When something new appears in the world of tech, you can trust e-commerce to be at the bleeding edge of embracing this innovation – at least if we speak about stores that really intend to grab a good chunk of that sweet $4.1bn in sales e-commerce is projected to make in 2020, according to Statista. Are you lagging behind? Was it a while since you last reviewed your marketing approach and introduced a new high-tech approach to your toolset? If not, now is high time to jump the bandwagon and look for ways to incorporate these e-commerce trends into your strategy.
Perhaps a true self-aware AI is still a way off, but its smaller and simpler siblings are already here in the form of chatbots and AI assistants. They have been already used for some time to carry out a number of more straightforward activities that do not require a human interference, but as 2019 picks up speed, it becomes obvious that they actively begin to occupy functions that previously were solely human prerogative, such as telemarketing call centers. AI assistants can also be given many tasks that previously could only have been done by humans, such as managing inventories and handling inquiries, thus freeing up time and resources that can be used doing other, more important activities.
Interactive product visualization
All of us at least at one point of our lives doubted whether to buy something online even though we wanted to do it. In a brick-and-mortar store, you can interact with a product before you pay for it, you can see whether it suits you, you can judge its quality, you can see if it is free of flaws and so on. With an online store, you lack this opportunity, which is especially important for high-value products: Brand watches, brand clothing, high-end electronics and so on. This is why e-commerce businesses are ever more eager to use anything technology offers them to erase any doubts a client feels: 3D imaging, virtual reality, augmented reality and so on, all giving one an opportunity to fully interact with a product using just a smartphone or a PC.
Clients today are steering further and further away from a 'one size fits all' mentality and expect businesses not just to offer them a huge variety of products to choose from, but also to allow them to customize what they are offered to fit their every whim.
This is going much further than allowing clients to choose their size of clothing. Products can be either custom made or adjusted to meet the customer's needs. Anything from a pair of shoes to a car can be personalized, and clients expect to be given such an opportunity.
Voice search is a relatively new function, but it is already responsible for about 20% of all search queries, and many, many experts cite ComScore's projection that its share will rise up to 50% by as soon as 2020. This signifies a huge opportunity for e-commerce businesses because customers are getting more comfortable about making purchases through products such as Alexa or Google Home device. To be able to ride the voice search trend, you should concentrate on long-tail keywords, because voice searches tend to be longer and more natural than text searches.
Subscriptions and bundling
The subscriptions e-commerce tended to be a fair niche direction, but over the last 5 years it grew by 500% according to McKinsey, and this trend is not likely to break in 2019. As it becomes easier for small online retail stores to compete with giant networks in this market, subscriptions and bundling become a lucrative way of creating highly valuable customers with long customer lifetimes. If a subscription-based model makes sense for your brand, you should at least try to take part in this trend by introducing a subscription box containing interesting add-ons.
More influencer marketing
Influencers are an integral part of modern marketing by now, and they are here to stay. As millennials begin to form a larger percentage of high-paying customers every year, their behavioral trends become more significant in the big picture. And according to a recent Collective Bias survey, 70% of them make their purchasing decisions based on the opinions of their peers while 30% of clients claim to be more likely to buy a product if it is recommended by a non-celebrity blogger.
AI and machine learning
AI and machine learning (ML) create new and better ways of improving sales funnels, providing more personalized, engaging and targeted user experiences without spending extra resources. AI-based analytics will provide deeper insights into what happens with the store and what has to be changed to improve its stats.
E-commerce is constantly changing, and if you do not keep up with the times, you risk losing the momentum and customers. Keep abreast of the change and make sure you incorporate these trends into your marketing approaches.