New Trends in E-Commerce – What is Important to Know in 2018?
Author: Iryna Mikhaleva, Partner and expert on export marketing, Export Growth, CMO, WD&SS
How to use trends to develop your business on the Internet
Internet commerce is growing at a fast pace and is constantly changing. And the fact that something has been working reliably until recently has now become obsolete, and things that you have always underestimated now are critical to your success.
We have studied the latest trends in e-commerce, got acquainted with the latest developments, interviewed experts, visited a lot of trainings and conferences and that’s what the conclusions reached. We offer you a list of the most important trends in different categories – in devices, user experience, marketing, costs, shipping, exports and the internet of things, security and technologies that destroy your site.
Hope this information will be useful in the development of your business in general and e-commerce, and will allow you to prepare as much as possible to collision with your competitors and win them in 2018 and more.
Devices – Mobile devices will be more important than ever
Any analytics (Ukrainian or foreign) of social networks or Google-applications confirms one undeniable tendency – mobile traffic continues to grow, and its growth is unlikely to be stopped in the near future. Of course, you still have to totally ignore desktop computers, but customers are becoming more confident and ready to buy using their smartphones.
Mobile traffic has been steadily increasing over the past few years. Shops that do not have adaptive web designing site risk to disappear. But having just a mobile version or adaptive design is already not enough for those who seriously work with e-commerce. The most important is the mobile user experience.
You can improve it by:
- Accelerating of your site. Create your site on a fast and reliable server and platform. Optimize all scenarios that can slow it down (especially when downloading) and reduce the size of the images.
- Reduce the order process. Remove some forms. Instead of getting users to open new pages, let them scroll down after completing each step.
- Simplified navigation. Use categories, filters, and the internal search engine to help them to find products as quickly as possible.
Custom experience – Personalization
Competition increases, as well as advertising noise on the Internet and social networks. That’s why you need to communicate with customers from the very first banner that they see. Why is personalization so important?
Because customers love this and want you to make their shopping trip unique for them:
- On average, personalized display ads are in 5 times more effective than regular ads
- 59% of customers claim that personalization affects the purchase decision
- 77% of customers are willing to pay more for brand products or services that offers individual experiences.
If you are not ready to invest seriously in personalization yet, start with a small one:
- During remarketing, make sure you have set both text and graphics
- Use personalized emails
- Track customer habits and behavior on the spot
Marketing and Costs – Advertising prices in social networks will grow steadily
It’s not enough to have Facebook page and make promotion here. Advertising is expensive, and competition among advertisers is growing on these platforms. Unfortunately, only during the first half of 2017, CPC of Facebook increased by 136% (from $ 0.42 to $ 0.99), and then its CPM, which jumped by 171% (from $ 4.12 to $ 11.17). Although costs on advertising are increasing, the number of impressions remains unchanged, which means that even the paid space is very crowded.
We recommend optimizing the store by checking it with different traffic sources before choosing one channel. If somebody tells you that they know exactly what works for you or your product online, do not believe him. It is time for the pilot to progress through small budgets and several “branches” of attracting traffic.
Ukraine is a convenient country for express delivery. The distance between Kiev and cities-millionaires allows to deliver orders every day. Such a term is already a norm, but the western trend is day-by-day.
Today’s trend is to measure delivery by hours. There are already services that deliver goods after an hour from the time of ordering.
Internet things will evolve
Probably the technological shift that people talk about is the growing importance of expanded and virtual reality. Although it is estimated that the market value in the next three years will be approximately $150 billion, and this figure is divided between software and devices. But what interests us is retail e-commerce that will affect your earnings.
Extended and virtual reality are still in the early stages of development. But, like other successful technologies, they will soon become important. Have you heard about “hot button” for a washing machine, with the help of which you can order a washing powder or water softener for home delivery?
Do not think about new technologies like toys or gadgets. Think about the useful experience that you can offer. Allow your audience to customize their products according to their needs. And you’ll soon be able to offer a semi-automated, personalized virtual shopping experience, that your competitors may not have.
Security – Your customers are more technically savvy than ever before
A quick increase in the number of online purchases shows that people get the opportunity to order everything they want in just a few clicks. But this convenience is worth it. Each time customers make a purchase, their personal and payment details are sent to the retailer.
This means that everything from your hosting to your theme and plugins should be globulous. It should be noted that 45% of all attacks on e-commerce stores are denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) – they usually lead to the fact that your store is not available for a certain period of time.
