For those of you in eCommerce, the good news is that the industry is growing steadily.
Just last year, eCommerce in North America rose 15% to more than $500 billion.
Given such fast growth numbers, it’s safe to expect continued industry growth. In fact, sources estimate that global retail eCommerce revenue will reach $4.88 trillion by 2021.
However, this growth also brings more competition for eCommerce merchants. With more eCommerce businesses entering the market, it’s important to keep pace with the latest eCommerce trends – especially those involving technological advances that are shaping consumer behavior.
Here are 5 eCommerce tips, tricks, and trends worth paying attention to if you want to stay ahead of your competition.
1. Cater to omnichannel consumers
In today’s interconnected, digitized era, consumers are buying from more than one online channel. While a large majority of US consumers (87%) continue to shop offline too, according to the 2018 Omnichannel Buying Report, of those surveyed, 78% reported buying on Amazon, 45% from a branded online store, 11% on Facebook, and 34% on eBay. These numbers show eCommerce merchants just how important – and profitable – it is to cater to the needs of omnichannel consumers by marketing products or services available across multiple channels, online and off.
Today, it’s easier than ever to turn your idea into an eCommerce business. For example, with Wix.com, you can easily create and customize a professional online store. Wix provides a drag and drop format and you can choose from various templates to create an attractive online storefront that is also optimized for mobile. What’s more, Wix offers tools that will help you manage all of your orders, inventory, payments, shipping, and taxes while promoting and growing your business.
Just be sure to also market your online store on social media platforms and other online stores, like Amazon and eBay, as well as in brick-and-mortar stores. And no matter the channels you sell through, don’t forget to offer genuine, personalized customer service, as it will differentiate your eCommerce business from the others.
2. Embrace AI-powered chatbots
Looking for an effective competitive advantage? In today’s on-demand, one-click-away marketplace, where customers expect prompt and accurate answers 24/7, sustained customer service will go a long way in winning over customers and retaining them.
For eCommerce merchants, when business gets hectic and it’s hard to keep up with all the feedback and requests, chatbots, especially those powered by AI, are a great solution.
In theory, automated chatbots can answer countless web users at the same time. Response time is instant and constant across all time zones, and there’s no need for human supervisors. However, since chatbots are computer programs, they’re limited by the code that created them and the data they’re programmed with. This means they can’t think outside the box, recognize misspelled words or answer incomplete inquiries.
But, thanks to technology, today’s AI-powered chatbots are smarter and more sophisticated. They’re multilingual and can understand meanings of sentences, not just keywords. Therefore, they can help you achieve and sustain customer satisfaction, which will positively impact your long-term eCommerce growth.
3. Incorporate video content and marketing
Video content and video marketing are everywhere today. As consumers worldwide spend more time watching video across desktop and mobile, it has inevitably become an important element in eCommerce. After all, video is a compelling and fun way to actively engage consumers and can be a memorable way to share your brand’s story.
It’s therefore beneficial to incorporate video throughout your eCommerce website. Wix.com, the website builder I mentioned earlier, also offers some good solutions for incorporating video content, such as with video background, single-player video, or full-width video strips, among others. By embedding video from social media or by adding video-based design elements, you can enhance your home and product pages with promotional and how-to videos.
4. Prepare for voice search
While online searches by typed text remain the way of the world, voice search is fast becoming the newest tech trend.
Today, more than 20% of Google search queries done on mobile are made by voice as opposed to typed text, and sources foresee that 50% of all searches will be done via voice by 2020.
The advancement of voice search and our growing dependence on it presents opportunities for eCommerce merchants, especially when it comes to SEO keywords and product descriptions that appear on your website. Now’s the time to focus on polishing up your product descriptions. The more appealing and concise they are, the better they’ll sound when read aloud by Alexa, Siri or other virtual assistants. You should also leverage long-tail keywords since voice queries tend to be longer than searches that are typed in.
5. Simplify your online payment method
As you know, just because your online customers reach the checkout and payment process doesn’t mean they’ll actually complete it. Unless your final stage of the shopping experience is smooth and simple, you could end up losing potential customers. In fact, nearly 70% of online shoppers end up abandoning their carts, with 26% of shoppers blaming a complicated or overlong checkout process as the sole reason, according to the Baymard Institute.
So, if you want to improve your conversions and obtain a competitive edge over other eCommerce merchants, be sure that your online store offers a hassle-free checkout process with easy payment options.
The bottom line
No matter how much the eCommerce industry continues to grow, its number one priority will remain the same – providing a positive consumer shopping experience.
By being aware of and integrating the latest eCommerce trends, including omnichannel marketing, AI-powered chatbots, video integration, voice search, and a simplified payment process, you’ll stand out from your eCommerce competitors.