E-commerce continues to evolve at a fast pace, and you need to keep up with the current e-commerce trends to continue to attract more e-shop visitors and convert them into buyers.
The global e-commerce growth is stunning. In 2017, it was around $2.3 trillion and is expected to reach $4.5 trillion in 2021, according Statista. In the United States alone, e-commerce accounts for almost 10 percent of retail sales — a number that is increasing by nearly 15% each year.
Which ecommerce trends are set to dominate 2018? In this article, we discuss the 5 most powerful e-commerce trends you need to know in order to keep growing and stay ahead of the competition.
But before we get started, you might want to take a look at Statly, a powerful software that allows you to monitor e-commerce store traffic, track visitor behavior and analyze actions and conversions, easier and simpler than ever before.
With Statly, you’ll be able to make sense of your numbers instead of getting lost in data that you cannot interpret to your benefit. Statly enables you to make informed decisions on which e-commerce trends appear to work for your store.
1. Influencer marketing
Micro-influencers marketing has been riding on the back of the social media explosion. The marketing channels for this event have been Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. But blogging and Pinterest are also very effective.
The top end of the influencer spectrum is taken by celebrities like Kim Kardashian. Kim has reportedly had companies paying her up to $500,000 to share their brands with her 95 million followers. But you don’t need to be a celebrity to be an influencer.
At the other end of the spectrum, are micro-influencers who build a base of loyal and active followers through a niche interest or a particular passion. The niche could be any subject ranging from babies to business, cats to cars, or face cream to fashion, and anything else you can think of. These micro-influencers may have only 3000 followers or even 100,000 followers.
What is influencer marketing?
At a simple level, it is word-of-mouth marketing on a massive scale. The stay-at-home mom who runs a blog about parenting her pre-schoolers reviews a book about “How to End Temper Tantrums” and her 5000 devoted followers are straight onto Amazon to place an order.
Why is influencer marketing so effective?
Our stay-at-home mom, and the other micro-influencers, are changing how products and brands are perceived. Direct marketing is often impersonal and seen as having a vested interest. And consumers don’t know the product nor do they know the salesperson. Direct marketing often needs a two-step approach to making a sale and then a raft of bonuses and money-back guarantees to win over the customer.
But if a member of your family or a friend recommends a product you are more likely to buy without hesitation. A micro-influencer is seen in the same light. You can relate to them, you feel you know them, and they are trustworthy.
How can you work with micro-influencers?
Micro-influencers are for you if you have a micro budget! It is easier and cheaper than other traditional forms of online marketing (think Google AdWords!). Check out social media platforms for your niche, and team up with those micro-influencers. It is an effective way to promote your product or service.
2. Email marketing
Email marketing is a very effective way to connect with your customers, and others, who have subscribed to your mailing list.
So, why is email marketing included in current e-commerce trends? The modern consumer has evolved beyond the scope of this older marketing strategy. But when it comes to getting your product or service in front of your customers, email marketing leaves social media standing. Email converts readers to buyers at a higher rate than other marketing platforms.
Email is also evolving. You can target your customers with relevant special offers based on their buying habits. Emails are interactive. Now your customers can make secure purchases directly from within their email with just one click.
Email is an excellent method to establish long-term relationships with your customers. Email marketing allows you to educate your clients, and share tips and tricks related to your niche. In turn, you can receive great feedback from your customers and new product ideas by the creative use of competitions and surveys. Email is an efficient way to drive customers to your website.
3. Mobile marketing
Most of your customers use mobile devices. In 2018, more than 50% of internet traffic comes from smartphones and tablets (source: Statista). Therefore, a website that is responsive to mobiles is essential.
It is now more likely that e-commerce customers will reach your website from a smartphone or tablet.
Many people from across the age ranges are becoming more confident with buying products and services through their mobile devices.
Marketing Week reported that 33% of 18—24-year-olds preferred to buy products directly through Facebook. This statistic should encourage businesses to create a marketing budget for social media. Run a Facebook Ads mobile campaign directed at this age group.
