Following the latest e-commerce market trends can help entrepreneurs plan, strategize and evolve their business functions in accordance with the market needs. Here are e-commerce trends for 2018 that will help you thrive in the e-commerce world and gain a competitive edge
Latest e-commerce Statistics:
According to Statista,
- Global e-commerce is predicted to hit $4.5 trillion by 2021 while having touched $2.4 trillion in 2017
- 11% of shoppers now shop online via their smartphones on a weekly basis
- 35% of shoppers admitted smartphone is going to become their chief purchasing tool
- 39% of the online shoppers utilize social platforms to obtain inspiration for their purchases
With these whopping numbers, the e-commerce industry marks off another year in the calendar. Whether you are an aspiring businessman attempting to understand ways to set up online stores, a top-notch e-commerce website development company, an e-commerce consultant for the online marketplace or simply an ever-excited customer, it is going to be extremely worthy of note to inspect what 2018 holds for us all in the e-commerce space.
Uncover the following major trends in e-commerce sphere that caters visions on how to strengthen brand awareness, bolster relations with your customers and many more.
Trend#1: Advanced Image Search
An image search will be significant to a thousand words
Social media will prove to be an impeccable landscape where retailers will be creating a buying scenario by displaying their products on their respective apps that consumers spend the majority of their time with. 2018 will witness consumers making use of advanced IMAGE-SEARCH instead of typing in several words for the very first time. By 2021, the advanced searches powered by voice and image are predicted to make up 50% of the total searches made by consumers.
Image analysis automation allows consumers to capture a picture of an object and then search for that very product or a product similar to that one. Businesses incorporating advanced image search capability into their digital strategies are likely to be richly awarded in upcoming years.
Firstly, because the product information management investment of businesses integrating this capability will take ROI’s to new heights. Secondly, it will empower businesses to flow into new markets grounded in the quality and multiplicity of the images they cater to their products. Because integrating this capability will completely eradicate the language barrier or product names or unknown/incorrect attributes.
PINTEREST: Pinterest has profoundly invested in advanced VISUAL-SEARCH Technology which transforms your smartphone camera into a search engine for innumerable products
SCREENSHOP: With ScreenShop app which is Kim Kardashian’s venture, consumers around the world can effortlessly shop for various looks they fancy on platforms like websites, social media and even on the streets by simply capturing a picture/screenshot which is later converted to visually similar and shoppable items at a range of price points and retailers.
Trend #2: More Delivery Options Offered On E-Commerce Websites
2017 witnessed significant growth in on-demand deliveries. We will see more delivery options coming up in 2018. We will see a rise in expectations for agile delivery.
Same-day/ Next day delivery is becoming an increasing expectation. E-commerce companies that can dispatch products the moment the consumer places an order and yet charge negligible shipping fees are going to succeed by a larger margin. Amazon opened a lot of new shipping centers near the major cities to facilitate same-day delivery to Amazon Prime consumers.
According to TechCrunch, Google reportedly will launch competitor same-day delivery service “Google-Shopping Express” which will offer same-day delivery from stores like Walmart and Target. E-commerce companies are required to be innovative in optimizing their last mile deliveries in this competitive landscape.
2018 is also going to witness a lot of logistics giants like DHL, UPS, Flytrex kick-starting their drone delivery services. Amazon is commencing – Amazon Prime Air which will make use of drones to deliver products in 30 minutes or less to their consumers.
Today, as these e-commerce giants offer same-day deliveries, they manage to come out as a winner with a majority of customers who want their needs met, fast. As it becomes the norm, people become increasingly comfortable paying extra for same-day deliveries.
Trend #3: Advancing E-commerce with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Ideating products from “What WOULD it look like” to “What DOES it look like” in your homes
A Report by DigitalBridge indicates that over 70% of the consumers will be more loyal to brands integrating AR/VR in their businesses to enhance their shopping experience. 2018 will spectate AR/VR growing huge as several brands and businesses introduce features that enable consumers to use their smart devices to practically visualize products before attempting to purchase them.
From couches to kitchenware, consumers will now be able to visualize how exactly the items look in their physical environment before placing orders. This is also likely to drive orders for ‘plus-sized’ objects (bathtubs/furniture). The National Retail Federation estimated that the product returns cost U.S. retailers more than $260 billion and were lost in sales. This will further solve e-commerce’s $260 billion problems of PRODUCT RETURNS. AR/VR will also become an integral part of packaging experience with QR codes generating ‘enhanced experiences’ of various products.
IKEA: Ikea Place is an AR-based app that allows you to virtually ‘place’ furnishings in your living space. Every product is in 3D and true to scale to ensure it’s just the right size, design and functionality in your space.
AMAZON: Amazon has introduced AR view in its app which enables its consumers to visualize online products in their own living space, operating their smartphone camera.
