Trends in The E-commerce Industry:
More than 50% of Americans prefer to shop online, Of the 96% of people who have made at least one online purchase, 80% of those have purchased items online in the past month. While these stats don’t bode well for brick and mortar retailers, which are shuttering at alarming rates, they do prove that e-commerce is booming.
Of course, that’s no guarantee that every e-commerce business will succeed. It’s becoming a crowded and competitive market no matter what your niche is. To stay ahead, you need to be aware of what’s trending. That’s the key to staying competitive. Check out these ten e-commerce industry trends in the e-commerce industry you must know.
1- Subscription-Based Services Will Continue to Boom
The concept of making online purchases using a subscription model started with SAAS. Then, companies like Uber and Airbnb expanded it with the “platform as a service”. Today, online retailers have seen the value in offering consumers the ability to spread their costs out through subscription-based systems.
Dollar Shave Club stands out as one of the more well-known retailers using this model. In addition to this, consumers are now purchasing monthly subscription boxes where they receive products including dog toys, makeup, snack items, and science fiction collectables. Even Six Flags now allows customers to use a subscription service rather than purchasing passes using a single payment.
2- The Relationship Between E-Commerce Sites And Social Media Will Grow:
Two years ago Instagram expanded its advertising offerings from a select group to everyone. Snapchat also began offering brand advertising opportunities. Facebook updated its messaging app to allow users engaging with retailers to make purchases. They also relaunched the Facebook marketplace later. In the coming year, this trend will continue with new advertising opportunities, and ways to facilitate engagement between retailers and consumers. C2C e-commerce will also be impacted as individuals find ways to use social media to reach one another, possibly edging out C2C platforms.
According to Facebook, 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month. A good part of this popularity can be attributed to trust. Take into consideration a C2C marketplace like Craigslist. Buyers and sellers know nothing about one another other than what is included in the ad, and any conversation that happens between them.
That’s not usually the case with social media-based C2C. Buyers and sellers can see one another’s profiles and posts. Further, with many buy and sell groups being either location or niche based buyers and sellers often have friends in common.
That familiarity and connection make it easier to build trust. Use this to have a better relationship with your customers.
3- Chatbots Will Become More Helpful And Less Pushy:
Chatbots are not new. If you shopped online, chances are you dealt with at least one chatbot. Unfortunately, the way many retailers chose to use them was often intrusive and tone-deaf. Now, technology has made chatbots much more helpful, and brands are implementing them in a way that actually helps, by identifying potential pain points in the customer journey.
Several luxury brands including Tommy Hilfiger and Estee Lauder are using chatbots to curate personalized shopping experiences for their followers. Hilfiger, in particular, offers a ‘Find Your New Look’ option where the bot leads the customer through a series of questions about the colours and prints that they like as well as other preferences. It even asks about the event the ensemble will be worn at, then offers up some suggested looks.
4- Online Shopping Experiences Will be Customized in Real-Time:
By compiling data including demographics, previous purchases, location, preferences, and previous brand engagement, companies can now create customized online shopping experiences. This will include product recommendations and uniquely personalized content. Each new experience will be different as e-commerce technology trends now allow retailers to base the customer’s current experience on their last interaction.
73% of customers prefer customized shopping experiences. This is why e-commerce brands such as Shopify and Magento are adding personalization engines to their offerings.
5- Retailers Will Focus on Omnichannel Even More
Retailers are realizing that many of their customers are engaging with them through multiple channels. For example, it was once thought that while mobile users made up the highest number of shoppers, the number of mobile conversions still lagged. As it turns out, this was misleading. Mobile users were converting. They were simply waiting until they were home and using their desktops and laptops.
Consumers are simply more comfortable shopping from these devices than mobile, especially when considering large ticket items. Then there are the consumers who browse online but purchase in-store. To be successful, brands will need to focus on creating a cohesive omnichannel experience.
6- Brands Will Set Their Sights on China:
China is the source of the e-commerce boom. In the coming months, many brands will seek out new opportunities by marketing their products and services to the Chinese. For many, this will be their first experience in the international market. In order to succeed, they will need to overcome a bit of a learning curve and invest in services including website translation and localization.
7- Retailers Will Have to Fight Content Shock:
Content shock is the concept that as more retailers are engaging with customers online, and producing content things will eventually hit a saturation point. This will mean the volume of content will exceed the ability of humans to consume it. The reality of this is becoming more and more clear.
To overcome this, and ensure that their content is consumed, e-commerce businesses will need to dump junk content and replace it with well-produced relevant offerings. This means accepting only the best content, using high-quality visuals, and implementing tools such as post title formatters and best writing services to make content shine.
8- The Month of Cyber November Will Kick Off The Holiday Shopping Season:
Black Friday has been a tradition for decades. With online shopping came the advent of Cyber Monday. Things continued when both brick and mortar, as well as online retailers, began offering the Black Friday experience as early as Wednesday. Now, many online retailers are simply adopting the concept of Cyber November and treating it as the kick-off to the holiday season.
9- Mobile Payments Meet Wearables:
The wallet is going away. Not only are consumers moving towards mobile payment apps, but other devices including wearables are also signalling the end of wallet based payment options such as cash and debit/credit cards.
Retailers who are still baulking when it comes to embracing these forms of payment will find themselves doubly behind the times when this year closes out.
10- Use of Shoppable Videos Will Increase:
A couple of years ago, YouTube gave users the ability to pop up little advertising cards in their videos. These displayed content relevant products that users could purchase by clicking on them. There is nothing revolutionary about this, and so far the implementation is kludgy at best.
However, there have been advancements in the technology behind the programmatically enhanced video. This could be the year where these advances are combined with the concept of shoppable videos to offer customers a much better experience.
These are the trends that both existing and emerging e-commerce businesses need to know. They can be used to identify what actions need to be taken in order to remain competitive and grow.