Ecommerce continues to grow at a rapid speed. Shopify Plus has published a study in 2019, and they talk about how the industry is expected to reach almost 5 trillion dollars worldwide by the end of 2021.
The growth is attracting more and more potential entrepreneurs. Starting right now is also a good idea because of the pandemic. Covid-19 is keeping people at home, and it is natural that they are spending more time on the internet. And that includes shopping online.
Whether you are still new to the whole e-commerce idea or have an operating venture already, keeping up with the most recent trends should be one of the priorities. It is easy to fall behind your competitors if they were the first to implement a new feature.
The dynamics of e-commerce dictate that you should keep tabs on as much as you can as far as news and trends in your industry go. And blindly guessing what will happen next is not recommended.
Instead of relying on luck and guesses, consider the list of trends below. Some are still in the early stages, whereas others are making their mark already. Look at what you can implement right now, and what you should consider for the near future.
Trend #1 – Personalization
Working with a network of quality POD providers would give you an option to reward your most loyal customers with custom-made merchandise. You can include mugs, pens, t-shirts, key chains, and other products with your brand on it. This personalized gift functions as a method to raise brand awareness. However, having reliable print on demand partners and rewarding customers are only a small part of personalization.
Given all the e-commerce stores on the internet, quite a few people struggle to choose where they want to spend their money. Personalization is also a process in which a website dynamically shows content, product recommendations, and specific offers.
An increase in customer retention is one of the advantages of personalization. Regular customers are happy to see products that might interest them as soon as they visit the store. According to a 2018 Epsilon US research, 80 percent of shoppers are more likely to spend their money on an online store that provides a personalized experience.
Trend #2 – Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is one for the future. Nevertheless, looking at how fast this technology is developing, it will not be too long before VR becomes a norm. In fact, some are already working on it. Alibaba, for instance.
No option to try the product yourself is one of the biggest disadvantages of ecommerce. It is not the same as visiting a brick and mortar store.
On the other hand, putting on VR goggles would allow customers to feel and see the products. For example, if you are looking to purchase furniture, guessing how and whether it would fit is not the best option. But when you have a couch or chairs in front of you, it is much easier to get the whole picture and make the decision.
Trend #3 – Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is also shaping up the ecommerce industry. Machine learning makes it easier to collect user information and create personalized offers. Intelligent product recommendations increase conversion rates.
Of course, AI is helpful not just for making more sales. Efficient inventory management is also a big part of having a successful business. And while most businesses still rely on manpower, AI-enabled inventory management seems to be gaining more momentum.
Collecting data and leaving some processes to machines certainly increases one’s efficiency. It is easier to predict sales trends, changes in product demands, and even potential issues that could have a negative impact.
Trend #4 – Environmentally-Friendly Ecommerce
Our planet is facing environmental problems, and more shoppers are aware of it. Multiple campaigns on a local and global level are helping to spread the information. This is a challenge that ecommerce businesses have to think about as well.
Having a bad reputation does not bode well for those who are hoping to have a sustainable career in ecommerce. Popularity is directly related to how many sales you can make. In other words, if you are not popular and have a bad name, customers will avoid you.
SearchNode carried out a survey in 2019. They asked 160 ecommerce businesses to provide answers. 72 percent of respondents said that they are aware of environmental problems and have taken at least one action to become more environment-friendly.
Trend #5 – Product Subscription
The increase in subscription model popularity is not that difficult to explain. Studies show that receiving a package is akin to us, consumers, getting a gift. Getting in the habit of receiving regular subscription boxes is simple, but breaking out of it is not. Most people do not cancel their subscription boxes.
If you start a subscription box as well, focus on value. Think about how you can ensure customer loyalty. It should take precedence over trying to generate leads or increase sales.
The right partners are also crucial as you would not be able to provide decent products. Use what data you have and create a subscription box that you believe would succeed. Test the market and see how it goes. Also, do not forget that you can always make adjustments if things are not working in your favor in the beginning.
Trend #6 – Direct Sales on Social Media
Social media marketing plays a prominent role in the success of businesses. You have millions of active users every day on platforms like Facebook and Instagram and a perfect social media strategy to have successful B2B business.
Influencer marketing is also one of the biggest attractions. You can find influencers and micro-influencers in virtually every niche. So it is no surprise that selling directly on social media is also becoming more popular.
Facebook is a perfect example. It has a marketplace feature that allows even regular users to put on an ad of a product they want to sell. Plenty of sale-driven groups are also available on the platform.
It appears that users are also getting used to looking for more stuff to buy on social media, even if it is second-hand. You could hire someone and give them a position to sell directly on social media.
Trend #7 – Chatbots
Modern shoppers are looking to finish the shopping process quickly. They do not have the time to wait around. So when a problem arises, and the customer support is unable to help immediately, it is highly likely that a potential customer will look elsewhere.
Chatbots can be an answer to the issue. There are promising developments in this technology. Talks about more automation in the world of ecommerce are nothing new, and AI chatbots are a part of that.
While bots cannot quite replace real humans yet, machine learning is helping chatbots improve on a daily basis. Having an immediate response 24/7 improves customer experience significantly. And you can add chatbots to most of your communication channels, not just the website.
Trend #8 – Multiple Payment Options
While most people use credit cards as a payment option, disregarding other methods is not a good strategy. Shopping cart abandonment is a big problem, and lack of available payment methods is one of the reasons why customers do not finish the checkout process.
Skrill, PayPal, Payoneer, and even cryptocurrency are finding their way on more and more ecommerce stores. Do not make a mistake of avoiding these options. Being one of the first to implement multiple payment methods would give you an advantage over the competitors.
Trend #9 – Simple Checkout Process
The checkout process itself should also be simple. Some stores take things a bit too far by having multiple registration steps for new users. And even after you submit the necessary information, you need to click on a link sent via email to complete the registration.
The longer someone has to spend in the checkout or registering an account, the less likely that they will finish the purchase. It all adds up to the problem of abandoned shopping carts. As does hidden shipping and other fees. Make sure that the checkout process in your store is optimal and simple.
Trend #10 – Mobile Optimization
The most recent graph on Statista’s page reveals that more than 50 percent of internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets are more convenient for some people. Failing to optimize the website for mobile users will cost you a lot of business.
But do not stop with just a website. When you feel like the time for developing an application is there, hire a reliable developer and get started on the app as soon as you can. Even less-known brands have applications that simplify shopping in their store even more. It seems like the mobile internet is the future, and those who do not realize that are bound to lose out on a lot of customers.
Trend #11 – Search for New Marketing Channels
Having reliable marketing strategies like SEO, PPC, and social media is all well and good. However, focusing entirely on those without any thoughts about looking for new channels is not the best plan.
Be on the lookout of new and emerging platforms, especially if you are in a competitive niche. Those who make the first move are usually the ones to reap the most benefits.