As the e-commerce industry ticks another year off the calendar, the search for trends for e-commerce trends for 2018 reaches a new high. Whether you are a top e-commerce website development company, a would-be entrepreneur trying to understand how to set up an online boutique, a consultant for the online marketplace or simply a customer who is hungry for more, it will be extremely interesting to examine what 2018 holds for all of us.
Here is what we consider will be the most important trends for e-commerce for 2018. We have grouped them as (a) Customer-focused trends, (b) Technology-focused trends, and (c) Engagement-focused trends.
1. Customers Will Expect More -To begin with, the customer will expect a neat, bug-free website, a smooth shopping experience and have a clear returns/refunds policy without any unfair fine-print.
Next, the customer knows big data has come a long way. Hence, the customer will expect you save her time by knowing her shopping patterns: suggest her the right product, at the right time, at the right price.
- Shipments and Agility Will Be Key-E-commerce companies that can move goods out the moment the customer places an order and yet charge zero or negligible shipping fees are going to win by a bigger margin. In this competitive environment, e-commerce companies have to be innovative in optimizing their last mile deliveries.
2018, we might see a lot of drone delivery services companies like Flytrex kick-starting their operations, as well as mainstream logistics companies like DHL and UPS will invest more in drone delivery services to make it accessible for e-commerce store owners.
1. Artificial Intelligence Will Grow-With Artificial Intelligence (AI), we will see increased use of natural language processing to ultimately bring up vastly better search results. Next, we will be seeing AI tracking customer’s purchase (or cart abandonment) behavior at a much deeper level than humans are capable of. With that, AI will lead up to a hugely efficient and productive sales process because it will generate real, high-value leads for email marketing.
By the end of this year, you will see that customers calls will be reduced and they are going to be using this form of contact less and less time. Instead, customers will be buying products and services and making orders and requesting support through Chatbots.
- Augmented Reality Will Grow Too-Just a couple of summers back, Pokemon Go showed how exciting Augmented Reality (AR) could become.
While AI is geared towards making interactions and processes faster and more efficient, AR focuses on product use and applications. If a customer is looking for, say, a flower vase, AR will place the image of a vase in a digital room so that the customer can see what it looks like with respect to the other objects in the room. If a customer is looking for sunglasses, they can upload a selfie and the AR will digitally superimpose sunglasses on the selfie to help the customer see how they would look with the sunglasses on.
- It Will Be a Multi-Platform, Multi-Device World-No matter what other metrics you get right, if your store isn’t responsive, it stands no chance to win the battle in 2018.
Most customers begin their search on one device and make a purchase from another. If they see major alterations when they switch devices, it is going to put them off and possibly drive them away. That means you will have to keep everything, from product descriptions and searches to navigation, consistent and coherent, irrespective of the device and its platform.
1. The Importance and Versatility of Email Will Continue Growing-With all the content marketing tools around, email stands tall. According to CampaignMonitor, in their 2016 report, every dollar spent on email marketing fetches an ROI of $44 – or a 4400% return!
In 2018, use analytics to build better-targeted email marketing campaigns. Depending on whether it was a casual visitor, a customer making her first purchase or a loyal customer returning, your emails will change. Emails will perform a variety of functions from selling to remarketing to re-engaging, and they are only getting more powerful.
- Data Analytics Will Improve Marketing at Every Stage-Sophisticated analytics are now able to produce data on every action taken – or not taken – by visitors and customers. For instance, any leading Magento e-commerce development company can help you set up the analytics for your site for improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The question is how e-commerce companies will use this wealth of data.
Better content, yes, but video?-If there are a dozen online stores that sell similar products at comparable prices, a customer will buy from a store that excels in engagement. And that engagement will come from personalized, ‘storified’ content. The coming year will see content that is superior not just at the sales point, but pretty much everywhere.
E-commerce is growing rapidly, and to stand out from the crowd, one needs to be a trailblazer and innovate with the changing trends prevailing in the e-commerce industry. Those in charge of developing e-commerce marketing strategies in 2018 should pay close attention to these major trends and formulate an effective strategy to stay ahead of their competitors and convert as many potential customers as possible.