One thing is for sure, in 2018, the retail apocalypse continues. Mall traffic is maintaining a steady decline as consumers flock online to shop.
In the last year alone, huge brands such as Macy’s, American Apparel and Abercrombie and Fitch have all closed over 100 stores each. Just last month, Toys R Us shuttered all retail stores worldwide after 60 years in business.
The writing is on the wall. Brick and Mortar retail is no longer the only game in town. Online commerce has taken over. If you are not using the internet to further your customer base and make sales, there is no more time to waste.
Ecommerce Trends are Directing the Market
Consider these stats:
1. Ecommerce made up 15% of all retail sales in 2017.
2. Amazon now represents close to 4 percent of all retail sales online and off.
3. 67% of millennials and 56% of Gen-Xer’s prefer to shop online as opposed to in a traditional retail establishment.
4. 51% of Americans say that online is their preferred method of shopping.
5. 39% of people use social networks as inspiration for purchases.
6. 96% of Americans with internet access have made a purchase online in their lives. 4 out of 5 (80%) have done so within the last month.
Online retail isn’t going anywhere. Businesses who aren’t keeping up with ecommerce trends in this changing market are doomed to failure.
Voice Search Will increase
We are quickly moving into a world of screen-less searches, which is why voice search is the most compelling of 2018’s ecommerce trends.
People on I-phones have been using Siri for a few years and they are already in on the secret, voice searching is way easier!
Nearly one in four consumers already have an at-home smart device such as Alexa or Google talk. 40% of millennials have used voice search when making an online purchase.
Voice search, particularly in the smart speaker market, is the next stage in customer loyalty. Consumers who use Echo are among Amazon’s most loyal.
Echo consumers increased their purchases of consumer goods such as batteries, diapers and laundry detergent by 13.5% in the fourth quarter of 2017. They spent an around $1,600 per year, $300 more than the average Prime customer spent.
Wal-Mart and Google recently announced a partnership that will allow customers to shop through the Google voice assistant. Voice searches are going to increase exponentially over the next few years.
People speak very differently from the way they type. Thus, your content needs to adapt to reflect this. When optimizing for natural language search, instead of keywords, focus on answering questions the way a human being would.
Use full-sentences in your articles, and use longer, more specific phrasing in titles and headers. When formulating your target keywords, keep in mind the conversational nature of voice searches. Voice searches tend to turn up more localized results, so be sure your small or medium-sized business website is optimized for voice this year.
Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Applications
There are several ecommerce trends this year that are capitalizing on Artificial Intelligence. Personalized experiences are no longer an “option” in 2018, they are essential. AI allows you to provide this to the consumer, without putting in all the hours. It is a winning scenario for any sized business.
Your visitor session data gives you valuable information regarding what each individual is searching for. To leave a better brand impression and get higher conversions, use this data to adjust the user experience.
Focus returning visitors on the items that are most relevant to them by prominently displaying recently shopped categories. Leveraging personalized data not only enhances the customer’s experience, it drives sales.
2017 saw the rise of the customer service “chatbot.” Artificial intelligence will continue to gain a foothold in eCommerce because of the myriad of applications it provides. Chatbots are so helpful, they will soon be moving out of the category of ecommerce trends and become the norm.
Chatbots can answer all types of frequently asked questions and deal with many consumer problems.
Facebook, ever the revolutionary force, has even rolled out a program that allows certain retailers to accept payments within the messenger app using these chatbots. If you have spent any time on the platform lately, chances are you have encountered a chatbot in some way yourself. Don’t be afraid to incorporate chatbots for your business, there are online guides to help you get the most out of it.
Virtual Reality Shopping
You can take this a step further by investing in virtual reality apps that give your customers a store like shopping experience from the comfort of their homes. Many companies are already getting into the game with apps that allow you to try products on virtually.
One of the first sectors to get in on this was make-up. Brands like L’oreal and Sephora have apps that give customers an opportunity to try on several looks and countless different shades without setting foot in a brick and mortar store.
LensKart is a site that gained massive sales through its virtual reality offerings. Consumers pose for a picture that recreates their face in 3-D and then they are able to try many different styles of glasses on their own face. Genius!
Not one to be left out of a single of these ecommerce trends, Amazon also has an augmented reality app called AR View App which allows consumers to see how thousands of products would look in their homes.
Which brings us to another of our exciting ecommerce trends, if you haven’t already, it is time to:
Get with Amazon
If you are not partnered with Amazon in some way, you are missing out on one of the most prevalent e-commerce trends of the last few years.
As the reigning behemoth, Amazon is already generating close to half of the total online retail from the US. This is one of the e-commerce trends of this year that you can count on following us into 2019.
With their 2-day prime shipping and 2-hour grocery delivery, Amazon has re-defined the meaning of fast service. They are the industry leaders at removing friction, making it easier and faster than ever to order from them.