Trend #4: Machine Learning and AI in E-Commerce
Machine Learning will club with AI to create supreme customer experiences
The emergence of AI will create the perfect, personalized customer experience as AI will witness a rise in the use of natural language processing to eventually bring up vastly better search results. Next, we also will be glimpsing AI tracking customer’s purchase/ cart abandonment behavior at a much greater level than humans today are capable of. With that coming up, AI will head start producing enormously efficient and productive sales process because it will be generating real, high-value leads for email marketing.
eCommerce initiatives will commence targeting more specifically as now the brands and several retailers are stepping up their games at leveraging consumer and behavioral data. The behavior-based analysis results in data-driven optimization and personalization which the existing brand will begin using to greater effect in 2018, signaling the commencement of the end of demographic-based marketing strategies.
NETFLIX: Take Netflix, which is reputed for its recommendation engine. Netflix divided its 92 million global users into 1300 ‘taste communities’ with similar preferences rather than dividing its consumers by age, location or gender thereby abandoning geographic segmentation. It now makes suggestions based on what’s trendy in those communities.
Trend#5: Voice Search And How It Will Impact Ecommerce Search
Voice will transform SEO forever
Voice assistants have undergone an immense advancement in terms of popularity and desirability, these days. A lot of people are using voice-activated digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri etc. They use them to perform a variety of tasks like purchase-oriented tasks, make payments, balance checking or even customer research regarding the products they wish to buy.
Forbes says that approximately 40% of millennials are already leveraging a voice-assistant before making an online purchase. Thus, it is proven to be a compelling factor that will influence e-commerce sectors in 2018. 2018 will witness consumers speaking to their devices like never before, thereby, transforming the ways that brands use to communicate.
For e-commerce, the greatest suggestions will spin around exhaustive product information being compatible/optimized with voice-search and making store inventory available in real-time. Kohl’s, Staples, Target and many other stores are all under progress of creating voice-based options for their consumers.
Domino’s: Domino’s skill, enables you to create a new order from the scratch, place your order and even allows you to check your order status via Amazon’s Alexa.
Lyft: Amazon’s Alexa now allows you to order a ride directly from Lyft
Walmart: Walmart made it possible for its consumers to place orders for any of their products by voice on Google Express. In future, they are planning to allow consumers to place in-store pick up orders by Google Home
Trend#6: Consumerization Of B2B E-Commerce
The Disruption of B2B eCommerce
Consumerization is where B2C behaviors (because let’s face it, we are all consumers of technology) are directly influencing B2B purchasing habits.
Traditionally, wholesalers and trade customers have been working with each other over the phone making use of pen and paper to deal with bulk trade orders. In coming years, we will witness B2B buyer’s expectations demanding for more B2C-like functionalities.
The incessant growth of a digital-savvy millennial generation, the omnipresence of mobile and persistent optimization of e-commerce technology is forcing the pace of conventionally slow moving B2B sector.
We will also observe a rise in the number of B2B platforms that facilitates consumers to shop from multiple vendors. This may show up challenges in UX, because every consumer would have their price negotiated with their respective vendor and buying experience there is going to be much more functional, than experiential as compared to B2C.
In 2018, several B2B buyers and users shall experience their first-effortless, purchasing and ordering experiences much like B2C as they keep on transitioning their product discovery and buying behavior to online and mobile.
Everything in B2B will be replaced with digital-first discovery processes and a buyer-centric ordering procedure. This simplified way of the order will lead to a rise in ordering and share of the budget for vendors who have their consumers at the heart of their buying experience.
Today, market giants like Amazon and Alibaba have become the ‘Google of shopping’ in numerous B2B environments and are incessantly misting lines between B2B and B2C.
- Back in October 2017, Amazon introduced Business Prime shipping which is a paid annual membership program for businesses based in the US and Germany
- Amazon Business has built up over 1 million ‘Amazon Supply’ subscribers in 5 years
- With Amazon Business, Amazon brings together over 30,000 sellers and made $1 Billion in sales in its first year itself and continues to grow at the rate of 20% every month
- Alibaba is a core B2B portal based in China that connects western businesses and Chinese manufacturers while generating 80% of all online sales in China
Trend#7: Mobile Commerce / M-Commerce
Mobile will carry on to gain an even stronger foothold in 2018
- Approximately $600 million are predicted to be generated from mobile commerce.
- 40% of all the e-commerce revenue will be generated from mobile in the coming year.
- Mobile is predicted to reach 70% of e-commerce traffic by the end of 2018
In 2018, the primary focus will be on creating and delivering an exceptional mobile experience, with desktop experience taking the back seat. One more trend to look out is the continued movements towards making use of SMS to interact with consumers.
Also, today mobile checkout has turned out to be a more convenient option for consumers from buying products and renewing services on the go to actually checking out. This is one of the e-commerce trends no merchant can afford to ignore. The progress made in simplified mobile payment technologies which comprise features like facial recognition, fingerprints further improves the percentage of transactions done on mobile.
