According to data from Statista, 46% of the total Asian internet users purchase products or services on mobile devices, and current trends reveal that this number is going to steadily increase in the future. In the past few years, we have seen significant progress in eCommerce practices. From an increased use of mobile devices to the introduction of Augmented Reality, eCommerce has evolved rapidly and will continue unabated. In both B2C and B2B domains, we’ll give you a glimpse of emerging trends that will redefine the way eCommerce businesses are operated in 2019.
Virtual assistants promise enhanced customer experience
Making a purchase from an online store and a physical store are two entirely different experiences. However, the way eCommerce businesses are operating, both these experiences will be almost similar in the coming years.
eCommerce businesses could move towards offering a more customer-centric, personalized virtual shopping experience. This could be achieved by the introduction of virtual assistants on eCommerce websites. These personal virtual assistants could take on the role of a shop assistant in a brick-and-mortar store and guide online customers in making purchases.
The introduction of personal virtual assistants on eCommerce websites could make the shopping experience more realistic and enable customers to make better-informed purchase decisions.
Implementation of Augmented Reality in eCommerce
The implementation of Augmented Reality (AR) is a major development in the eCommerce industry. Enhanced AR capabilities are steadily being adopted by an increasing number of retail brands. Augmented Reality enables prospective buyers to select products by creating an environment where buying can be more realistic.
The use of Augmented Reality in eCommerce is path-breaking because it affords the brand a much more interactive and highly personalized customer experience.
Customers are able to use the built-in Augmented Reality feature to visualise a product they are considering for purchase, in a familiar setting such as their own homes.
The eCommerce platform Urban Ladder, an India-based online furniture brand has introduced AR-enabled features on the mobile app to allow customers browsing their range of products to visualize how any selected pieces of furniture would look in their own homes. Through this revolutionary feature, Urban Ladder attempts to recreate the customer’s living room or bedroom environment virtually, to give them a better idea of how an item from their catalogue would fit in their homes.
Mobile apps dominate eCommerce
Developing an efficient eCommerce website is the first step towards success for any online business. A growing number of buyers are becoming mobile-first and prefer to make purchases from mobile devices, rather than websites. According to reports from SearchEngineLand, almost 60% of the total Google searches originate from mobile devices. While it is important to design mobile-friendly websites, mobile apps are the main keys to a business’ success. It is found that users browse 286% more products on mobile apps than on the mobile web.
Reports from Statista reveal that the mobile application industry will surpass the $189 billion revenue mark by 2020, and many eCommerce leaders are adapting to the increased use of mobile applications. Thus, mobile apps are increasingly becoming a major source of revenue for all eCommerce players.
Personalisation is key to customer retention
Personalisation is another major factor that decides the success of an eCommerce business. Reports revealed that 45% of customers actively prefer to buy from an eCommerce platform that offers personalized recommendations. eCommerce businesses must strive to increase customer retention as reports show that 56% of online shoppers are likely to return to the eCommerce store that gives personalized recommendations.
The strategic integration of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence capabilities will make personalised eCommerce experiences more widespread in 2019.
Advanced product search can spell success for eCommerce
Making a product search more accessible and interactive is important to build customer engagement. eCommerce businesses must analyse their products to find out the most popular items that customers are searching for. Advanced product search can recommend popular items when customers search for the brand or related keywords. This would significantly reduce the time spent in searching for products that customers might be interested in.
Machine Learning and AI
Machine Learning and AI are already making a huge impact on major business areas. Machine Learning helps to analyse customer data to deliver enhanced user experiences on the mobile or web platform. It analyses past purchase trends, customer buying habits and preferences to provide key metrics and actionable insights.
Voice search will redefine SEO
According to reports from Comscore, more than 50% of the total searches will be voice searches by the year 2020. It is expected that business websites will evolve with enhanced search engine capabilities. If the increased adoption of smart home systems like Amazon Alexa and Google Home is anything to go by, it is clear that voice search is poised to become a revolutionary force in Search Engine Optimization. eCommerce players that want to stay ahead in the rapidly evolving market will make increased efforts to make their platforms more interactive and voice-enabled.
The growth of interest-based advertisements
Personalised advertisements, commonly known as interest-driven advertisements will become increasingly popular in 2019. Google has been actively trying to provide advertisements that are relevant to user preferences. Personalized advertisements are one of the big eCommerce trends to look forward to in the coming year.
eCommerce and digital marketing strategies are rapidly evolving. This will provide users with the ads that they want to see. Machine Learning closely connected with users’ browsing history will attempt to show you the best ads which will improve the potential for sales and conversion.
