2018 saw the emergence of many trends that affected eCommerce brands and how they do business and interact with customers. But, what can we learn from these trends, and how can they inform our business strategy in 2019?
In this blog, we take a look at the six biggest trends of 2018, which include everything from the rise of chatbots to the increased frequency of ‘post paid’ programs, and advise how they can be of use to your brand in 2019.
In 2018, chatbots became standard in eCommerce customer service. And according to Hubspot, 48% of consumers would now rather connect with a company via live chat than anything else, while 35% of consumers want to see more companies using chatbots.
This is because the artificial intelligence powering chatbots has developed so much in the past year that many consumers can no longer tell if they’re conversing with a chatbot or a human. Furthermore, chatbots can answer questions instantly at any time of the day or night, thus removing much of the friction associated with the modern customer journey.
In 2019, consumers will expect to be able to contact your brand whenever they want, regardless of your business hours. So, in 2019, use chatbots appropriately to deliver a fast and effective customer service. For more on chatbots check out our blog Chatbots: Can They Help You Revolutionise Your Consumer Experience?.
2. Smart Assistant
Despite some issues surrounding their use, voice-activated digital assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple Homepod have grown enormously in popularity this year.
And while many use them to play music, answer trivia, and read recipes, they also use them to shop. In fact, a recent analysis found about 40% of millennials use them to research purchases. While another study predicts that voice shopping will grow to $40 billion in 2022.
In 2019, it will be imperative to optimise your brand website for voice searches. The way we speak is very different from the way we type, so your content needs to adapt to natural language search. Instead of focusing on keywords, you need to focus on answering questions the way a human being would. For more information on this growing trend, read our blog Why Brands Must Begin Adapting To AI Immediately.
3. Augmented Reality
Recent studies show more than a third of consumers may be inclined to buy more if they could ‘test’ products via augmented reality. As a result, many brands are now using AR to help potential customers experience their brand to help drive conversions.
Kylie Cosmetics is one example, developing an Instagram filter where users can see what Kylie Lip Kit colours will look good on them. Then there’s IKEA, who are using AR to show potential customers what furniture will look like in their homes.
In 2019, the popularity of AR is set to increase. However, instant success with AR is not assured – building revenue will take time and research to determine which AR platform is right for your brand and products.
In 2018, mobile made a significant contribution to eCommerce. More than 50% of ecommerce sales are now made on mobile – a figure expected to continue growing into 2019 and beyond.
Indeed, it’s now statistically more likely your customers will interact with your website from a smartphone than a desktop. And 70% of customers are more likely to buy from retailers that support smartphone shopping apps.
If you don’t already have a mobile-first mindset, then make 2019 the year. Ensure your ecommerce site is optimised for mobile and evaluate your payment gateways to confirm they can accept mobile payments.
5. Big Data
Today, almost every action taken by a user (regardless of platform and where they are in the customer journey), can be turned into data. And in 2018, more brands started taking advantage of Big Data analytics.
In fact, eCommerce brands now have access to more data about their customers and potential customers than ever before. This data contains a treasure trove of insights to help brands enhance their existing product lines, develop the products their customer base wants, identify peak shopping times, improve customer retention, and gain an edge over the competition. But only if they take the time to analyse it carefully.
To succeed in 2019, brands must analyse the wealth of data available to them to produce smarter content, a better shopping experience, and more targeted marketing.
6. Post Paid Programs
In 2018, pay later or ‘post-paid’ programs started gaining traction. Cart abandonment is still one of the common reasons for loss of revenue for eCommerce brands. And most of the time, customers abandon their carts not due to a lack of interest in the product(s), but due to a lack of confidence in the product and/or a failure at payment gateways.
In an effort to mitigate these issues, many brands are trying out a ‘purchase now, pay later’ option, which enables customers to make the payment after they have received the products.
Even Amazon has gotten in on the act, recently launching Prime Wardrobe. The service allows Amazon Prime members to pick three or more items across clothing, shoes, and accessories, try them on at home over a seven-day trial period, and either check out online if they’re happy with the items or return them free of charge.
In 2019, post-paid programs are set to become a good way of minimising cart abandonment, as well as a strategic tool for customer acquisition. So if it makes sense for your brand, a pay later strategy could be an interesting option to explore in the new year.
Which 2018 trend has affected your brand the most? Which trend do you expect to affect your brand in 2019? Tweet us @ChannelSight. And if you want to boost your sales conversions by over 30%, get in touch with our team today to discover how we can help you do just that.