they need or want.