Mobile marketing is changing the face of e-commerce, just look at the rise of Uber as an example. There are over a million apps available for smartphones and tablets. PayPal and Apple Pay working with banks and other institutions will affect the way we move our money. So now is the time to consider mobile first, when creating your e-commerce marketing campaigns.
It’s not too late to adopt a mobile mentality. Mobile traffic is the future!
4. Voice search
When voice search came out on Siri, few people had thought to buy products with their voice commands.
Apart from Apple’s Siri, we now have Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant. They have different skill sets. For example, Alexa can tell you what the weather will be tomorrow. Google Assistant can book an appointment for you with your local hairdresser.
We can talk to our smartphone to make a Google Search or instruct our phone to call a friend. Many people who have used these voice search platforms wonder what life was like before they had them.
Why are people taking to voice search in such a big way? Here are the reasons according to one survey:
- It’s quicker than going to a website or using an app.
- I can use it while I’m driving.
- It’s more fun!
- And, it’s easier than going on a website.
- It’s a more exact way of searching.
- I don’t like typing on my mobile phone.
We type at 40 words a minute and speak at 150 words per minute. So we can get our question answered faster with a voice search.
Computers now understand voice commands. Anyone who has used the “voice to text” feature in Google Docs will know how accurate voice recognition technology is.
So, what’s the take on this for e-commerce? It is important to optimize your website and blogs for voice search. Then you can work on your product pages and descriptions for voice search. Start with using search phrases that people use and questions they ask, rather than keywords.
Voice search on your website makes it more accessible for those with physical disabilities. Offering clients an experience they are familiar with, you can expect to increase conversions in your e-commerce store.
5. Chatbots for a better user experience
Keeping your visitors engaged on your website is an essential part of digital marketing. This is often overlooked by e-commerce store operators. Lower your ‘bounce’ rate by letting Chatbots take the strain! If you don’t get that qualified customer, then one of your competitors will!
What are Chatbots?
We mentioned examples of Chatbots (Bots) in an earlier section, Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant. If you thought Bots are just for the big boys, you can think again! Bots as pieces of software are now within the scope of a small business’s budget. So it is important to understand how they can help you succeed.
A Chatbot (a robot that chats!) is software that copies human phases. It works through voice commands, text chats, or both. Your customers can have a ‘virtual’ conversation by asking your Bot a question. And the Bot can give an automated response or carry out a task.
Bots work well with e-ommerce. They can engage visitors. They can send newsletters, daily updates, and generate leads.
Using a Bot
A Bot is a virtual assistant that handles your repetitive tasks. This software is a great way to enhance customer relationships.
A customer can visit your website at any time of day or night and your friendly Bot pops up with a greeting. Your visitor asks “Do you sell widgets?” the Chatbot can recognize information and give a reply “We have the best stock of widgets in the county”. The Chatbot can ask your visitor “Can I help you with your order? Your customer might reply “I want information”. To which your Bot asks for name and email address to send information. The customer is added to your mailing list.
Advantages of using Chatbots for you and your customers are:
- Your customers are familiar with this communication.
- Bots offer a good user experience, can be programmed to answer FAQs.
- Customers can find what they are looking for quicker.
- A Bot helps create a personal customer experience.
- A Bot will help to create a higher profile for your business.
- Your customer service can run 24/7
Technology is improving by the day, and that makes personalization a must on customers’ e-commerce journeys.
Moreover, there are some Chatbot services, like ManyChat, that allow you to create a Bot without code.
Powerful e-commerce trends — What’s more?
We haven’t mentioned Visual Search Technology and Augmented Reality!
The emerging technology and e-commerce trends will change how businesses run and what they offer.
As important as technology is, customer experience is more important! The base of any business is to offer a better customer experience, and be prepared to change to deliver that foundation.
Using Email and Bots helps to build a lasting relationship with customers. And that is what will make sure a business is well placed to stay profitable for the long term.