The e-commerce domain has seen huge transformation and growth over the years. As more and more sellers jump into the e-commerce bandwagon, the competition grows phenomenal. With this, there is a need for online stores to stand apart so that they can attract the customers and draw them away from other websites selling similar products and services. While offering excellence in looks and features is crucial, there is also a need to keep pace with the trends. Every year brings new trends for the sellers in this tech-driven domain and 2018 is no exception. Here are a few trends that are making it big for e-commerce sellers in 2018:
1. Personalized experiences meet the customer expectations :
As customer expectations become even greater with the passage of time, sellers are looking to deliver personalized experiences to meet them. The key lies in understanding the shopping preferences, behavior and demographics and crafting experiences accordingly. Seeing this, more and more sellers have embraced the technology of data analytics to collect and analyze user data and come up with insights. Based on these insights, they are delivering personalized shopping recommendations and offers to entice thee, shoppers.
2. Conversational commerce is the new kind of e-commerce :
In 2018, e-commerce has seen a disruptive shift towards conversational commerce. Merchants are investing in AI-powered chatbots to converse with the potential customers and deliver an experience that is as good as human customer service. The advent of these smart virtual assistants has ushered in a new beginning for online sellers as they are able to match the impact of human customer support, in addition to the benefit of being available 24 by 7. They use machine learning to understand the queries and expectations of the shoppers and answer them intuitively.
3. Faster shipping is becoming the key to success :
According to Mo Harake, CEO of e-commerce agency Stray Digital, faster shipping is fast becoming the key to success as it makes the seller stand apart for the quality of service. The same day delivery concept of Amazon Prime has taken the customer expects to a new level and businesses have no option but to keep pace with this trend. The online shopper today does not mind spending an extra buck for the same-day delivery. E-commerce sellers thus have to pay extra attention to improving the quality of their shipping and logistic functions because they cannot afford to lose their customers because of slackness in delivery.
4. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are hot :
Another trend that is merging as a winner in 2018 is that of online stores embracing innovative technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality as a part of the customer experiences. A majority of online shoppers, particularly those buying outfits and home décor items, hesitate to purchase products because they cannot decide how they would look. The technologies of AR and VR have resolved the confusion by offering lifelike “virtual try” experiences. They can now actually visualize how an outfit would appear on them or how a piece of furniture would look in their room.
5. Voice searches are becoming a rage :
The success of an e-commerce store depends on the ease with which the shopper can shop. The growing popularity of voice-activated devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo has made voice search a raging trend this year. Nothing matches the convenience of just speaking a few words and having a whole range of products being opened up right in front of you. Therefore, it is becoming critical for the e-commerce stores to enrich themselves with the voice search functionalities to elevate the standard of experiences they deliver to the shoppers.
6. Image search is as popular as voice search :
2018 has been an amazing year for e-commerce customers as there has been a lot of focus on making searches easier and more intuitive than ever. Besides voice search, they are getting to taste the convenience of image search too. All they need to do is to click an image of a product they like with their mobile camera and share it with the store to search for a similar product. With this technology, it becomes possible to search matching products without even entering keywords or brand names.
7. Mobile retains its position as the top-selling channel :
Smartphone has been the dominant e-commerce selling channel for the past few years and this year is no exception. Customers love to shop on the go and mobile apps are serving their whim to perfection. Moreover, they deliver better experiences with features such as fingerprint recognition, one-click payments, security of transactions, push notifications, and more. No wonder, having a responsive website and a mobile app is now essential to the success of any e-commerce store.
8. The focus is on providing better content :
Whether it is about the text, images or videos, the focus this year has been on delivering stellar, user-friendly content. As online shoppers have become smarter than ever, they prefer to shop from stores that look and feel honest. Clear and attractive images catch the eye while valuable content increases the credibility of the store. More and more of them are including high-quality product videos to make the products more clearly visible to the consumers. Another type of content that is making it big is user-generated content, which is sourced from real customers rather than professional writers. Reviews and testimonials are the most popular form of user-generated content. Amazingly, this form of content costs nothing but enhances the brand credibility manifold.
In addition to these rapidly emerging e-commerce trends in 2018, there are some that have been holding their place for years. The most important one is social branding and promotion because social media is the best channel to maximize the reach of an online brand. This is one trend that an e-commerce seller should never ignore at any point in time. The best way to keep pace with these innovative trends is to partner with an experienced e-commerce agency that can keep your online store updated with all that is in.
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