The last 5 years have seen the most revolutionary changes in the ever-evolving IT industry. Changes that have changed the way the world economy functions! Some of the most significant changes that we have seen are in the ecommerce sector. As the focus moved from brick and mortar stores to websites, the changing technologies have also changed the way people shop. Virtual reality, personalization, mobile technologies and machine learning have all made eCommerce websites highly popular and profitable. Here are some of the changing ecommerce trends to look out for in 2018:
With voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa already quite popular in many parts of the ultra-modern world, voice searches are getting more popular among the users. Even the mobile users rely much on voice searches, especially on the go. But search engine optimization is largely based on text searches which leave behind a whole lot of rich leads who use only voice to seek information. 2018 will unleash the potential of voice searches using Machine Language and other technologies.
Retails are already using different channels such as social media networks, television, radio and all other popular media to source information, brands and leads. The ecommerce market is realizing its potentials and competition involved which prompts them to invest in omni-channel marketing and engagement for demand generation, brand recognition, customer retention and thus attain profitability.
B2B in eCommerce
If you thought ecommerce was targeting only the direct consumers or B2C segment only, you are completely mistaken. The B2B segment has already started making its waves in the ecommerce sector and you will see this segment grow further in 2018. Till recently, the businesses used only their websites and brochures for B2B lead attraction. But with ecommerce and advanced technologies such as AI, Automation and Robotics helping them handle the bulk traffic volumes received over the internet; more wholesalers will be using ecommerce for B2B interactions.
More Intelligent Chatbots
Technology has advanced since the chatbots were introduced in the websites to engage customers. With newer technologies, chatbots are getting more intelligent and smarter. They are able to break away from the monotonous tone which made it evident to the consumers that they were chatting with a computer. Now, chatbots have become more advanced which makes it difficult for the usual customers to point out whether it’s a man or machine that they are chatting with. Since the chatbots are quite efficient, the differentiation becomes more difficult.
In conventional retail, the display is set such that, purchases happen in micro-moments. Similarly, impromptu purchase decisions are induced in ecommerce by offering special price for a limited period or by offering discounts on cross-selling. AI and personalization helps the ecommerce companies to set up the display, the UI and UX, such that the customers will get a personalized experience of the website.
Content Gains more Importance
Content has been the major player in online businesses in the recent times. The importance of content will only increase in 2018. Context, quality and engagement will remain the top qualities businesses will look for while deploying content.
Social media like Facebook has become a seller already. You can now use the social networks to sell your goods. Ecommerce no longer is restricted to websites. This opens up a completely new arena of leads and customers belonging to those social media networks.
From ecommerce, the retail business is moving to mCommerce. In 2018, the surge to mCommerce will increase with the increasing popularity of smartphones and apps. Some retailers may also decide to focus only on mCommerce which makes us understand the high potential mobile apps have and their contribution to the retail sector.
With more mobiles being used to take photos, people may prefer to do image search too. For products that they see somewhere or download from the internet, people would prefer to perform an image search. This will be easier for the consumer but a real challenge for the developers.
Grow out of Browsers
As such, the desktops have already given way to laptops and smaller handheld devices. With the smartphones fast replacing the laptops, browsing will also soon get obsolete. As the mobile apps are gaining more importance than desktop browsers, ecommerce will also grow out of the websites and browsers.
Customer engagement will see new levels of competition in the ecommerce sector as the competition levels surge to a new extreme. All kinds of latest technologies will be put to use to ensure better customer engagement and retention.
Social media engagement
From social media marketing, the focus of ecommerce businesses will shift to social media engagement. Instead of looking at the social media networks as merely a marketing platform, the businesses will now look at engaging their customers using the same social media. Quality Content will play a major role in customer engagement.
IoT Gains Momentum
Even though IoT is gathering more information from the connected devices that are used for personalization and better customer engagement and service, it will rise to new levels by automating various related processes. You will soon have fully integrated smart washing machines that will automate the refill of supplies required or smart televisions that will recharge based on the settings or preferences which will make your life more convenient.
Virtual wallets are already quite popular among the youngsters. With more ecommerce websites launching their own virtual wallets, ecommerce payments are expected to grow up to 51% with virtual wallets.
Ecommerce is expected to grow to be a trillion dollar market by 2021 at the rate in which it is growing currently. More than 93% consumers are expecting and positive about ecommerce purchases which contributes to this immense growth expected.