Disabling will result in loss of profit, and the number of hacking and phishing attacks will lead to data breach. And it can cost you money. Lack could cause an average loss of an online store of $ 172. US per customer record.
If you have not already done so, set the security priority in your store. There are several easy steps you can take to protect your website and make purchasers safe:
- Enter a quality SSL certificate
- Implementation of two-factor authentication (preferably with an external device such as a mobile phone)
- When you grow up, delegate security issues to the staff responsible for responding to incidents when they occur.
Destructive technologies: voice purchases, AI assistants, and virtual reality
Changes will be aimed not only at raising awareness of the security and changing the habits of your customers. One of the main driving forces of new trends will be the popularization of new technologies:
Google Voice Search is already in business. Lift up your phone, say a few words and get answers. This search method is so convenient, ComScore assumes that it will be used in 50% of all searches by 2020. And this is quite realistic, especially given the growing popularity of smartphones such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.
At least voice shopping may take some time itself to become a widespread feature, you should already start training, especially given the importance of searching.
Start using longtail keywords that contain more natural phrases in your content. Create questions and answers that people can voice.
And what if all the questions cannot be answered by customers on your website – even in the voice? This is the time for virtual assistants come in. The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence will soon allow retailers to answer all their visitors’ questions through chat bots.
It is estimated that global artificial intelligence revenue will increase from $643.7 million in 2016 to $ 36.8 billion in 2025. But even in 2017, they are a real convenience, which will only become more professional and accurate in the coming years.
If you do not already have one, putr the virtual AI helper in your online store. Start with a chat bot.
Is there anything we have to worry about in 2018?
Every time there are stormy changes, people are worried that they can lose their business. Moreover, today’s trends are much more volatile, and market developments are much faster than it was only 10 years ago. So now, in order to survive and prosper, you need to not only observe trends, but also actively adapt and improve your business.
Iryna Mikhaleva, expert on export marketing, partner of consulting company Export Growth
“Do not be afraid of new technologies. Some of them are still very young, and it will take a few years before they become popular. Meanwhile, some of them will just be whimsical and disappear. The emergence of new tools makes it virtually impossible to notice borders, developing export products, accelerating and cheapening market research and sales testing. You need to keep moving, because your Ukrainian and foreign competitors have the same challenges and problems as you. So do not complain and continue to expand your sales channels, upgrade your stores and focus on what’s most important – producing and marketing quality products that meet the challenges of global competition, providing great user experience in 2018 and in the future.”
Igor Nisenbaum-Levytskyi, commercial director of Web Design & Software Solutions
“Omnichannel is a growing trend. It is still confused with the term “multi-channel sales.” Both multi-channel and universal entrepreneurs sell on several channels. But the important difference is that an effective owner can integrate all sales channels. Our task as a digital-expert is to create consistent customer experience, brand experience, and promise of service on all sales channels. This is a real challenge to the omnichannel. Every businessman who sells his products or services on several channels will face this trend in the near future. There is another important trend that we have already taken into account in our own products. Both consumers and brands are now striving to avoid intermediaries as much as possible while communicating, while everyone does not want to overpay for the reduction of “distance”. So, we also become more than web developers or digital strategy experts, we become a full-fledged partner for producers, offering them digital-distribution services for products of interest to them and us. This allows the brand to try sales on new markets without cost and investment in digital marketing. We take it for ourselves!”
Sergey Shapran, founder and president of the Alumeta Group
“Digital sales have already touched the b2b market, where we work, producing and selling aluminium products. 75% of consumers in this segment already use social networks to make purchasing or contracting decisions. Now it’s not possible to build an effective sales system without the use of huge amounts of data on competitors, consumer behavior provided by social networks and various other monitoring and analytical methods. In the past year, we completely reworked all the brands’ websites of the group of companies, developed their language versions for the countries of export, presented products on marketplaces, changed and intensified our presence in social networks, developed and actively implement the strategy of the landing page, connected the call center for direct sales and service, took hours of image and consumer product videos, since the trend for video promotion is only increasing. We understand that we must be on one step ahead, because, exporting products to 30 countries of the world, we must rely on global competition, because the world of b2b is also changing! “
Ecommerce has many aspects. Each item should work well so that the brand has seen significant profits. In 2018 there will be even more buyers online. Will your brand receive awards?
Use the best of these trends, those that will work for your brand and your customer!