eCommerce is a rapidly growing industry and during 2018 we’re likely to see a number of exciting developments in the world of online retail.
In this article we break down the top trends to look out for in 2018.
Chatbots – online messaging apps which use artificial intelligence to provide instant answers to customer queries - are likely to become increasingly common in 2018. Customers now expect immediate answers to their questions, often outside of regular business working hours, and chatbots are a great way for a company to provide such answers in a speedy manner.
Voice searches and purchases
With the rise of personal assistant devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, we will begin to see voice-driven online purchases evolve in 2018.
Consumers will become increasingly comfortable with using such voice-activated digital assistants, and making simple online purchases using them is a natural progression from asking them for a weather update or the latest news headlines. Companies which familiarise themselves with such technological advances now, and plan for using them in the future, will stay ahead in the eCommerce game.
Many customers now expect the goods they’ve ordered to be delivered quickly, and at low cost. This trend will increase throughout 2018 with consumers increasingly expecting fast and convenient delivery options - such as being able to choose a time for delivery, and even having goods delivered on the same day that they’ve been ordered.
Companies which do not move with the times and continue to provide slow, expensive, and unreliable delivery options will start to lose out to their more efficient competitors.
Influencer marketing will continue to grow as we move through 2018. Instead of advertising directly to potential customers, a company can utilise influencer marketing in order to promote and sell their products.
Influencers are individuals who have influence over potential customers and companies will increasingly orient their marketing efforts around such individuals, rather than speaking 'directly' to their target market. In today’s online world this often means working with well-known internet figures - paticularly individuals with a large number of followers or subscribers on popular online platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
People are consuming more online video content than ever before and brands which create interesting and informative videos will connect with potential customers in a much more engaging way than companies relying solely on written content. Product guides, demonstrations, and user reviews in video format will all boost a brand’s appeal and attract new, loyal customers.
AR and VR (Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality)
Moving forward we will increasingly see augmented and virtual reality elements featuring in brands’ eCommerce marketing efforts. AR and VR can help bring a brand’s products to life by allowing potential customers to experience them in ‘real life’ before buying them. For example, a clothing retailer might feature a ‘virtual dressing room’ on their website, allowing customers to virtually ‘try on’ the clothes before buying them.
Visually showing off products like this, and allowing potential customers to interact with them and use them 'for real', is a great way to boost engagement and sales.