There are a number of trends that e-commerce businesses should be paying close attention to if they want to boost sales.
Over that last few years, we have come across numerous e-commerce fads and trends. In order to capitalize, it is really important for businesses to be able to distinguish between the fads and the trends because fads come and go, but trends have a long-term survival and impact rate.
In the e-commerce industry, trends are generally shaped by how customers purchase, what they purchase and how they react to marketing strategies. In the last decade, the emergence of new e-commerce trends has greatly impacted several businesses, including the giants such as Alibaba, Walmart and Amazon and they have devised appropriate strategies to take advantage of the trends.
Here's how the e-commerce industry has evolved over these years:
These are targeted advertisements that are delivered to targeted audiences on the basis of consumption data. In other words, programmatic advertising is the process to deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time. With programmatic advertising, e-commerce store owners are able to reach a wider audience.
Automated marketing campaigns
Marketing automation means more than just implementing scheduled social media marketing or automating email campaigns. It covers different facets of customer experience, including sending customized emails to customers, displaying products on the basis of customers' shopping history, and re-targeting customers with new offers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Appropriate implementation of personalization strategies leads to more sales. However, this would typically depend on the availability of accurate browsing data, which is quite difficult to access. Businesses are addressing this challenge by collaborating with third-party service providers to leverage the potential of AI-powered tools to deliver personalized recommendations.
Better shipping facilities
Things were quite modest in the shipping and logistics field and were mostly limited to free delivery options. In 2013, the industry got a real boost through the introduction of the same-day-delivery option. Of late, Amazon has started experimenting with drone-deliveries. These drones use Google Maps integration to deliver shipments to destinations.
The constant rise in mobile commerce
With online retailers reporting that people are increasingly using mobile phones to make online purchases, businesses are putting a lot of focus on designing mobile-friendly websites. So if you are still having a static website, make sure that you transform it into its responsive counterpart.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR is being increasingly used in product visualization and this trend is more likely to assume a more enhanced form in times to come. In response to the introduction of the AR kit in Apple's new operating system iOS 11, Google introduced AR Code for Android-based smartphones. IKEA created a mark in this domain by introducing an app that allowed users to visualize furniture in their homes using their smartphone cameras with the help of 3D furniture models.
Google has set new guidelines that recommend the inclusion of more textual content in the content for voice search. It is no wonder e-commerce stores have started including voice-enabled buttons on their websites and have been putting a lot of focus on optimizing content for voice search.
Click and shop online
Quite often, customers are being asked to click the photo of a product and order it from an online store. We have witnessed the launch of apps, such as CamFinder. This trend is most likely to promote the sale of affiliate products.
Return of brick-and-mortar stores
The traditional retail stores are back after a downturn. These are new-era outlets that have the capabilities to provide in-person digital experiences to prospective customers who walk into their stores. For example, real estate businesses are now allowing prospective home buyers to get a 3D virtual view of their future homes through virtual reality headsets. Similarly, showrooms are using virtual car demos for first-time visitors.
Increase in subscription-based models
Subscription-based business models are on the rise. New e-commerce businesses can set up subscription-based models, which would give them recurring sales every month.
Use of AI-powered chatbots
With AI-enabled chatbots, businesses will be able to promote better customer engagement by providing their customers with relevant information. It is anticipated that chatbots would become cheaper, better, and more widespread.
The number of blockchain-based apps are on the rise. OpenBazaar is an e-commerce platform that accepts Blockchain payments. Tokens get generated in every transaction. This instills transparency in e-commerce operations. We are most likely to witness the introduction of several blockchain-based marketplaces, cryptocurrency payment systems, and inventory management systems. Different types of cryptocurrencies are emerging for specific markets.
Rise of diverse social payment options
Social payments refer to cash transfers via social media. Major social payment systems that are commonly used are Facebook payments, Apple Pay, Twitter Buy, Google Wallet, etc. These payment systems operate in the same manner as digital bank accounts. Users may either use these systems to buy products from these social media platforms or from other online retailers' websites that allow for transactions to be carried out through these systems.
Delivery of personalized customer experience
Personalization would require online businesses to customize the content of their websites. This would, in turn, mean the display of contextual merchandising. Online businesses should analyze customer data on the basis of purchase history, social behavior, search queries, geographic location, shopping cart, etc. By using data to understand customer behavior, online businesses can enhance customer experience to a significant experience.
Enhanced customer relationship management (CRM)
When e-commerce businesses have an effective CRM model in place, they get several steps closer to building a strong community. The success of e-commerce ventures depends on how entrepreneurs use data that they collect from several sources such as emails, Facebook messenger, on-site chat, order statuses, customer groups, referral programs, SMS, loyalty programs, etc. This year, it is expected that e-commerce businesses would boast stronger and better CRM systems so as to be able to make optimal use of customer data.
Rise in research online purchase offline (ROPO)
The e-commerce industry is anticipating a major rise in ROPO trends. Customers are choosing to look for products online just to purchase the products from retail stores at the best possible prices and while being able to get a proper feel of the quality.
Sales boost due to influencer marketing
Whether you believe or not, online influencers have a large audience and they can actually promote sales through referrals. It is quite surprising to note that customers purchase products based on the recommendations of both celebrity and non-celebrity influencers. Influencer marketing is still in its early youth and so online businesses have a lot to explore in this area. They should, however, make sure to utilize relevant influencers in their niches.
Increasing use of post payments option
Online businesses face losses worth billions of dollars due to cart abandonment that mainly result from the dysfunction of payment gateways or due to the fact that your potential customers do not have sufficient confidence in the quality of your products. By allowing customers to pay for the products after delivery, online businesses can reduce cart abandonment to a great extent.
The e-commerce landscape is witnessing developments and the developments would grow bigger and better day-by-day. Online businesses need to make the best possible use of the most relevant trends so that they can significantly boost their sales.