Over the past several years the ecommerce industry has been steadily growing. Statista predicts that the revenue from ecommerce shops will rise to 4.88 trillion by 2021! In the coming years, we should continue to see growth and more people deciding to join the market. Even though that means more competition, for new ecommerce businesses that can also suggest bringing in more money. If setting up an ecommerce site is a new venture it’s essential to stay up to date on the latest trends. We discuss the top 5 trends in 2019 the experts have observed so far and check out our free webinar training to learn additional ways on how to bring your ecommerce business and other online businesses to the next level. Now, keep reading so you can learn about some of the trends so your new business can become a thriving one!
1. Personalization and customer engagement
Customization is always a positive thing, and Ecommerce Platforms mentions how important it is to implement on your site. Personalized emails also make customers feel welcome, and they’re more likely to spend more time on your site and purchase more if they think their information is safe and their questions get answered.
Compared to traditional retail shopping, ecommerce stores lack face-to-face personal interaction. Online stores do not have a retail clerk who can recommend products based on your interests, tastes, and preferences.
To mimic this experience, ecommerce companies leverage personalization opportunities throughout the shopping journey. Much like online course providers are replacing the need for in-person teaching, ecommerce is replacing the need for in-store retail experiences.
Using personal online data such as search queries, page visits, and purchase history, brands transform their online stores to best serve the customer’s needs and interests. For instance, login to your Amazon account. You’ll find recommended products based on your past purchases, ads tailored to your search history, and marketing copy speaking directly to you. Expect more brands to follow suit as personalization technology becomes easier to integrate into ecommerce sites.
Much like personalized emails generate 6x higher transaction rates and convert better than cold emails, consumers spend 48% more when their experience is personalized. In an age where privacy is key, studies also showed 57 percent of online shoppers are comfortable with providing personal information to a brand, as long as it directly benefits their shopping experience.
Shopify adds to Ecommerce Platforms’ thoughts by stating that ecommerce businesses will grow if they take the time to have personalized conversations with people. Conversion means having conversations with your customers and taking their needs into careful consideration.
User experience designer and consultant Sarah Doody believes that this year we will see an increase in thoughtfully integrated opportunities to have conversations with people.
“The experience that someone has is like a giant ecosystem,” she explains. “It’s what they experience before they purchase your product, after they purchase your product, and everywhere in between. The path to conversion is not about clicks but about conversation.
Sarah advises that, at the top of the funnel, we should be thinking about where it makes sense to start a conversation with prospective customers, so we can then tailor the rest of the experience to them. For existing customers, meanwhile, it’s about giving them a timely opportunity to engage with us on a conversational level, so we can gather crucial microfeedback to enhance their future experience.
Durdica Selec, creative director at Shopify apps company Space Squirrel, agrees.
“With ecommerce becoming more sure of itself and more standardized in an architectural sense, our focus will shift to the service itself,” she says. “We will be more focused on how we take care of our clientele. Customer service feedback can make or break brands, and there is a growing effort to make this experience smoother for all parties. It will not be entirely surprising if we end up turning to automation in a bid to make it more human.”
Haraldur Thorleifsson, founder and CEO of full-service creative agency Ueno, adds that most ecommerce sites go straight for the sell, sometimes very aggressively.
“A good sales person would never do that,” he advises. “A good sales person understands the importance of building a connection with someone first. To get them excited about the product or service and the promise of how it will make their lives better in some way. I would want to see selling online become more human, more intimate. To focus on the long term relationship over a quick sell. To focus on building the brand rather than making a quick buck. I hope we will get better at telling inspiring brand stories in 2019.”
2. Having a more responsive design
Another trend that’s happening in the ecommerce world is companies focusing on a more responsive design. Entrepreneur states that that means you should have a mobile-friendly website and also make your website easy to access on other devices such as tablets.