For the small to medium-sized business, hooking up with Amazon is one of those ecommerce trends that is a no-brainer.
There are several ways that you can partner with Amazon, from becoming a vendor to listing your eBooks on Kindle. There are also a few ways to advertise on Amazon.
You can use Amazon’s advertising to promote any products that you have listed on their site. You can also partake in more traditional advertising of products that are not featured on Amazon and drive traffic straight to your website.
Better Video and Photography
One of the biggest problems with online shopping has always been product photos and the inability to fully determine what a product looks and feels like until it actually arrives on our doorstep.
People want to see the reality of how a product is used. Adding 360-degree photography to your website creates a more tactile experience and translates into sales.
Video is one of the most important of this year’s ecommerce trends. 80% of all internet traffic will be video within the next few years. Lifestyle marketing continues to grow, and video is a key part of that.
High-quality video can showcase your products in a way that photos cannot. It is much easier to show the actual applications of your products through videos and there is the added bonus of being able to upload that content to YouTube (or D-Tube), funneling customers to your products and services from yet another source.
Blockchain and Crypto Currency
If you are not yet accepting cryptocurrency, now is the time to jump in. Cryptocurrency is one of the most exciting ecommerce trends of 2018.
As early as 2015, there were already over 100,000 merchants worldwide accepting bitcoin payments. Today, Microsoft, Etsy, Shopify, and Stripe all support Bitcoin.
Bitcoin and other crypto transactions are recorded on the Blockchain which manages transactions without the interference of big banks.
The Blockchain is a growing list of records that are inherently resistant to modification as it is an openly distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties. These transactions are verifiable and permanent and cannot be faked easily.
Each block contains encryption that includes information from the block before, a timestamp and transaction information. A block cannot be altered without first changing all the blocks that came before.
Also, because there are no intermediaries, there are no fees associated with transferring funds through the blockchain.
Blockchain has the potential to completely revolutionize the entire ecommerce industry and be used for tasks such as order fulfillment, security, and instant order tracking. Of all the emerging ecommerce trends, this one has the most potential to attract a completely new and different set of consumers to your online store.
BitPay can help you set up bitcoin payment solutions on major ecommerce platforms including Shopify and WooCommerce.
Mobile Shopping Will Continue to Grow
One of the biggest continuing ecommerce trends in 2018 is mobile optimization. Over 50% of all ecommerce is now done via mobile app and that number will only continue to rise in the coming years. If you have not made your site mobile friendly, there is no time left to waste.
Society is suffering from an ever-shortened attention span and most people won’t wait until they are home in front of their laptops to do their shopping. They are increasingly searching and purchasing online from their cell phones or tablets.
Mobile purchasing is the new “impulse buying” and it is not going away.
Learning how to avoid common mobile optimization mistakes will help set you apart from the competition who is behind in the times.
Micro-Targeting Exit Intent
Exit intent is ubiquitous. These are the annoying pop-ups interrupting our browsing journey.
Though it is much maligned, when executed properly, exit intent can greatly increase conversion rates for eCommerce retailers. Exit intent marketing will evolve in 2018 to micro-target user behavior.
Macro targeting is when anyone with a product in their shopping basket who attempts to exit your website, is confronted with a banner reminding them of the items in their cart.
Micro-targeting is more focused. Say you are losing a lot of customers on a specific product page. An exit intent campaign is included to trigger when a user exits from that product page, but only if they’ve been there at least twice before.
The campaign is configured to then apply a promotion code. Consumers who are still undecided may be swayed by the discount that has just popped up on their screen.
This is another one of those ecommerce trends that aims at personalization of service.
In 2018, with more marketers fighting for the same audience, there is a shift towards super niche content.
Establishing more authentic connections with consumers is increasingly becoming a focus of ecommerce retailers.
It is easier to emerge as a market leader when you hone in on a specific niche.
First, learn everything you can about your target audience. Then you will have a better understanding from which to communicate your intent and make a stronger impact. A more developed target audience leads to more efficient marketing campaigns.
Identify digital and in-person communities, like chat rooms, expos, Facebook groups and support groups, where your target audiences are likely to be paying attention.
Immerse yourself in these circles and devote your time understanding how you can best leverage them as a marketer.
After you have found and studied the channels where your audiences are spending time, increase your investment in them. Start with a few distribution channels and slowly expand. Be as visible as you can across as many channels as possible. Contribute guest articles, launch ad campaigns and post how-to videos and product reviews.
Customer retention is important. It is considerably easier to encourage previous customers to buy again than it is to gain new ones. Test these ecommerce trends on your existing clients and then roll them out in new markets.
Let us help you direct your efforts in all the right places, contact us for your free digital marketing review today.
Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry. With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.
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About the author...
Located in the heart of the Emerald Coast - Destin, FL, founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization / and PR campaigns, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.
With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.