eCommerce Trends You Should Follow in 2018
No other industry has been going through and is looking forward to such rapid growth as eCommerce. It is expected to grow into a $1.2 trillion dollar by 2021, which urges merchants to move towards digital transformation. eCommerce is constantly intensifying because it is becoming the new norm for American business.
There is a bright future ahead of eCommerce which is very exciting. But it does come with some painful changes as well. As we already understood in the past 5 years, nothing is permanent and changes happen before we even know it. So it’s important that we do our best and try to keep up with the most significant and potentially disruptive trends that will hit the ecommerce. They will affect business owners and consumers alike.
2018 is another year that will bring changes to the industry. Although we can’t know exactly what they will be. So we will take a speculative look at what lies ahead. What changes, opportunities and challenges does the eCommerce industry hold for us all? Without further ado, let’s get down to it!
Brick and Mortar Stores Will Change
It’s a fact more than half of the population in America would rather prefer to shop online. This is especially true for millennials. Even though nothing can match the convenience online shopping offers, nothing can match in-person experiences either. Which is why online brands are going to merge with brick-and-mortar stores in a rarely seen way. They will create a new breed of retail stores.
These stores will have their business transactions rooted in the digital world and they will also offer physical transactions. It will be a place the brand to show off its products, hold demos and events along with other in-store experiences. Customers will not be able to purchase their products there. It will only serve for local costumers as a place to pick up and return the products they bought.
These stores will not be focusing retail, they will instead focus on customer experience and convenience. An online brand named Frank and Oak has already opened 16 stores all around North America. The store includes some outstanding premium coffee, barber services. You can also try their products or just sit around reading a magazine. Other clothing stores open similar stores, but focus more on try-ons, tailoring and having stylists around to help. Female clothing brand stores also offer manicures.
We Will Have Better Logistics and Much Faster Shipping
We already have one or two day shipping times thanks to Amazon. They have become the king of eCommerce product delivery and they’ll remain there in the future as well. They have also developed Amazon Key, which is a device that allows Amazon’s delivery personnel to have access to your door one time. Their job is to drop the package behind your door without going inside. They are constantly monitored by a camera placed at your front door, so it’s safe and secure in every way.
Reducing the time it takes for a product to arrive at your home after you have clicked buy, will be one of the hottest heated battles eCommerce will see this year.
Augmented Reality Makes an Entrance
Up until now, you could only wonder about what your new furniture would look like in your living room. With augmented reality, you just have to take out your smartphone and take a look. Customers will be able to see exactly what an object would look like in their home space.
Houzz’s app is a great example of this. It lets you walk around your house and place various products within its various corners within the virtual world. You can select from a wide array of 500,000 product images. The app already has a million users who are much likely to make a purchase, since they know exactly what it will bring them. Amazon has done the same. They implemented augmented reality to allow users to see how thousands of products would look in their home.
More Checkouts Will Be Done From Mobile Than Desktop
We mostly reviewed products and renewed online services from our mobile, but now it’s made incredibly easy to buy items with simplified mobile payment technologies. Thanks to fingerprint and facial recognition, there will be more and more transactions done from mobile. Mobile payment systems have become safer, while Google, Apple and Samsung are also advancing their payment technologies.
Since our phone is with us everywhere we go, mobile checkout will be the preferred norm for doing retail purchases. About 70% of eCommerce traffic will be coming from mobile devices by the end of 2018.
Greater Integration of Bots
Chat bots are already widely used because they make things easier. You’ll be surprised by how sophisticated Google’s chat bot is. You probably won’t even notice that you’re talking to a machine at first. The development of chat bots will not stop and they will only be integrated more and more into eCommerce. It has already been implemented into product recommendation engines, improved search functionality, customer service and more. Facebook has already provided retailers with chat bots and tools that allows them to use it as conversational agents within Facebook manager. Bots will only become more helpful and sophisticated, being able to handle very complex tasks.
Voice Will Play a Larger Role
Voice search has forever integrated itself into mobile. Voice search will soon be the leading drivers of innovation within the eCommerce space and will drive the need to change SEO tactics. The adoption of Google’s Home units and Amazon’s Echo has been great drivers of voice search within the eCommerce space. About 24% of eCommerce consumers own some kind of voice-controlled smart appliance. Along with 20% more who plan to purchase one in the upcoming year. Using these devices to make purchases has also become popular because 19% of costumers who own one have done it. Also, users who use Echo to make their purchases have also become Amazon’s most loyal customers.
There Will Be More Storefront Applications
It’s already evident that mobile eCommerce is here to stay, because we have been steadily shifting from desktop to mobile. This shift will move even further this year, with more brands developing their own storefront apps. Major retailers like Amazon and eBay have offered their own applications during the years and users are already accustomed to them. Having a dedicated storefront app to browse through a shop’s items from their mobile devices is the way to go. Which is why we will see much smaller businesses create storefront apps to earn more sales and their customer’s loyalty.
Research Online, Purchase Offline
This tendency among customers has been observable for quite some time now. When shoppers research a product online then search for a local store, it usually ends in a purchase within the next 24 hours. Consumers like to research their products and buy it from online sources because it allows them to get it at the best possible price. ROPO also lets us do some incredibly accurate offline conversion tracking which has proven to be effective. About 82% of mobile users use their mobile device to search for local businesses and 18% of them results in a sale within the upcoming 24 hours.
Image search is going to be big. Imagine if you see a jacket in a retail store but you find it too expensive so you photograph it and see if it’s available anywhere else at a lower price. Maybe you found some kind of furniture to be too expensive. You can photograph that too and use eBay’s image search that will show you if someone uploaded the same product.
eCommerce is steadily transitioning to mobile and it has started a new trend. Companies will soon offer options to visually search for products by taking your own photos or using photos you’ve found online. Image and voice search will make up about 50% of all searches by 2020.
Because image search will provide customers with the opportunity to find a similar product at a lower price, they are more likely to shop online even if they entered a physical store.
Pinterest has already adopted the image search function. You can zoom in on an object within an image and find similar objects in a few clicks.
Answering Questions Through Product Videos
When users look at a product online, they have the same questions about functionality and quality as they would in a physical retail store. In order to be a real contender in eCommerce, you’ll have to be able to answer all their questions digitally and as quickly and comprehensively as possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is through a product video.
A high-quality video that addresses the product’s functionality and design is one of the best ways to sell your product. You can best appeal to your potential customer’s emotions and will convince them more easily than written text would. It’s a great way to let customers fully understand the product and make a confident purchase, even though they have never seen it physically in a store.
Both Instagram and Pinterest allow merchants to show off their products to potential customers without them even realizing it. Soon enough, social media will become an awesome landscape for retailers to create the buying scenario. They can showcase their products through the apps customers spend most time with.
Users will be able to look at a picture and click certain parts of it. This will bring up a modal window that will let them make a purchase without leaving the social media story or switch between apps. It will work seamlessly.
Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
Both will be great contributors to eCommerce. They offer benefits such as advanced transactional security and a virtually eliminates payment frauds. But both the eCommerce industry and customers are careful with cryptocurrencies as they remain to be unstable for now. Yet decentralized currencies still have a great chance to revolutionize the eCommerce industry.
2018 holds a lot of a lot of slow but consistent changes for us. We can make some seriously beneficial steps for our business. Thinking ahead and seeing how it could adopt to the newest trends in an ever changing industry will definitely be beneficial.
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