About 2.05 billion people purchased online in 2019. This means that 21.55% of the world’s population purchases online – a figure that will reach 2.14 billion in 2021. This is where to find potential customers!
However, more online buyers also mean more e-commerce platforms, which has tended to create a very competitive market. New ways to promote your products and services are needed to stand out from your competitors. This requires you to stay on top of the latest trends in e-commerce.
Trend # 1: Social commerce success will explode
Social commerce is the use of networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as a means of promoting and selling products and services.
The engagement metrics that are used in this context are liking, sharing, and retweeting content.
Popular platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are great places to trade because they offer rich visual content, which helps buyers discover, search, and buy different products online.
Users prefer a social environment to websites when they are looking for or buying something. Social commerce is also popular because it provides a seamless, frictionless sales experience.
Here are some ways to take advantage of social commerce:
- Make your brand reliable and authentic
- Concentrate on the visual elements, otherwise, your brand may get lost in publications in the newsfeeds
- Keep an eye on users’ buying intentions and act when enthusiasm for your product is at its peak
- Adopt a mobile perspective first
- Attract attention using social content and encourage customers to click to learn more
- Offer quick and informative responses to build trust with your audience
Creating an easy and enjoyable social e-commerce experience will encourage users to complete their purchase.
In March 2019, Instagram unveiled the Instagram Checkout system, which allows users to complete their purchase from Instagram. Brands can create and display interactive ads that make it easy for users to click and shop. This will help reduce the risk that customers will abandon their purchase because they have to switch apps or log in.
Trend # 2: AR and VR experiences are greatly going to influence e-commerce success
Product visualization increases sales and decreases returns. This is why nearly 90% of companies with annual sales between $ 100 million and $ 1 billion now use augmented reality or virtual reality technology.
A study shows 100 million buyers will use AR online and in-store by 2020. It is known to engage customers in immersive environments and increase revenue as this technology is an extension of the brand experience.
Here’s how your business can get the most out of augmented and virtual reality in 2020:
- For an intuitive shopping experience, it is suggested to develop augmented reality ready products and add them to your website
- In order to showcase your unique products that might appeal to your target audience, improve your product discovery process by combining customer insights and VR.
- Emphasize the novelty aspect. Most buyers have never experienced VR or AR. The people who did it, especially the Millennials, appreciate the experience
- Try before you buy it. 58% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after first testing it. Use AR and VR technologies so that audiences can “test” various items on your site
- Explore AR and VR as a way to tell stories. Offer memorable and immersive shopping experiences. Take users through your first-person brand story for a lasting impression.
- Organize live events to market your products to a wider audience without worrying about travel or distance.
Trend # 3: Chatbots Will Maximize Income
According to Business Insider, 80% of businesses will be using chatbots by 2020. As artificial intelligence software, a chatbot is so much more than just a new channel for customers to find e-commerce deals and buy products. They can access chatbots to identify the products on the internet they want and need.
Here’s how you can use chatbots to your advantage:
- Use chatbots to engage customers on the home page itself. Help them find the right product because fast navigation increases conversion possibilities and saves time.
- 94% of online shoppers base their purchasing decisions on product information. You can schedule your chatbot to answer the most common product questions. It will help you save the time of your employees to a great extent.
- Let chatbots, direct customers, to customer service professionals for highly specialized products.
- The average bounce rate for e-commerce stores can reach 45%. Use chatbots to reduce bounce rates by following up with buyers. Get concrete information on how to improve your e-commerce platform and their shopping experience.
- Chatbots can be used to give your customers 24/7 access to your business or customer service.
- Use chatbots to efficiently collect customer data. Monitor their behavior, including their purchase history and preferences.
The eBay ShopBot is a good example. This one-of-a-kind chatbot acts as a virtual personal assistant to help buyers find the items they want. Enter some product details and ShopBot will ask the relevant questions to find the right color, fit, and style on eBay.
eBay has found that its ShopBot receives three times more requests than the usual inventory search function. Thus, chatbots can push the boundaries of what e-commerce sites offer as a shopping experience, improving retention, engagement, and sales.
Trend # 4: Voice commerce will become essential
Thanks to the popularity of digital assistants, voice search is growing at a quite progressive pace.
In 2019, China has 85.5 million smart speaker users, the United States has 74.2 million, and the United Kingdom 12.6 million.
According to Canalys, there were around 100 million smart speakers in use last year, a number that is expected to reach 225 million by 2020. In the United States, 22% of smart speaker owners have already purchased something with their device.
In fact, 60% of virtual assistant owners made purchases using voice commands. Therefore, it is expected that by 2021, many brands will revamp their websites to accommodate this technology due to its growing popularity to support voice search functions.
Domino’s Pizza launched a voice-activated pizza order assistant named Dom last year. Dom takes orders, helps users check the status of their order, and finds the best deals for customers.
Developed by voice recognition company Nuance, this technology integrates into daily business activities – and within three months of launch, 500,000 orders were placed.
Here’s how your online store can benefit from voice commerce:
- Treat your search strategy the same as a conversation. Design the content with long-tail keywords.
- Focus on the expected queries and the appropriate keywords.
- Use trigger words for voice searches.
- Don’t limit yourself to exact words. Rather, consider the possible context of customer requests and offer valuable content that answers the question.
- Mix several terminologies to create variable sets of keywords and phrases. They must naturally cover all the relevant data of the questions.
- Offer eye-catching product descriptions that sound great when reading aloud.
- Optimize your e-commerce site to quickly appear in mobile SERPs for voice searches.
- Invest in a smooth voice search function, driven by artificial intelligence in order to improve the user experience. It also shows your customers that you really want to provide them with the best on-site experience.
Trend # 5: Shopping and mobile payments will continue to be trendy
Around 2 billion people around the world use smartphones to access the Internet. It is about six times the size of the American population!
It is therefore not surprising that 60% of e-commerce traffic comes from mobile consumers. This indicates that mobile devices have a huge impact on selling products online. This is why platforms like Amazon Pay and PayPal are a boon for buyers.
What contributes to the increase in purchases and mobile payments?
- A better customer experience. Most e-commerce websites have designs tailored to the needs of mobile users. These devices offer superior navigation which is attractive to buyers.
- Registration data is stored on the mobile device itself, which helps reduce wait times.
- Place important items at the top of your home page and make sure the search window is visible.
- Make the call to action big enough for you to tap it with your finger easily and bright enough to grab the attention of online shoppers.
- Remove all distractions from the payment process so customers near the “finish line” can easily cross it.
Mobile Shopping has been a popular growing trend for the past few years. So much so that it is said that mobile will dominate online sales by 2021, with 54% of sales.
As always, Amazon is at the forefront of shopping and mobile payments. The online retail giant is proud to offer a customer-focused mobile experience. The app combines the best of what mobile platforms have to offer, including intuitive navigation, data-driven recommendations, and easy one-click payments.
The brand also personalizes its offers by setting up the Amazon Prime loyalty program, which has resolved one of the main points of difficulty for online buyers: delivery. With Prime, buyers get free delivery in two days with no minimum purchase.
To reduce friction at the checkout Amazon even launched Amazon Pay which is its own online payment processing service.
The world of electronic commerce is constantly evolving, so online retailers and sellers also need to evolve. As consumers’ purchasing power increases around the world and social media blurs the line between content and commerce, businesses must identify future trends in e-commerce to stay ahead of the curve.
Vikram Rana is Marketing Manager at LiftnGift and has served as the Head of Conversion Marketing at Planet Web Solution. He’s an expert in inbound marketing and lead generation.