Thanks to the immense popularity of the web, the retail industry has changed dramatically in the past 20 or so years, and even more so in the past 10 thanks to the introduction and widespread usage of the smartphone and tablet. As such, every new year brings a horde of trends marketeers predict will dominate the online industry.
So, for example, some of the more prevalent predictions for 2018 were a rise in ECommerce online sales due to MCommerce (or Mobile Commerce to you and me), heightened demand for same-day deliveries (thanks Amazon), and increased usage of voice search. As it happens to be, online retail statistics from the UK proved these to be true.
As we creep closer to the new year and 2019, let’s prepare by going over 10 ECommerce online retail trends & predictions 2019 is likely to bring us and we need to be aware of.
Mobile Friendly ECommerce Web Design
Even though the mobile and mobile optimisation “trend” started a couple of years ago now, its impact is still seen day in and day out. After all, isn’t it easier to pull out your mobile or tablet and browse than it is to sit down in front of a computer, especially when you’re out and about?
For this reason, one of the biggest ecommerce design trends 2018 brought us that will continue to be one of the most prominent retail trends 2019 has in store for us is mobile shopping or MCommerce.
What Is Omnichannel Shopping?
With the rise of mobile and tablet came the rise of omnichannel shopping experiences marked by seamless transitions from mobile to desktop, desktop to telephone, telephone to brick and mortar, brick and mortar to mobile, and any variation in between – you get my meaning!
In fact, in a study involving 46,000 shoppers, 73% of them used multiple channels to do their shopping, and businesses using four or more digital channels outperform those using single or dual channels by 300%.
So, we see at the end of the day, online shopping doesn’t need everything being completed at the same time. Sometimes it’s just better and easier to take your time and spread it out between a couple of channels.
What Are The Emerging Technologies For ECommerce?
As online fashion retail trends from 2018 have shown us, emerging technologies like augmented reality (AR) and visual search are fuelling product and helping discovery by introducing new methods of search and visualisation that allow consumers to find and see products in a whole new way.
For instance, AR is helping online buyers choose products with more certainty by allowing them to visualise them in a realistic environment, and visual search is helping them find what they’re looking for with more accuracy.
For 2019, it’s clear that more and more online brands are going to have to start investigating these new technologies to provide their users and future customers with new and improved ways of interacting with the website and products.
This Christmas It’s All About Personalisation
With the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, many online brands like Amazon have been delivering personalised experiences to their users, such as offering product recommendations based on their browsing and purchasing behaviour. I hear you saying this is not new!
Moving into 2019, it seems more likely that AI-based apps that enable personalisation are going to be used by all types of online retail businesses, from SMBs to enterprises, with increased frequency and affect. After all, 43% of consumers prefer companies that personalise their experience, and a larger 48% will even spend more money when their experience is personalised.
Keep in mind that personalisation doesn’t stop at online product recommendations; email marketing campaigns and online adverts with personalised offers based on your user’s interest are also becoming vital to improved bottom lines. ignore at your peril!
What Is AI Merchandising?
Along similar lines as delivering the more personal experiences, there’s been an increase in brands using AI for product merchandising to entice their users to convert, which can be defined as promoting and displaying products by matching them with shoppers who are more likely to find them relevant and complete the purchase.
When you consider that 74% of people hate being shown irrelevant content, it makes sense that displaying products they’re interested in, as opposed to those you yourself want to promote, will become the new norm in 2019.
What Is The Future Of Customer Services?
Another of the retail trends & predictions for 2019 is going to bring that’s initiated by AI is the automation of customer service, and it’s all thanks to those chatbots. In fact, it’s predicted that 85% of customer interactions will be handled without the need of a human agent by 2020.
What Is A Chatbot?
Chatbots are AI-based programs that use machine learning to “talk” with online users and learn from regular use, allowing them to improve over time without the need of being explicitly programmed to do so.
With that in mind, chatbots are being adopted by brand after brand because of their incredible utility. By residing on websites or applications at all times of the day, chatbots are able to provide 24/7 support for users who need some help — all without a human presence.
What Is Conversation Commerce?
Another ECommerce retail trend predicted to make an impact in 2019 that’s also enabled by AI and chatbots is conversational commerce. We mentioned the benefits of pairing a chatbot with your ECommerce brand for customer service purposes, and doing so for sales purposes has the same impact, albeit with a little extra in the form of conversions. This is because, with the same technology that allows chatbots to help users facing difficulties, they can guide those on the customer journey until checkout – Usability.
For example, a chat bubble inquiring if your user needs help finding something can start the conversation, and upon further prompting that discloses more and more about what they’re looking for, the chatbot can eventually recommend a couple of products they’re bound to like.
Online Subscription Services On The Rise
The marketplace for subscription services has grown by more than 100% year-over-year in the past five years, with the largest online retailers generating almost £2 billion in sales in 2016. From a brand point of view, bundled items shipped together means less shipping costs and higher order values obviously. From a customer perspective, the pain of choosing what to get is eliminated if not reduced dramatically and is replaced by the anticipation of getting something new and interesting from a brand they like and more importantly trust.
Putting it all together and watching the big boys, 2019 seems “prime” for a surge in online subscriptions.
The Future Of Online Shipping
Sponsored and spurred on by Amazon and their premium service, Amazon Prime, same day or next day delivery is not only appreciated, but now expected by many online consumers — there’s just something extra special about browsing for the perfect item online, and then have it delivered within a couple of hours or next day!
And, considering that 72% of online shoppers said they would actually shop more and spend more if same day delivery was available to them, it’s not only possible, but also very likely that these shipping methods will be adopted by more brands as we move into the new year and onwards.
Look To The Skies For Your Delivery!
Just like same-day shipping, some alternative fulfilment methods like drone deliveries, which allow for same-day deliveries, are becoming more popular. For example, 79% of US consumers said they’re more than willing to request drone delivery if their package could be delivered within an hour, and 73% of survey participants said that they would even pay up to $10 for drone delivery.
Like above, there’s just something special about ordering and receiving everything in the same day.
Best of luck preparing your Ecommerce business for 2019!