Sixty-six percent of all time spent on ecommerce sites is done across mobile devices, and 61 percent of customers leave a site if it isn’t mobile-friendly. This is no secret, but the rate of change in response is enormous. This rate of change explains why optimizing the user experience for smartphones and tablets — not just smaller screens, but multiple devices with different screens — is more of a priority than ever before. Responsive design adoption is poised to grow rapidly.
Responsive design emphasizes a streamlined user interface and viewing experience, with easy reading and navigation enabled (at a minimum) through resizing, panning, and scrolling. Today, only 9 percent of the top ecommerce sites use responsive design, but attitudes are quickly shifting to align with customer behavior. The benefits of responsive design include increased site traffic, improved customer satisfaction and higher conversion rates.
Site-flow is being simplified and optimized for all key platforms, including desktop and mobile. With no uniformity in device screen-size and multi-platform shopping more common than ever, many ecommerce brands will seek a responsive experience for their sites. (Candidly, my company is in the 91 percent of ecommerce sites that are not responsive, but we have made that goal our top priority for 2015.)
3. Combining content with commerce
Entrepreneur recommends incorporating your products with content and you can do that by writing posts that show how to use your product. As the site mentions below, Etsy is an excellent example. They profile artists and use their social media sites to help promote their sellers.
This year, more ecommerce sites will couple content and commerce to create rich lifestyle-oriented destinations that keep shoppers coming back. Content will also double as a tool for SEO and branding.
Etsy does a great job at combining content and commerce by profiling artists and featuring DIY projects while using its social media platforms to promote all of it. In that capacity, Etsy has become more than simply an ecommerce site, but rather a web destination for a variety of audiences ranging from customers, and artists who may want to display their work, to visitors interested in the art/DIY lifestyle and culture.
Birchbox is another excellent example of an ecommerce site successfully creating high-quality content to generate repeat business. Its blog is packed with “how-to” guides and style tips that rival the scope of traditional lifestyle publications like Cosmo and GQ. There is also the option to buy any of the items featured in the post, whether they be dress shirts or watches. This is content and commerce working together to achieve the same objective.
4. Personalized products
Just like it’s important to personalize your interaction with customers, Shopify also mentions personalizing your products. How can you do that? Create a questionnaire for a customer to find out what they want to see on your site or something they can fill out for you to help profile them.
Related to on-site personalization are personalized products, and WeMakeWebsites’ Piers Thorogood points out that brands like Spoke, Son of a Tailor, and Third Love are changing the way we buy clothes by bringing a better-fitting, more personalized approach to fashion.
“At the center of all of them is a fit finder,” he explains, “which is where Shopify Partners come in. More and more brands are requesting this tailored approach to shopping. Whilst there are apps in the app store that go some way to providing this functionality, none of them really cut the mustard, so we typically build bespoke experiences for each client. There’s an opportunity here for an app developer to swoop in and build a flexible, easily customized fit finder or a product questionnaire app.”
5. Smarter payment processing
How would you feel if you wanted to check out but it took forever or the payment processing wasn’t simple? If you feel that way, you’re not alone. The Daily Egg recommends ecommerce sites to have a payment process streamlined and functional. The goal should be to make it easy for customers to pay.
The payment process is the final step in the customer journey, and it is a vital stage that could make or break a conversion.
The customer has gone through multiple stages, including awareness and consideration, and has finally made the decision to buy your product.
But if the experience at this stage isn’t effortless and smooth, you could still end up losing the potential customer.
According to the Baymard Institute, almost 70% of shoppers abandon their carts. This suggests that even after researching and considering products thoroughly and adding them to their cart, a majority of shoppers still don’t complete the payment process.
The same report found that 28% of cart abandonment occurs because of a long or complicated checkout process.
If you’re planning to get ahead of the competition, this is one aspect that you must tackle in 2019. You will need to offer a smoother checkout process with an easy payment option that will ensure quick conversions.
Ecommerce sites will continue to grow, and it’s up to you to stay up on the trends. As a new ecommerce site owner, you should always be learning more and you can continue to do that by joining us during our next free webinar training. Learn techniques that help companies succeed and create a profitable online business.