Ignited by mobile commerce, social media, voice and image search, the e-commerce platform is growing faster than ever. However, online commerce only accounts 13.7% of the total retail sales, it’s still a fastest growing trend which will perhaps takeover the future retail industry.You must be up-to-date with the new technologies and trends on e-commerce platform to stand out the highly competitive online market. No matter how perfect and mature your e-commerce store is now, if you don’t follow and keep up with the new innovations and trend you are at a great risk of falling behind. Let’s discuss the top e-commerce trends stood out in 2019.
Rise in shopping through mobile devices
According to Statista, e-Commerce sales from mobile in 2017 accounted for 34.5 percent of the overall sales figure, and this statistic is increasing. By 2021, 54 percent of the total e-Commerce sales are expected to come from mobile. The introduction of Instagram checkout by Facebook, easier checkout methods such as apple pay, Google checkout and PayPal are making the seizure. But, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Unfortunately, only about 12 percent of consumers find mobile shopping convenient. In 2020, MCommerce will continue to grow with a frictionless, affordable and creative mobile shopping experience. This is because shoppers always want an immediate seamless and great mobile experience.
Social media has become an essential part of people’s daily lives. Reports shows that people spend online on an average of 24 hours a week and the youth between 16 to 24 use much more!! Shop able tags on Instagram posts are now gaining more attention. This allows brands to sell their items and consumers to buy from brands. Google also uses shop able tags in their Google Ads. Ephemeral content (Instagram and snapchat stories), visual search (Instagram, Pinterest) are also gaining popularity. In 2019, there has been a significant rise in homebased female entrepreneurs’ social media based startups.As more businesses embrace social media, consumers’ demands also increase.
Social media helps you to connect with your customers directly and understand them better. It is a perfect platform to expose more shoppers to your brand which will provide very effective marketing opportunities. But it is important to make checkouts much easier as people use social media only for viewing products and return to the site later to place the order.
Cashless /card less checkouts
Many smartphone users sometimes engage in impulse buying just for fun. They would definitely abandon the products in cart itself if the checkout process is long and boring. Hence, a simple, secure and easy checkout can definitely attract more customers to your store.
Also, new methods of payment such as digital wallet and mobile payment are making the shopping easier and hassle free. Digital wallet is an online service (app/device) with which a customer can send and receive money without carrying a physical wallet, credit or debit cards. Transactions are done by simply placing the digital wallet enabled device near an NFC Reader. The basic purpose of these services is to securely store user’s payment data, such as debit and credit card numbers or bank account information. With digital wallet, users can store the information only once and escape from the dissatisfaction of repeatedly entering the sensitive Information. Most accepted examples for digital wallets are Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo and PayPal.
Mobile payments are financial transactions made using mobile devices. Customers can pay at
a retail store with mobile payment facility by simply scanning the barcode. You can also send money to your friends and family using mobile payment methods with the help of applications such as PayPal and Venmo. In 2018, 55 million customers used Mobile Payments to complete their transactions in America. Initially it was more popular in Asia and Europe than America. Although, there are a large group of traditional customers who never use these advanced payment methods and only a small percent of smart phone users is currently using these payment methods, still you have to accept these payment methods for making the shopping comfortable to the other types. Perhaps, there would be a huge change in the consumer behavior in the coming years.
I’m pretty sure that all of you have heard and at the same time wondered about Alexa, Cortana and Siri. At least I was totally surprised when I first saw the ad of Alexa! If you didn’t, “no worries “, with voice search, you can simply use your voice or verbally ask a question to make an internet search. It was first introduced by Google in 2017.Top voice search devices are Google Home, Amazon Echo/Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri(iPhone), Android Phones and Devices, Microsoft Cortana. According to ComScore, 50% of all online search would be made through voice search by 2020.
Smart speakers are becoming a must have at households. Instagram stories of both Kids and adults testing Alexa with funny questions became common. We have seen how popular Amazon’s Echo became this year. Other giants also started to compete with Amazon by introducing Google Home and Apple Home Pod. This shows the impact of voice search. A study from Statista.com shows that in 2018, over 34 million smart speaker devices were sold in the U.S., with 2019 sales projected at 36 million units. In a recent post from emarketer.com, smart speaker usage is projected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 48% to include over 76 million users by 2020.
Faster shipping and free delivery
By introducing prime, Amazon had changed the entire picture of product shipping. Retail giants such as Target and Walmart also managed to stand out with 2-day delivery options or fulfilled through Omni channeldistribution (order online and collect from physical store and vice versa). But, Amazon conquered the market again with their one day and even same day delivery with a free delivery for its members. More than 10 million products are eligible for one-day shipping with no minimum order! Also, they recently introduced Prime Now with a 2-hour delivery! Other retail giants managed to meet the standard are,
- Apple next-day delivery
- Walmart next-day delivery
- Best Buy same- or next-day delivery
- Target same-day and next-day delivery
- Macy’s same-day delivery
- Kohl’s same-day delivery
According to Google, in recent years, number of “near me” has drastically increased. And people search not only for places, but also for time and things with these search tags. For example, “restaurants near me” “where can I buy stamps near me” “wedding dresses near me” etc. Consumers have become very impatient these days. They want everything ‘now’. They are using searching for their immediate needs. You can take advantage of this by giving the answers to the questions related to your business and delivering as quickly as possible.
We all can relate to the excitement of ordering something beautiful online, and also to the level of disappointment realizing it doesn’t meet the level of our expectations when we get delivered. Perhaps by 2020, we will stop feeling guilty for shopping online. Thanks to 5G and AR technology! It helps to bridge the gap between the product and consumer and better visualize products that interest online shoppers. Everybody was totally amazed when Toyota launched a new AR program which allows its users to test 10 of their cars without taking a real drive.IKEA has launched its Place app enabling customers to see exactly their products fit in customer’s home. According to Gartner, by 2020 100 million consumers will be shopping in AR online and stores. Other examples of AR technology is ASOS Virtual Catwalk, try on sneakers on Gucci and Modiface on Amazon.
Personalization and other marketing Strategies
It is clear that with online purchases, customers expect to have a seamless shopping experience. 50% of consumers agree with the need for personalized shopping experience. Last week, I purchased some products from Bath and Body works. Since then, ads with a price drop of similar products are appearing whenever I browse through the internet. This is called retargeting. It is an advertising technique in which consumers are targeted based on their previous internet actions. You may also get reminder emails about the products left in the cart.
Also, you may have noticed a “trending near you” section in Amazon when you confirm the order. This is also a personalized recommendation based on the shipping address you provided. Technologies like augmented reality helps brands to make personalization easier by providing the customers the ability to test and explore as if in a real store.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have potential to optimize an ecommerce business. They can provide several benefits such as automated process, targeted potential customers, improved sales etc. Also, they can help recommending products based on their previous purchases and browsing habits. Companies like Amazon, EBay, Netflix etc. are using AI based recommendation feature. According to Gartner, 25% of customer service operations will use virtual customer assistants by 2020.
Visual search we see in Pinterest, Google and Bing is a feature of AI. Using visual search, we can simply search using the image without typing the text. It is a great time saver and provides a better customer experience. Chatbots are another example for AI. The best way to get in to these technologies are familiarizing with these and once you get to understand how these things work, you can start thinking how your business can benefit from this technology. Examples of online stores using AI are Stitch Fix, ASOS, Amazon echo, Amazon Go, Tommy Hilfiger chatbots etc.