STARBUCKS: Over 10% of the Starbucks (US) orders were placed with their Mobile Order and Pay app. The payment platform was so convenient and popular amongst the crowd, that mobile orders amazed the staff and created extraordinary wait times.
WELLS FARGO: US-based bank Wells Fargo introduced NFC-enabled mobile wallet capabilities in more than 5000 Wells Fargo ATMs. It facilitated the debit card consumers to make use of ‘tap and pay’ functionality and withdraw money at its ATM.
ALIPAY: China’s “Singles Day” 2017 sales touched whopping $25.4 billion wherein 90% of the sales were accomplished on mobile. 97% of the total sales in the first minute were mobile purchases which were processed by Alipay which Alibaba’s payment processing platform is.
Trend#8: Predominance Of Omni-Channel Customer Experiences In E-Commerce
The rebirth of brick-and-mortar stores
Consumers today demand full-service solution that links their online store with their physical store. There are several shapes omnichannel e-commerce can take. A new variety of retail stores and in-store experiences which are deeply rooted in digital will gradually start replacing outgoing retailers. Shop retail is not dead but will definitely undergo a painful transformation.
Physical stores, on-site interactions are always going to remain important. The physical stores eventually turn new visitors into customers. To increase the lifetime value of these consumers, they are then redirected to the e-commerce site where they are invited to make other purchases.
In 2018, Brands will have to master the combination of showrooming and webrooming, product demos, events, in-store experiences and more. 2018 will see online brands growing their physical footprint as the customers continue to consider both the versatility and depth of online shopping and the convenience of buying, picking up and returning products locally.
Physical store players will digitize their physical infrastructure and commence rolling out new store features and formats based on customer experience and convenience with a strong digital flavor
FRANK AND OAK:
The online menswear brand Frank and Oak initiated 16 physical stores in North-America. The in-store experience comprises a premium barbershop and coffee services
Nordstrom opened a 3000 sq./ft store with a service-focused concept with no dedicated inventory. Here, consumers can use Nordstrom’s personal stylists who can transfer merchandise in for consumers, as well as services like Buy online, pick-up in-store, tailoring, alterations, trunk club services, manicure appointments and more.
Trend#9: “ROPO”: New Measure Of Retailer’s Digital Success
Research Online, Purchase Offline
It can be complicated to track different ways your digital efforts translate to offline sales. Fortunately, ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline) is the tool to measure the in-store ROI of digital ads which will become more advanced and reliable in the upcoming year. By using it, retailers can map how many dollars of in-store sales can be attributed to every dollar spent on digital.
According to the statistics, 80% of mobile users search for a local business and 18% of local searches lead to a sale within 24 hours. By merging mobile devices and payments, personalization, social media, geolocation/mobile tracking, real-time inventory with innovative analytics tools, CRM, POS, ERP systems, retailers will acknowledge which ads, listing and site visits led to purchases and in-store visits.
PRIMEAU VELO: Primeau Velo which is a Canada based bicycle retailer has a ROPO ratio of 9:1 which implies that for every $1 spent online drove in-store sales of $9
MATALAN: Matalan which is a British retailer revealed that for every £1 spent on Google AdWords drove £46 in sales out of which £31 was in-store.
Trend#10: The Rise Of Community-Led Brands
An active and engaged brand community can drive innovation, revenues and customer loyalties
2018 will observe a new type of customer-centric brand exploding. Building a community around a brand has become vital today and was often an overlooked part of being successful in e-commerce. Today, several brands sell a few products and offer their consumers varied ways to conveniently discuss their products on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or at actual meet-ups.
Community solidifies the relationship a brand shares with its consumer. It develops loyalty. Today, community-led brands are providing consumers a place to craft fresh content and engaging them on their own websites as well as involving in conversations across various networks. This way, they are raising their chances of being discovered on Google through relevant search terms.
Brands use social media and their own communities not only for SEO but also to make their business more transparent and to transform their customer relationship. Brands like Harley Davidson, Commonwealth bank, Starbucks, Oracle, Nordstrom and many more are some of the exceptional examples of community-led brands.
SO SHAPE: Take a nutrition start-up business So Shape as a community-led brand. When their consumers began sharing the results of their diet, the company generated a new Instagram account -@soshaperesults. The reviews shared by their consumers is a perfect instance of user-generated content which helps convince new prospects to join them and buy the product. The consumers also respond to various questions because they feel they are brand representatives themselves.
So, how are you gearing up for 2018?
Market leaders are already making the most of the trends and technologies. Why aren’t you one of them? Wishing to give a lift to your e-commerce business with all the trends that we have covered above? Write to us at email@example.com and get in touch with our team and we’ll help you shape your visions into reality.