After the peak sales of the holidays, comes a brief respite. It is a good time to put your thinking cap on and make a plan for 2018. New trends are shaping the future of e-commerce and with revenues expected to exceed $460 billion in 2018, it’s important to carefully plan your strategy for your slice of this extremely competitive billion-dollar pie. Let’s take a look at the e-commerce trends for 2018 to help you with your plans.
How much time do you spend on your smartphone looking at videos? If you’re like most smartphone users, odds are quite a bit of time. E-commerce is primed to make the most of the growing popularity of video content in our mobile-culture. As an e-commerce entrepreneur or retailer, video is about as close as you can get to a direct conversation with your audience, face-to-face. Studies show that video content marketing can increase clickthrough by 200-300% and can also increase purchase intent by 97%. To put it simply, video content done right is a lot more engaging than mere text and images. Live videos drive engagement 300% more than recorded videos.
It’s getting easier to create affordable videos of high quality with new apps and platforms. Sidely lets you create video content to share on social media and Wistia offers video analytic features. A strategy for video content to drive business should be part of your plans.
Voice search is rising in popularity. 40% of millennials have implemented a voice search prior to a purchase and by 2020, this number will exceed 50%. To make the most of voice search optimize your Google My Business listings. A conversational approach is the way to go. Your content must be relevant to the terms a customer would use when searching for what your business offers.
Omni is the Way
In 2018, it will not be sufficient to simply have a presence on multiple channels. Integration or going omni-platform and omni-device is necessary to stay competitive. Google findings state that 85% of online shoppers begin a purchase on one device and complete it on another. Going omni for multi-channel shoppers requires a seamless visual and UI experience across platforms for the feel of a consistent experience. Planning this consistency necessitates consistent sales processes, messaging, design, branding, social media content and so on. A mobile app (for the growing legion of mobile shoppers) that seamlessly integrates with your other channels is also a vital aspect of this consistency and omni-channel approach.
AR (Augmented Reality)
Using Augmented Reality (AR) on mobile devices is a great way for marketers to engage with their audiences. AR is fun and interactive. Brands could project their products into a user’s environment. Snapchat has already rolled out an AR feature. 2018 is likely to see more brands integrate AR into their platforms.
Chatbots provide customers with an instant connection at any time. In 2018, chatbots that function through messenger apps will play a bigger role, sending customers personalized content, deals, and purchase suggestions. 60% of millennials have already used chatbots and 71% would like to try one. With over a billion people on FB messenger each month, marketers can capitalize on this opportunity for exponential reach and engagement.
More Fulfillment Options
Online shopping is an extremely competitive business. Brands that can deliver orders fast will win the race for customers. It comes down to how fast shipments can be sent after orders are placed. Fulfillment companies that offer shipping cutoff times later in the day will help you win as orders are more likely to be shipped the same day. Branding that is memorable to customers is also important; whether it is custom boxes, free stickers or customized packing tape think about what you can do to add that wow factor to the customer experience.
Make the most of creative storytelling to stand apart and drive business. This is going to be a necessary strategy for brands in 2018. An experienced writer or content strategist can develop content across a spectrum of topics for your e-commerce audience. The next step is to apply these stories to your business from social media and newsletters to packaging and confirmation of orders. This will help drive conversions and carve out a unique identity that differentiates your business.
E-commerce is a billion-dollar business and 2018 promises to be an even bigger year. Capitalize on these new trends when formulating your strategies for the new year to stay ahead of the game.