Times are changing. You’ve probably already seen so many developments in the world of eCommerce, and how much this arena has prospered the past few years.
This 2018, there are plenty of trends that are expected to take place and take charge of online retailing. If you want to have an edge over others, it’s important for you to be aware of these things so you’ll know how to position yourself. If you wish to boost your business this year, you have to strategize and act according to these trends so you will not be left behind.
Trend #1: More Powerful AI Chatbots
Many eCommerce businesses still don’t make use of AI-powered (Artificial Intelligence) live chats as part of their customer service.
Experts in eCommerce today predict the emergence of more powerful AI chatbots that can greatly improve customer support while still adding a personal touch.
Soon there won’t be any need for actual people to handle concerns and queries of customers. Email and phone support will not be as popular or even as useful, because more and more consumers are moving toward the use of instant chat.
What’s more, the growing popularity of the so-called blockchain technology in different fields cannot be ignored. This new technology will surely play a major role in the improvement of AI chat messaging and is likely to make waves in eCommerce, offering transparency, trust, cost-effectiveness, and other benefits.
Trend #2: Wiser Customer-Centric Features
Online shopping just keeps getting better for customers. Expect the trend to move toward more customer-centric features in retail websites and e-stores, such as having a cyber-shopper to personally assist a first-time visitor or existing customer.
The future of ecommerce is dictated by the arrival of AI software that provides personal recommendations in terms of products and services. Customers will not just find automated suggestions for what they are looking for, but they will begin to experience better personalization as well as customer-friendly policies.
This is why you ought to rethink your shipping and return policies, for one. These are major factors that affect shoppers’ decision-making and customer loyalty too.
Trend #3: Greater Technology for Greater Opportunity
Technology just keeps improving so fast all around us. Just look around your home or your office and you’ll notice lots of technological advances that were not available a year or two ago. It’s amazing how online software has been increasingly progressing, thus influencing web users’ choices and patterns and also the interfaces of retail stores.
Consider the fact that majority of your target market are online most of the time. Also consider the developing tech-savviness of many people today. There are lots of opportunities you can grab at this time that could change the way your consumers interact with your brand.
Keep your eyes and ears open for technologies you can incorporate into your existing business which you believe will be beneficial for your customers. Also make use of technologies that can open greater opportunity for your growth and expansion.
Trend #4: Individual Preferences and Customization
During the past year, a lot of online retailers have begun including more personalization and customization in their shopping platforms. There will be more of this for the current year, probably in a much bigger range.
Individualized recommendations are bound to create an impact in the eCommerce world. Be sure not to get left behind. Even if you can’t immediately incorporate this feature in your software, start collecting individual preferences now as well as pertinent information about your new and present customers. This way, you can weave this into the future recommendations your software provides to shoppers.
It’s not a matter of following the band wagon anymore, or what most buyers choose. Everything will be more personal this time.
Trend #5: Entrepreneurial Boom in Ecommerce
Entrepreneurship keeps escalating in popularity. More entrepreneurs are likely to be found dabbling in eCommerce and staying on.
What does this mean for you? You must certainly work more on your entrepreneurial skills and habits in order to stay above the game and keep improving yourself and your business.
Because of the fast and strong incursion of digital entrepreneurs in eCommerce, there will surely be development of improved software that will enable easier startups, more efficient inventory management and monitoring systems, and the like.
Advertising campaigns will also be enhanced along with operational add-ons that will allow more entrepreneurs to launch and manage their own e-stores without any hassle.
Trend #6: Flourishing Subscription Models
There are only several online stores that offer subscriptions today. However, those that don’t may want to begin planning for this because it’s going to be a bigger trend in 2018.
Subscription models are likely to boom quick due to the positive results that others have been enjoying because of it (Amazon Prime for Example). Those who have already started way ahead have reported a significant increase in sales and overall success.
Indeed subscriptions will flourish so much more this year, so be prepared to incorporate it into your current model. Even traditional businesses that have launched their online counterparts are starting subscriptions too.
Trend #7: Much Greater Video Content
We all know how rapid video has been growing in terms of popularity and benefit when used for marketing. In eCommerce, it’s not yet as pronounced and as utilized. However, the experts insist that video content is going nowhere but instead moving forward and upward faster.
You can say that content is still king. But video has a lot to do with it. Tell stories and show off your products and services through video to attract more customers, trigger their emotions, and urge them to buy and keep returning.
Video is bound to be used to make your brand stand out and to help you be distinguished from competition. Thus, you will have to invest in this if you really want your ecommerce business to be better.
In the end, the decision to follow these trends is up to you. But then again, you can always come up with your own market studies first before pushing through with new innovations. And of course, make sure not to implement so many changes at the same time. Take it one step at a time so you’ll be sure to succeed!
Joe is Your Store Wizards Marketing Wizard. Joe has been in the eCommerce industry since the very beginning. Joe used to own a multi-million dollar pet supply company that he sold to Doctor’s Foster and Smith in 2007 and a web development company named Solid Cactus that he sold to the web.com Group in 2008. Joe now enjoys his time being a Store Wizard.