E-commmerce continues to expand, fueled by Amazon as well as other factors such as more independent merchants entering the marketplace, the growth of social media, more advanced marketing technology (or MarTech), and the increase of omnichannel marketing tactics. 4th quarter e-commerce statistics reveal impressive totals for 2017 and total revenue for e-commerce in 2018 is expected to reach $460 billion. Here are the 7 most important e-commerce trends to watch for this year.
1. More Voice Search
The popularity of devices such as Echo and Google Home reveals that consumers are getting accustomed to technology that responds to voice commands as well as typed ones. People are particularly fond of voice technology while driving, as when searching for a restaurant or other type of business. By 2020, 50% of millennials will have used a voice assistant before making a purchase. Keep this in mind when setting up your product and business descriptions. Make sure your site is optimized for Google My Business and think of terms people are likely to use when speaking commands. These are often shorter and simpler than typed-in searches.
2. Use an Integrated or Omnichannel Strategy
Consumers are increasingly using multiple devices for searching and shopping. It’s no longer a question of which device or platform is most popular. People now access information and make purchases in a myriad of ways. Google points out that 85% of shoppers now begin a purchase on one device and complete it on another. As an e-commerce seller, this means you have to present a seamless and unified shopping experience where customers can readily move from one platform to another.
3. Faster and More Efficient Fulfillment
Amazon is making headlines by offering two-day, overnight, and even same-day deliveries. Customers are getting less and less patient when it comes to waiting for their merchandise to arrive. The most successful e-commerce sites are ones that can offer the fastest fulfillment. In addition to speed, people also want as many packing and shipping options as possible. Businesses that offer fast delivery as well as order customization will have an edge in the coming years.
4. Greater Use of Video
Video is another dominant trend that’s having a huge impact on e-commerce. Statistics reveal that video increases click-through rates by as much as 300%. A study by Cisco estimates that by 2019, 80% of all internet traffic will be video. If you want to increase engagement and improve conversions, it’s essential to incorporate videos into your e-commerce strategy. Using platforms such as Slidely and Wistia make it easy to create shareable videos and also provide analytics tools to track your results.
5. Engage Visitors With Chatbots
Chatbots and messenger apps are a powerful way to engage with website visitors and provide them with essential information about your products. 60% of millennials have used chatbots while 71% say they’d like to try them, making this a great tool for engaging with younger customers. Chatbots will increasingly be integrated with messenger apps, allowing businesses to send out customized offers. Facebook Messenger alone has more than a billion users per month, making this a huge opportunity to reach a vast audience.
6. Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) is a fast-growing technology that’s transforming e-commerce by providing customers with exciting and interactive experiences. In certain industries, such home decorating, AR can give customers a realistic idea of how furniture and decor will look in a home. IKEA, for example, already has a Place app that lets shoppers virtually experience how products will look in different environments. This technology also has lots of potential in real estate, travel, and fashion.
7. Use Storytelling to Create a Richer Shopping Experience
In addition to using high-tech innovations such as voice-activation and AR, brands also need to capture customers’ imaginations with strong storytelling. With so much competition, you have to give customers a compelling reason to choose your business. This means creating interesting and relevant content across platforms that tell an original story. When people shop with you, they should have a unique experience during all stages of the buyer’s journey.