The essential principle of eCommerce is change for your customer, so your approach needs to reflect the mindset of moving on for the next big thing. Don’t keep going like always even when you realise there is a customer need. Focus on that and optimize your user experience to build up loyal customers. With that said, let’s have a look at some eCommerce trends 2018 that e-commerce store owners should pay attention to this year.
1) Personalization based on Machine Learning
In terms of e-commerce, personalization means the tailored online customer experience for each individual customer. In order to design the perfect customer experience for every individual, you need to collect data like geographic location, social behavior, shopping cart history, and search queries.
Following a study by Accenture, 75% of customers like it when brands personalize their communication to them as long as the customer keeps control over collected data. Moreover you should consider, that personalization is the thing you should focus after ensuring accessability, relevance and usability of your online shop. To visualize that, let’s give you an example: It’s silly to wait 5 seconds loading time for the product detail page of a blue t-shirt with your name printed on it, although the user looked for the search term “blue jeans”.
First of all your online shop needs to be easy accessible on all devices, second your products should be relevant for the user need. Third it should be user-friendly. The blue t-shirt will never satisfy someone who is looking for a blue jeans. Last but not least we talk about personalization.
Dynamic category pages & crossselling
One option is to create relevant category and product pages for the user based on the search terms and interests of the purchase history. In case you know person A bought a television, you can offer cross-selling offers like the matching DVD player or wall mount system.
Analyse the purchase data from all your customers to identify the likelihood of customers to buy from special product categories. For example, in case you realise persons buying a television tend also to buy movies, you should bundle or recommend movies on the television product pages. Product recommendations can increase revenue up to 300% (read the whole article by Retention Science). Beside the famous Amazon “Other people also viewed” section, also Netflix is a great example of predictive recommendations. Netflix works with “taste communities” and recommends to other users what’s popular in those communities.
2) E-mail Marketing
E-Mail marketing provides great ways of brand building. Despite of the fact that e-mail is such an important element of communication, most of the companies send not 100% consistent branded e-mails. Of course, marketing mailings look brand-consistent but after-sales communication looks often completely different. DHL sends you a tracking ID but you have no idea to which online order that is linked to: no logo, no brand name, just a long number and a link. Of course, it shows a high potential to design brand-consistent after sales mailings.
Especially because e-mail marketing drives more revenue than all social networks together. Moreover it’s easy to measure your results in terms of click-through rates, opening rates and so on. A/B tests are simple to realise but one learning you can take as proven: You never show respect to your customers by spaming them. Focus instead on reminder e-mails to abondoned carts or incomplete transactions.
3) Digital Wallet Payments
Did you know that 10% off Starbacks US orders were payed with the Mobile Order and Pay app? Amazon Go launched the cashierless store: customers enter, pick the items they want to buy , and walk out of the store. Items will automatically be scanned and charged to the customers account. It’s so convenient, it’s so innovative. Digital wallet payments via mobile phone are the future. According to predictions by Statistica, mobile revenue will increase to 50% of all e-commerce sales this year. The main reason for that prediction is the development of digital wallet payments like Amazon Pay, Apple Pay or Visa Checkout.
4) Voice Search
Thanks to smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, voice search is on the rise. For SEO this trend implies new challenges because voice search often provides a single answer instead of multiple results. This means number two is already too far away for the user.
Also advertising needs to find a new position in that content.
In respect of eCommerce, the biggest is the question how to provide in-depth product details optimized for voice search. Preparing your online shop for that big shift in user behavior, you should ensure to understand your persona. Ask yourself what customers are looking for: products, price, availability details, and also product reviews. Guarantee to provide information for all of those needs. Moreover the product content has to be written in a fluent and appealing way and using correct grammar. In the end, voice assistants require a chance to vocalize and read your content easily. In consequence of the fact that voice search is often used on mobile devices, your mobile version should be optimized in speed and performance.
5) Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality will be important as brands launch features that enable customers to apply mobile devices to visualize products in their home before purchasing. The wonder of augmented reality gets ready for eCommerce.
Before ordering, customers will be able to see how an object looks in their environment. This includes even huge items like furniture or bathtubs. Ikea Place is such an innovative augmented reality app that lets consumers experience, play and try adding Ikea products into any room. The 3D furnitures are true to scale, can be changed to all available colors and can be moved from one place to the other in the virtual experience. This supports the users purchase decision with a “real life” experience of owning the item without physically purchasing and placing the item in their home.
Also Amazon added augmented reality to the search function of its conversion-driven app. You can view thousands of products in your home before you buy, including electronics and tools.
Overall augmented reality shows huge potential to improve the shopping experience by making it more realistic. In consequence the return rates of furnitures, electronics and similar bulky goods might be significantly decreased. The barrier of “what if I don’t like it and need to return it,” will be reduced.
6) Social Marketing
Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest provide a perfect chance to integrate products in a visualized lifestyle. This means, social media supports the process to make your products real and part of an individual experience. Moreover the buy-button is so close and users in the right mood looking for inspiration when they spend time on social media platforms. For existing customers, social media can be also an effective tool to reply to customer service inquiries.
7) Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is still a very effective way to drive your sales in 2018. One common misconception about this marketing channel is, that you need to hire a famous personality like George Clooney to be successful. This is not true when you consider the micro-influencers all across social media that offer relevance instead of just status. The credibility of those “normal” people with an own opinion is pretty high because it is natural and trustful and less artificial like testimonial marketing. One of the biggest advantages of the internet is indeed that you can use word of mouth without having to interact face to face.
Instagram or YouTube, Pinterest or Snapchat, influencers give your eCommerce business a high potential to bring you a significant boost in traffic.
This article focused on the biggest eCommerce trends 2018. For sure, it would be pretty tough to realize all aspects mentioned above but maybe some of them.