1. Personalization and Customer Engagement
Compared to traditional retail shopping, ecommerce stores lack face-to-face personal interaction. Online stores do not have a retail clerk who can recommend products based on your interests, tastes, and preferences.
To mimic this experience, ecommerce companies leverage personalization opportunities throughout the shopping journey. Much like online course providers are replacing the need for in-person teaching, ecommerce is replacing the need for in-store retail experiences.
Using personal online data such as search queries, page visits, and purchase history, brands transform their online stores to best serve the customer’s needs and interests. For instance, login to your Amazon account. You’ll find recommended products based on your past purchases, ads tailored to your search history, and marketing copy speaking directly to you. Expect more brands to follow suit as personalization technology becomes easier to integrate into ecommerce sites.
Much like personalized emails generate 6x higher transaction rates and convert better than cold emails, consumers spend 48% more when their experience is personalized. In an age where privacy is key, studies also showed 57 percent of online shoppers are comfortable with providing personal information to a brand, as long as it directly benefits their shopping experience.
Connecting your online store to a CRM like HubSpot will allow you to use your customer's purchase and website behavior to personalize your marketing, emails, and even pages for abandoned cart nurturing, as well as upsell campaigns.
2. AI, Assistants, and Chatbots
In 2019, robots will invade ecommerce stores. Well, robots such as chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) designed to enhance a customer’s overall shopping experience.
AI assistants can handle a number of tasks typically assigned to a human, such as managing inventory or handling inquiries. These digital assistants carry out various processes, freeing up time for you to focus on other aspects of running the business.
For instance, chatbots can fulfill a number of customer service needs, from answering questions about a product to discussing a complaint. AI and chatbots also learn from customer conversations and evolve to better assist in a user’s personalized ecommerce experience.
Image source: Chatbots Magazine.
As reported in a 2017 Statista study, 34 percent of respondents stated they would be comfortable getting answers to their questions from AI, such as a chatbot or virtual assistant, when shopping. You can easily get started yourself. Many tools like HubSpot's Chatbot Builder allow you to create your own bot for free.
3. B2B Ecommerce Is Exploding
Who said ecommerce was only for B2C brands? B2B companies are leveraging upcoming ecommerce trends, too. It’s even been projected that B2B ecommerce sales will increase worldwide to $6.6 trillion by 2020.
Image source: BigCommerce.
In a survey of 500 B2B organizations, BigCommerce found that 80 percent accepted orders and payment via their website, further proving the growth of ecommerce in B2B industries moving forward.
Ecommerce is changing. Mobile conversions continue to be on the rise—mobile saw sales increase by 55 percent in 2018, and Forrester predicts that by 2022, smartphones will account for $175.4bn USD in retail sales. Customer expectations are growing at the same time: 38 percent of shoppers now expect high street businesses to offer same-day delivery.
Other ecommerce trends are very much in line with the web design trends that are pushing the industry forward this year. Progressive web apps, for example, use advanced technologies to bring the speed and features of a mobile app to a mobile website, even allowing for shopping platforms to be accessible offline, points out fashion and beauty ecommerce specialist Mari Corella.
“The key benefit to retailers is that they no longer have to choose between investing in their mobile sites or their apps,” she explains. “Some retailers may even drop their mobile apps entirely in favor of a PWA.”
What other trends should you pay attention to in order to boost your clients’ sales this year? We asked UX designers, agency owners, and ecommerce experts for their predictions.