Top 10 eCommerce Marketing Trends To Pay Attention To In 2018
E-Commerce has incredibly matured in the last decade and is likely inseparable from what our digital future holds.
For most businesses, having a digital presence is no longer a luxury or just a part of a marketing strategy, it is a powerful necessity. According to Statista, worldwide eCommerce sales are going to experience a huge growth from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.5 trillion in 2021. More than half of all internet users have already purchased goods online, and there is no sign of a slowdown. It has become more relevant than ever to build and develop a strong online presence, which for many business means having a state-of-the-art eCommerce site.
Here are 10 eCommerce trends for 2018 to help you prepare for the opportunities to come and make sure your business remains one step ahead.
Focus on Review Marketing
Web users are tired of excessive online advertising. It has become particularly difficult to grab their attention and get them to see how you can help them through traditional forms of promotion. However, they are increasingly receptive, sometimes even addicted, to feedback, testimonials and reviews. Getting your supporters to write about how they genuinely like you and your products is therefore a sure way to gain people’s trust and acquire new customers. Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of eCommerce giant Amazon.com, once said: “We don’t do any television advertising, and we take all of the money that we would put into television advertising, and instead put it into things like free SuperSaver shipping [free shipping on most orders over $25], lower product prices, category expansion, and invention of new features. We take those funds that might otherwise be used to shout about our service, and put those funds instead into improving the service. That’s the philosophy we’ve taken from the beginning. If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” This was 14 years ago and there couldn’t be a more relevant strategy to follow today.
In-Store is Not Dying
Despite a fast increase in the number of online shoppers, studies show that 50% of millennials still value brick-and-mortar, in-person experience at physical stores. So retailers ideally should combine showrooming with webrooming, in-store experiences with online experiences. When this is not possible, much attention has to be put into making the advantages of physical purchases available through web shopping, improving the experience of buying, picking up and returning items.
Huge Role of User-Generated Content
Retailers have to encourage users to produce content in the form of comprehensive reviews with images, informative feedback and other posts on social media or on the store itself. Customers may be rewarded with discounts, bonus or other incentives. User-generated content can strengthen the interaction between online retailers and consumers and will bring impressive traffic. As Paul Graham put it: “You can’t just open a Web site and expect people to flood in. You may get some amount of traffic from search engines for free, but if you really want to succeed you have to create traffic.” This was in 1997.
Augmented Reality Will Rock E-Commerce
Augmented Reality (AR) will conquer customers and make their shopping experience more satisfying, engaging and efficient. In 2018, social media platforms will likely find out more ways to implement this as part of their core user experience. AR is interactive, easy and fast. By bringing user expectations as close to reality as possible through visualization, it should reduce returns and foster more spontaneous purchases. This will particularly be true for plus-sized items like furniture. It is anticipated that in the next year, 171 million people will use virtual augmented reality as part of their purchase experience. IKEA Place has already developed the possibility for consumers to experiment with their products in 3D and allows to visualize how exactly they would fit in their own home. It sounds unbelievable, but it works!
Video Content Is King
Online retailers should take into consideration the fact that video is becoming the most demanded and fastest growing ad format. According to researchers, by 2020 video content will comprise 80 percent of all web traffic generated by consumers. More and more apps can now be used to help with the creation of high-quality and affordable videos, ready for social sharing and other purposes.
Live Chats and Chatbots for Stimulating Interaction with Customers
Being able to answer customer queries at all time of day and night is becoming increasingly necessary to build a strong brand credibility and provide an optimal shopping experience. Retailers will have to integrate smart conversational agents into their selling platforms to pro-actively engage with visitors based on their behavior, answer pre-sale queries and handle support requests without delays. A hybrid human/bot approach will likely remain the golden standard in 2018.
Moving from Desktop eCommerce to Mobile eCommerce
Online usage has significantly shifted from desktops to all kinds of mobile devices. Despite 72 percent of online purchases still being made on desktop, 53 percent of millennials have a shopping app on their mobiles and tablets. Considering that 88 percent of people use their mobile devices in the discovery phase, having a mobile-optimized website is no longer a nice-to-have feature but a must-have requirement for any serious eCommerce company.
Voice Purchases Gain Momentum
According to researchers, 50 percent of search will be done by voice by 2020. This will undoubtedly affect the eCommerce world. About 40 percent of millennials are already using a voice assistant tool to perform online shopping. Most voice searches are focused on local intent, for example, to order pizza or find the nearest restaurant. So pay attention to this trend and optimize your business website to properly handle this kind of high-buying intent search.
Development of Multichannel Selling
If you want to thrive, don’t rely only on your own website. Think outside the box! Successful brands nowadays try to have a presence across multiple channels. You should make your products available through multiple selling platforms. This will help your brand become more identifiable across the web and maximize your reach.
Increased Interest in DIY Business
Many retailers have turned to DIY platforms to increase their reach. The number of DIY platforms has increased in 2017 and is predicted to grow further. Marketplaces such as as Amazon, eBay and Etsy offer handmade channels where it is possible to gain more visibility, depending on what you are selling.
There will likely be many more different marketing and technological trends affecting eCommerce in 2018, but I think these 10 are the most impressive and innovative. Keep your eyes on them and you will definitely succeed in generating solid income this year.
“If you are not online, your business is about to die.”
Don’t let this happen because these days, running a powerful eCommerce website is extremely easy and affordable. The world’s largest eCommerce template provider, TemplateMonster, has just released a free eBook “How can I create an eCommerce website easily?”, which may help you become more familiar with the world of digital commerce and website development and get started selling online in no time.