Seven exciting E-commerce trends for business owners in 2018
Seven exciting E-commerce trends for business owners in 2018
It is remarkable to see how far E-commerce has come in such a short time. Think about it, ten years ago, E-commerce was barely a ‘thing’. Very few shops had online purchasing facilities. But now, you can buy anything from groceries to clothing, and electronics.
E-commerce has revolutionised the business world. Previously only the largest companies offered online shopping facilities, but now the smallest of businesses can play on the same global stage. It has got to the point where you are penalising your business if you don’t offer an online store.
But, this rising phenomenon is always evolving to serve the demands of the consumer market. Is your E-commerce store keeping up? Are you able to offer your customers the latest and most significant technologies and advancements?
Let’s look at the current 2018 E-commerce trends and see if they might work for your business.
1: Mobile shopping
With the advancement of technology, more and more people are choosing to use their mobile device on a desktop computer. That is not just to search for information, but to purchase as well. In fact, it is estimated that 40% of all E-commerce revenue will come from mobile in the next year. So, it is vitally important that your website is optimised for mobile.
2: SaaS E-commerce platforms
Implementing an E-commerce website for your business used to involve a significant investment. But SaaS platforms have changed all of that. SaaS stands for Software as a Service and Shopify websites are a great example of this technology. Put simply, SaaS is an entirely cloud-based software solution that includes hosting and server maintenance and can be accessed from any device with a browser and an internet connection.
Instead of each website requiring custom coding, businesses can select a basic template and modify it accordingly. The popularity of this software continues to rise and makes E-commerce accessible to merchants of all sizes.
Automation is a trend that just makes sense. Instead of wasting time on repetitive manual tasks, harness the power of automation to give you more time in your day. Some great ways of using automation in your business are collecting email addresses at checkout for remarketing, sending abandoned cart emails to recover lost sales, and implementing chatbots to reach even more customers.
As part of your automation process, you can take advantage of ‘machine learning’. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence where technology tracks statistics and habits to ‘learn’ about consumer behaviour. For example, if you have a customer that regularly buys an item every six months, machine learning would allow you to send them a reminder each time they are due to buy.
Blurry, skewed or distorted photos are no longer going to cut it. When people are shopping online, they only have images and video to go by. They cannot physically pick a product up in their hands, so your images need to tell the right kind of story. For this reason, you should only use high-quality images that showcase your products.
Also, don’t fall into the trap of using generic stock photos. Stand out from the crowd with original content that grabs your readers attention. Make the most of technology by using 360° photography, animation, GIFs, and video.
Hint: If you don’t have access to a professional photographer you can follow this guide to capture high-quality product photos on your smartphone
5: Social shopping
With the implementation of Facebook and Instagram ‘shopping’ functions, Social Shopping is set to skyrocket this year. Not only can you showcase your products within these apps, but you can also sell them. That’s right; your customers can purchase your products from the apps they spend so much of their time using.
These highly visual platforms allow you to tap an image and buy the item right then and there. Customers will not even have to leave the app to purchase. Embracing this advancement will allow your customers to easily grab your items without having to be distracted from their feed.
6: New technologies
These new technologies are all set to play a bit part in online shopping in 2018…
AR and VR: Instead of your customers having to wonder what an item would look like in their home, the power of technology can show them with a combination of their smartphone and AR.
Voice Search: Voice assistants are on the rise, and people are embracing the ability to search online without needing to type. Considering implementing voice searching on your store could improve the shopping experience for your customers.
Cryptocurrency: Many big online retailers support cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as they have advanced transactional security and minimal risk of payment fraud. Watch this space on the growing popularity of these currencies.
7: Seamless experience
Many carts are abandoned because the checkout process becomes too hard. This will happen more and more as consumers are looking for an easy solution. Prevent that from happening by considering the following
Site Performance: Your site must be quick to load and easy to navigate. All your links should work and there should not be too many steps involved for your customers to get what they need.
Serve Your Customers: It is far more important that your website serves your customer well, instead of trying to impress them with flashy technology for the sake of it.
Live Chat: Give your customers the information they need immediately, or risk losing the sale. A great way to do this is to implement a live chat function on your site.
These are just some of the E-commerce trends we expect to see in the market in 2018. It is an exciting time to be running an online business as so many new doors are opening to help you serve your customers in the best and easiest way possible.
About the author:
Managing Director of Hello Digital
Angus is an experienced and passionate digital entrepreneur who has worked with clients around the world on a wide range of E-commerce and retail projects. Angus is excited about technology, change, and transformation, and has spoken about these topics, and more, at various events, workshops, and classes in New Zealand. As Hello Digital's Managing Director he oversees the day-to-day operations of the company and is the primary point of contact for our consulting clients and international partners.