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It is no secret that e-commerce is a big business that’s getting bigger. Conservative opinions predict online retail sales or online shops are expected to reach $4.5 trillion1 by 2021!

 

Are you planning to have an online shop or do you have an existing one now? Then this topic is for you, get ready with the latest trends for E-commerce this year!

 

1. Augmented Reality to get real

When all reality becomes augmented will it mean that reality itself ceases to exist?

Such questions are best left for the philosophers, but what’s certain is that augmented reality (AR) is here to stay and will play a huge part in the future of e-commerce. TechCrunch has predicted the AR market will reach $83 billion by 2021.

That’s fantastic news for consumers!

A tool like ARKit, for iOS 11, has made it much easier for developers to implement AR strategies. A great example is IKEA Place. Customers can now see what IKEA’s furniture will look like in their actual home by using their phone. They no longer have to rely on a tape measure and their imagination.

2. Stand and deliver – quickly

In the crowded online world, delivery times and the availability of flexible shipping can make or break a business. Finding ways to increase efficiency is now a big essential part of your e-commerce strategy.

It’s here that Amazon’s dominance is most obvious. In a recent press release, the retail giants announced that they shipped more than 5 billion items via their Prime 1 or 2-day shipping service in 2017, with their fastest delivery time being an almost unfathomable 8 minutes.

Amazon is now offering a one-hour delivery service in some areas. Competitors will have to up their own logistics game in order to have any hope of keeping up.

How efficient is your own delivery system? Could you partner with a logistics company to provide your customers a more convenient service?

3. User-Generated Content, easy as 1 2 3

User-Generated Content (UGC) is going to be more influential than ever this year and it’s no surprise; social shares, reviews and scrolling carousels of customer photos are ideal ways to boost SEO while providing an invaluable service to consumers.

What’s great about UGC is that it is real content which you don’t have to create yourself.

It has been said that a customer is 97% 3 more likely to purchase after having interacted with UGC and there’s no doubting that this type of content is incredibly effective. What’s more, it’s a way of obtaining genuine feedback on product/ services and solidifying relationships with the customer.

4. Checkout before they get out

The evolution of online checkouts looks set to reach a vital stage in 2018 with the demise of the traditional payment form.

The expiration of Amazon’s one-click patent means that even more mobile shoppers can experience a streamlined checkout process. Options such as Apple Pay, Paypal, Android Pay and Amazon Pay are here to stay.

A clunky transaction is one way of putting off potential customers. It’s, therefore, no wonder that businesses want to upgrade their checkout mechanisms and, in doing so, increase impulse buys.

5. The boom of the subscription box

The popularity of subscription services looks a boom this year. With an increase of 800% between 2014 and April 2017, it’s a market that will continue to grow.

The success of companies like Stitch Fix and Ipsy, who send out personalized clothing and make-up items each month, has led to the likes of Under Armour and Gap offering their own subscription service.

It’s not just fashion. Subscriptions services are available for almost every website whether its an online shop, company, services, etc! These monthly packages offer value for money (the content is often discounted), personalization and efficiency to the consumer and guarantee recurring customers for the retailer.

By providing a service that is personalized and ensures value for money, you’ll be able to turn those occasional browsers into lifetime customers.

6. It’s good to chatbot

While the machines haven’t taken over the world just yet, chatbots have changed the sales potential of the e-commerce and retail world. There’s even potential for these little helpers to address the ROBO (Research Online, Buy Offline) balance, a particular concern to businesses with no offline presence.

The beauty industry has pioneered this technology, such as Foundation Finder, and shown that chatbots are no longer just a way to help with FAQs. Powered by algorithms, they are able to improve UX by acting as a virtual personal shopping assistant who can give customers the individual advice often missing in the e-commerce world.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder that 48%6 of consumers prefer to connect via live chat over other means of communication. We predict that these bots are here to stay, and we’re welcoming them with open arms. Think of having an online secretary and customer service within your website!

 

So there you have it - Six e-commerce trends that offer opportunities for all online businesses.
By embracing technology, streamlining and improving the consumers UX, it’s possible to create an e-commerce platform that will be the envy of your competitors and helps you raise your sale and online presence! If there’s an overarching theme it’s that these trends will make the online customer in 2018 more fulfilled than ever before. That can only be a good thing for all concerned.

Have You any questions?