Research online and purchase offline (ROPO)
Reports show that 82% of mobile users search for local stores to buy any product, and 18% of that gets converted within just 24 hours.
Research Online and Purchase Offline is a new metric to evaluate the effectiveness of digital campaigns. With a unique combination of mobile device, social media, CRM, payment gateways, and POS system, the reach and effectiveness of online campaigns can be accurately measured. The coming year will be a pivotal time where we may see this new reporting metric get more widely recognised.
eCommerce with better visuals
Visual is one of the most engaging ways to attract a customer’s attention to your product. A growing number of online businesses are adopting eCommerce themes which are visually appealing and offer interesting video content to tell their potential and existing customers about their products.
Easily accessible payment methods
A few years ago, people were skeptical about the security and authenticity of online payments. People were reluctant to share sensitive financial information, bank account details, Credit Card numbers on websites and online platforms. Now, this mindset is changing with a majority of online audiences well-versed in the use of online payment channels. People are now adopting different methods to make transactions and make payments for online purchases.
Digital wallets such as PayPal, Paytm, ICICI Bank Pockets among others, have sparked a trend among an increasingly internet-savvy population. Several tech companies like Apple, Samsung, and Android have developed their own payment platforms. And have emerged as leaders in the space. Digital wallets make transactions easy and quick with assured security.
Amazon emerges as a strong contender
Amazon ranks as the largest search engine for products and the eCommerce giant will continue to be a market leader in 2019. Amazon is the third largest retailer after Walmart and CVS. It is the most trusted brand in Canada with 15 wins out of 23 eCommerce categories.
A dedicated Search Engine Optimization (SEO) toolkit has been developed for Amazon. Amazon SEO is a process of promoting a particular product with specific relevant keywords, similar to a regular SEO process. Over time, Amazon has strategically made targeted digital marketing efforts comprising of SEO, PPC, Content Development and Marketing among others.
As Amazon continues to add more customers to its rapidly growing user base, its digital marketing efforts will definitely achieve new milestones in 2019 and will be an interesting eCommerce trend to watch.
Video advertising will build interest in products
It is also useful for eCommerce businesses to tap the potential of video in marketing their products and offerings. A high-quality video feature on the homepage of the website or mobile app, can build interest in featured products and boost click rate, visits, and conversions.
Image search will become more interactive
A more enhanced approach to image search can be something to look forward to in 2019. Several eCommerce platforms have introduced features that allow users to click and upload photos of products they own like furniture or books and find them on the platform. For instance, you can scan the ISBN barcode of a book to find it on an eCommerce mobile app.
Reduced use of browsers
Mobile apps are increasingly being used in recent years to make purchases and for other online activities across a wide range of products and services. This has resulted in a drastic reduction in the use of browsers and websites.
Almost all eCommerce businesses have a dedicated mobile app through which customers can transact. A mobile app for an eCommerce platform is now more a necessity than an option. It has evolved to become pivotal to the success or failure of the business.
On the other hand, advertisements are becoming more focused and interest-driven with connections of social media apps, that search engines will not remain the major source of traffic to eCommerce platforms.
Major mobile advertising is rapidly becoming mobile-first and increasingly interest-based. This makes advertising more relevant to individual customers, more easily accessible and enhances visibility.
Social Media will boost customer engagement
Social media is already proving to be extremely useful for eCommerce businesses. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have emerged as the leaders in attracting potential customers to eCommerce platforms and are key players in building customer engagement.
In 2019, we can expect to see more personalised and relevant advertising that will drive traffic to eCommerce websites and mobile apps, thereby boos conversion rates.
Chatbots will redefine the eCommerce experience
The chatbot is an innovative technology powered by Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Artificial Intelligence. Chatbots are developed to make relevant suggestions to users based on queries and prior interaction. Chatbots make the eCommerce experience increasingly personal and interactive.
Reports suggest that Artificial intelligence will grow to be a $36.8 billion industry by 2025, and judging by the current trends, eCommerce is poised to share a major portion of the revenue.
With these different innovative trends and rapid growth in adoption of eCommerce in recent years, the future certainly looks promising. New technologies and ways of understanding customers and their preferences will make eCommerce more accessible and highly personalised in the coming years.
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