As an e-commerce business owner, it’s imperative that you keep up with the rapidly-changing industry trends.
After all, depending on the crucial bit of information that you obtain, you might be able to garner thousands of sales in a matter of days.
Your competitors are faced with the same opportunities, however. That is why, as you acquire new data about your industry, you need to learn how to process them and turn them into action plans.
That’s why we put together this post to help e-commerce entrepreneurs get the information they need to gain a competitive edge.
Without further ado, here are seven of the most important e-commerce trends you should watch out for this 2019.
1. More Conversations with Your Customers
As online shoppers grow savvier and more aware of brands’ marketing tactics, outdated strategies that focus on getting clicks will soon die out. Instead, it will be replaced with campaigns centered on meaningful conversations with customers at the top of the funnel.
Encouraging feedback on social media, running surveys, participating in online groups or events — there are plenty of opportunities to engage your prospective customers, earn their trust, and build your authority. Do these before you make the sales pitch and you should be able to unlock a much higher conversion rate for your e-commerce business.
2. Augmented Reality
Although the virtual reality segment seems to have slowed down in 2018, augmented reality is taking off in the e-commerce space.
The main reason for this is because AR is fundamentally more compatible with e-commerce business ideas as opposed to VR — which can only be accessed with specific hardware. AR, on the other hand, only requires any modern smartphone to provide potential customers a truly unique and engaging experience.
A popular case is Shopify AR, which allows customers to essentially preview how the product looks in their environment. This lets them grasp the scale of the product as well as view details that otherwise would’ve been easy to miss on a flat, two-dimensional image.
To use Shopify AR, you need to take a series of steps, which includes taking professional photos of your product from key angles and hire a 3D graphics artist to translate your product into AR form.
Apart from virtual reality and augmented reality, artificial intelligence is probably also one of the buzzwords you’ve encountered in recent years.
Automated chatbots are among the most widespread use case of AI in e-commerce. As the name implies, chatbots are designed as stand-ins for live chat agents — answering questions and providing product information to customers.
Remember, any trace of doubt could eliminate a customer’s chances of making a purchase. Chatbots can help you build buyer confidence and, in turn, generate more sales by providing information on-demand.
The good news is, even one-man e-commerce businesses can take advantage of chatbots.
With platforms like Botsociety, you don’t need a background in programming or machine learning to build a chatbot. You only have to use the visual interface to write your chatbot’s script and click the “Build” button to finalize your work.
Botsociety currently supports the following messaging apps:
- Facebook Messenger
- Google Assistant
- Amazon Echo
- Google Hangouts
4. Voice Search
By now, every e-commerce entrepreneur already knows that the future of online marketing is mobile. And with it, comes user behaviors that can only be done with a smartphone or tablet.
Voice search, in particular, pertains to the practice of searching the web through voice-activated assistants rather than typing on Google’s mobile app.
As a result, e-commerce businesses need to target more question-based, long-tail keywords that reflect natural language.
For example, rather than searching using the keyword “Asian restaurant NYC,” customers will pull up their phones, activate their virtual assistant, and ask “what’s the top Asian restaurant in NYC?”
It’s all about being in your customers’ shoes and being in touch with their questions.
5. Streamlined Payments
Not only are customers demanding more payment options, they also want a much simpler checkout process — something that doesn’t involve a ton of forms that may be infuriating to fill on a mobile device.
Although mainstream implementation is still far into the horizon, the World Wide Web Consortium or W3C is developing a new online payments standard that will simplify online payments.
The goal here is to support a wider range of payment processors with as little friction as possible. If you’re interested in this new standard, the Payment Request API would be a great place to start.
6. From Digital to Physical
Digitally-native brands like Amazon are supposedly experimenting with physical experiences to win their audience’s attention.
If you think about it, the continued growth of online commerce has made some consumers appreciate physical shopping experiences even more.
Some strategies that e-commerce businesses use are setting up a temporary shop, attending local events, and actually investing in a permanent, physical establishment. By delivering these in-person experiences to your target audience, you can provide value that most of your online-only competitors don’t.
7. The Rise of Video Content
A survey shows that 96 percent of people have watched an explainer video when doing research on products or services online. 79 percent, on the other hand, said that a brand’s video encouraged them to commit to a purchase decision.
It’s no secret that video is easily the most engaging type of content out there. It enables brands to showcase a product in a more impactful and detailed fashion.
Videos are also widely-adopted in social media networks. This includes live videos broadcasted via Facebook Live and the Instagram app.
Of course, not all e-commerce businesses have the resources to utilize branded videos in their marketing. They can, however, rely on tools like Animaker to develop simple clips that can get their point across.
E-commerce is ever-changing, and it’s up to brands to decide whether to resist or adapt.
The trends above might be the opportunities you need to be ahead of your competitors. It’s only a matter of how fast you can turn insights into actionable plans.
If you have other questions or feedback regarding what you read, feel free to leave a comment below. Good luck!