We can all agree that eCommerce has gone beyond an online purchase into more interactions relying on technology to move goods. There might be the odd exception but generally speaking, stores can no longer survive without an online presence. Companies need to be on their customers’ preferred channels and retailers must integrate eCommerce to truly succeed.
Last year already showed signs of eCommerce dominance with Amazon buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion; Google Home and Walmart’s collaboration to ship items to people via Google Express, and internet clothing sensation, Everlane, opened its first brick-and-mortar store.
So what is there to look forward to in 2018? Reports suggest most eCommerce trends are pointing towards even greater consumer satisfaction. Take a look at these trends we’ve highlighted.
eCommerce, Mobile and Personalisation
Personalisation is expected to grow as some of it is driven by AI and mobile. As quoted by Tristan Walker, CEO and founder of Walker & Company Brands, “One thing we’ve proven with our brand … is personalised products that keep up with that person’s lifestyle. A respect for everyone’s unique differences.” Walker’s company brand, FORM Beauty, focuses on creating a specialised hair routine for individuals which is personalisation in true form.
AI also plays a different role with mobile which was recently outlined by Robert Garf, VP of industry strategy and insights at Salesforce Commerce Cloud. He said the real trick is that in order to enable AI, retailers need to double down on really putting consumer data back in the consumer experience. AI can help consumers get better product recommendations, price updates or even reminders of their size for a specific item.
From online subscriptions, buying products, renewing services to checking out or buying in-store, mobile checkout will become a convenience. It will become something customers can’t do without and something businesses can ill-afford to ignore.
According to Statista 2017 report, about 39% of sales are via mobile devices and mobile traffic will increase 8 times by 2020. Pay special attention to this if your eCommerce website isn’t yet mobile-oriented and responsive.
IoT and Digital Retail Stores
Shop retail isn’t totally dead, at least not yet, but instead, we are seeing a major transformation. Traditional retailers are slowly being replaced by a new breed of retail stores and digital in-person experiences. These stores will exist in pop-up shops, on social networks, on IoT devices wherever the consumer is. According to Garf, “That really creates a fundamental change for companies who have wired their whole operating technologies to inform consumers on their four walls.”
Companies need to find the right balance between the physical showroom and digital ‘webroom’. Events, demonstrations and in-house experience need to be redesigned. A number of large retailers already started and among these are:
- Sephora with the beauty insider program
- Target, with a redesigned store and it’s on again and off again curbside pickup strategy
- Nordstrom Local, a store that offers concierge services like a stylist and manicures
- Frank And Oak online menswear brand opened 16 physical stores in North America. The in-store experience includes premium coffee and barbershop services
Voice Searching and Shopping
Voice search is set for a drastic increase in 2018 and this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. The average typing speed is 40 words per minute compared to speaking 150 words per minute. ComScore reported that 50% of search will be via voice by 2020 and that’s just two years away.
The growth of voice search backs this up as Deloitte reports that 11% of smartphone users use voice search regularly and more than half of them started using it last year. In addition, Google’s stats show that 20% of searches within the US are already through voice.
Jonathan Opdyke, chief strategy officer for Criteo, believes voice shopping presents a unique opportunity for advertisers to use in ads, similar to the radio. Voice-assistant products like the Amazon Echo or Google Home also give brands a chance to connect with the consumer. A post from Geomarketing showed how 65% of people who own an Amazon Echo or Google Home can’t imagine life before they had a smart speaker. In the same group, 42% say the voice-activated devices have quickly become “essential” to their lives.
CEO of Fiverr, Micha Kaufman added that, “The rise of personal assistants has absolutely increased engagement, and as more consumers become comfortable with the process, more will rely upon the technology to accomplish everyday tasks, including purchasing.”
More often than not, people follow people and popular trends but not everyone is in agreement as some believe it will be no more than a distraction. Regardless though, it is something everyone is paying close attention to and wants to learn more about.
Augmented Reality Front And Center
Augmented Reality (AR) is going to be huge in 2018. Numerous brands are rolling out features that will allow consumers to use their mobile devices to visualize items in their home or office before purchasing.
According to Arati Sharma, director of Marketing at Shopify, “In a similar vein to video, VR and AR offer huge opportunities for the eCommerce brand, letting consumers experience products in as close to ‘real life’ as possible before buying.”
Amazon has already developed an augmented reality device named Echo Look. It uses a special camera with depth measurement space and built-in lighting to produce high-quality pictures and videos. As a result, consumers can try on different styles in real-time without visiting the store.
IKEA Place is another augmented reality app that lets consumers experience and share IKEA products virtually added into any space. The products are 3D and to scale so customers get a great visualisation of whether or not the furniture or accessory will fit and what it would look like.
Even though looking forward is great advice, don’t forget the past. We only really learn when we try and often through mistakes, achieve great success. If the past has taught the world anything, it’s to keep up with technology trends or be left behind.
Contact WSI eMarketing today to discuss your marketing strategy and increase your conversion rate for 2018. We can assist in all things digital including Marketing Automation, Mobile Marketing, PPC, SEO, Social Media Management and more.