Your guide to eCommerce in the New Year, and beyond
“In the beginning, eCommerce was really about getting commodity products online as cheaply as possible. Now, we’re moving into the more exciting phase of eCommerce; here it’s about emotional products – the things people really cherish.” – Jason Goldberg, Fab.com
2019 is coming at us at full speed, which means it’s time to prepare for another action-packed year in the wonderful world of eCommerce. 2018 has seen some sensational advancements in eCommerce in terms of new technology as well as consumer behavior – and this coming year promises to offer even greater industry shifts, developments, and changes.
That said, to help give you a competitive advantage as we head into the New Year, here we look at the essential eCommerce trends to look out for in 2019.
But, before we delve any deeper, let’s look at some insights that represent the current state of eCommerce:
- Four in five consumers use search engines to source local information.
- 61% of marketers confirm that growing SEO and their organic online presence is a high inbound marketing priority.
- 91% of business leaders agree that marketing automation is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing across channels.
From these insights alone, it’s clear that at present, boosting SEO rankings by generating targeted, strategic brand content is a top priority, as is improved marketing automation. And in 2019, we expect to see more developments in these two key areas, as well as a host of others.
The rise in subscription services
While the subscription business model is by no means new to the world of commerce, since SVoD services like Netflix and Amazon Prime hit the market, its popularity has risen exponentially. In fact, subscription eCommerce sales rose to more than $2.6 billion in 2016, in comparison to $57 million in 2011 – a 4,461% difference.
Not only do today’s consumers enjoy the ongoing convenience and flexibility of the subscription service, but in a time when people crave maximum value from eCommerce brands, offering access to a service or experience for a monthly fee is an excellent way of encouraging brand loyalty while providing yourself with a fresh, reliable revenue stream.
Brands like The Dollar Shave Club (check out their ad at https://youtu.be/QEU-MAZRhJs) and Birchbox have proved that the subscription model works across industries. If you’re thinking of offering your consumers something similar, 2019 is the time to strike.
Advanced product filtering
This year, we saw an increase in advanced or sophisticated product filtering on eCommerce websites, particularly in the fashion industry.
In today’s fast-paced digital age, consumers are looking for a seamless shopping experience. By offering the option to find a specific product with ease by filtering through elements including price, size, color, style, or function, you will help to encourage conversions as well as repeat custom.
This year, we expect to see an evolution of advanced filtering, with brands offering more search options as well as far more intuitive browsing functionality. And if you want to compete in your niche in 2019, now is the time to get onboard.
To help you on your quest, here are the four essential benchmarks of advanced filtering performance:
- Logistics: Does the order of my filtering hierarchy flow naturally and make sense to the user?
- Availability: Are there enough filtering options available to my target users?
- Functionality: Are my filters clear, concise, and easy to understand?
- Cohesion: Do my filters work together rather than against each other?
Deeper levels of personalization
2018 has been a benchmark year for personalization, with more eCommerce businesses using it to increase engagement and enhance the customer experience (CX) across channels. And in 2019, new branches of personalization will emerge.
Presently, 79% of consumers state they’re only likely to engage with an offer if it’s been personalized to reflect their previous interactions with the brand. Moreover, 88% of US marketers reported seeing measurable improvements due to personalization.
Tailoring the online shopping experience to the user works – just ask Amazon – and if you want to compete on tomorrow’s commercial battlefield, it’s an area that you must invest in.
In addition to the wider use (across industries) of personalization technology powered by machine learning (ML) artificial intelligence (AI), new models will be coming out of the woodwork in 2019 – personality-based marketing, to name one.
Delving deeper than buyer personas and digital data alone, personality-based marketing involves marrying machine learning (ML) technology with psychology to develop, curate, and deliver content in a style that is explicitly based on the personality of the customer, improving customer experience and increasing conversions as a result.
While this radical form of personalization is still in its infancy, it will begin to become a pivotal part of eCommerce marketing in 2019. And by researching its possibilities today, you could gain a significant competitive advantage tomorrow, and beyond.
More virtual reality (VR) & augmented reality (AR)
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are already blurring the lines between the physical and digital realms, with immersive apps and content fast becoming the norm.
In recent years, we’ve seen cutting-edge offerings from the likes of Google and IKEA leading the way in immersive brand storytelling and user applications. And studies suggest that 71% of shoppers would shop at a retailer more frequently if they offered some form of AR- or VR-based content or functionality.
Take emerging tech startup Quiver, for example. A company that offers immersive, interactive coloring books for children, Quiver allows youngsters to download, and print, coloring pages – and when finished, use the AR-powered app to bring their pictures to life. Not only does this create an interactive, educational-play opportunity for children of all ages, but it’s also a prime example of how VR and AR can (and will) be used to enhance the storytelling experience. Take a look:
For inspiration in adding a new dimension of value to your content in 2019, explore these four prime examples of brand storytelling in the digital age.
Automation has revolutionized a multitude of sectors, and eCommerce is no exception.
On average, 49% of businesses are currently using marketing automation. What’s more, the AI market (which is driving automation) is expected to be worth $16.06 billion by 2022, rising at a CAGR of 62.9% from 2016 to 2022.
It’s no secret that the automation market is currently very strong, streamlining processes including marketing, sales, inventory management, production, and delivery services, among others.
By using automation tools and methods to your advantage, you stand to transform your eCommerce empire into a well-oiled and (largely) self-sustaining machine, thereby enhancing the user experience, boosting productivity, and increasing your profitability as a result.
Automation, particularly marketing automation and inventory management, will become more widely adopted in 2019. Figure out how automation can work for your brand, which areas will benefit most and which solutions will best align with your operational needs – and you’re likely to see a host of positive changes to your business within the next 12 months.
Want to know more about marketing automation? These four real-world examples will tell you all you need to know.
In our hyper-connected age, users browse, connect, converse, and research across more digital channels than ever before. To reach your prospects at the right time or the right stage of their consumer journey, multi-channel messaging is a must – and in 2019, it will be a strategy adopted by eCommerce business across industries.
Essentially, multi-channel messaging refers to conducting regular customer outreach activities across all of your active channels. And it works. In fact, one study discovered that people who received outreach across multiple channels showcased levels of engagement up to 800% higher than those targeted on a singular channel or touchpoint.
This year, there was a significant increase in eCommerce businesses taking a multi-channel messaging approach to their promotional efforts, and this strategy is expected to become even more widespread in 2019.
Yet despite this rise, a good number of businesses will still take a single channel approach to their marketing, meaning that if you promote your deal, offer, or content seamlessly across your website’s landing page, email, social media, and SMS simultaneously, tailoring your communications to each channel, you will get one step ahead of the competition.
To really gain traction with your multi-channel messaging in 2019, you should add these two rising mediums to your promotional strategy:
Voice technology: Voice technology is on the rise, and experts predict that around 30% of all searches will be conducted without a screen by 2020. Voice search and voice assistant-based marketing will become an increasingly common channel of communication for eCommerce businesses in 2019 and beyond.
Chatbots: Powered by machine learning technology, chatbots are expected to become widely adopted by eCommerce businesses this coming year, automating customer-facing communications and dealing with a wide range of customer requests with minimal human intervention. To gain an insight into the untapped potential of chatbots, check out how these businesses are using chatbots to increase their online sales.
There’s no doubt about it: 2019 is going to be an exciting year in the world of eCommerce, and by taking note of these trends, you’ll be able to increase your success in the New Year and long into the future.
We wish you the very best of luck. And if you’d like to know how we can help your eCommerce empire thrive in 2019, please connect with us – we’ll be happy to tell you everything you need to know about our cutting-edge products, services, and solutions.