There isn't any question that e-commerce technologies continue to advance and factor strongly in how people buy things online. While Asia has become a leader in e-commerce, the U.S. is still a strong leader through businesses large and small. It's mobile technology where growth has really started to spike in e-commerce, and that's changed the marketing game for companies around the world.
Mobile isn't the only thing making big e-commerce news. As we begin 2018, you're going to start seeing a vast array of new approaches to the way we buy things digitally. Some trends aren't exactly new, yet they're expanding with newer tech to make e-commerce more personalized and intuitive. Here are the top e-commerce trends worth focusing on.
1. New Email Technologies
You're starting to see newer methods to using emails in the e-commerce and marketing realms. One of those is using cloud service to help heavier email loads.
In your business, being able to properly store and accept emails is an important part of maintaining customer service. Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure now offer expanded cloud space to tackle email overflow. They're also very scalable up or down to accommodate busy days.
Some other email technology advancements:
- Deep linking has become a popular email trend where you provide a link taking a customer to a page within your mobile app. It's a method creating more interactivity and personalized content for better targeting.
- Customers can now make secure purchases directly through their email inboxes. Forbes notes companies like Rebelcontinue to create the technology allowing faster and more convenient e-commerce tools like this.
One thing you're going to see increase considerably in 2018 is voice search when doing online shopping. We've already seen some of this become mainstream thanks to voice-activated services like Amazon's Echo and Google Voice.
Now known as "the speaking shopper", the optimization for voice search is going to become all the more important in coming years. Keep in mind how people speak is far different from how they search on Google.
E-commerce SEO now has to hone in on natural long-tail keywords and phrases. At the same time, you'll have to set up your e-commerce store in a way that adheres to people speaking what they want.
Ordering items by voice is already common on Echo and other devices, so you shouldn't waste time optimizing.3. More Storytelling in Digital Marketing
Over the last few years, you're starting to see more storytelling in digital marketing, all part of the recent trend toward more personal marketing methods.
For e-commerce success in 2018, it's time to join the fray of telling your brand's story in a way targeting your buyer personas.
All marketing experts agree storytelling needs to occur in a multi-channel way. Many brands do so on social media. The focus is to hone in on customer pain points and wrap a story around that. Empathy is a big part of storytelling as a way to prove you understand the customer's problems.
Using images plays a big part in storytelling to give background or real-world examples of how your products work. Behind-the-scenes videos also help.
4. The Rise of Consumers Doing More Online Searching
A major trend we continually see rise is how many consumers use online sources to find what they want when shopping. The reliance on researching online before buying has become an increased activity thanks to mobile devices making it so easy.
With so many buying options available, you can't blame consumers for wanting to research products before they buy. They frequently consult multiple sources to find out information about a product, usually looking at various opinions from buyers.
Expect more consumers to rely on social media to find out how people feel about products like yours. It's easy to do hashtag searches now on Twitter and Facebook, so take the time to look in on what people say about your business.
Of course, one of the most popular online sources is review sites. Places like Yelp have their controversies, but it's a good place to see how people really feel about products and businesses. In 2017, 97% of consumers relied on these sites before making a purchase at a local business.
Making sure your products get good reviews is a form of optimization to improve your e-commerce in the coming year.5. Product Content Analytics
Using analytics in your e-commerce business should become a common practice. It's already being used by many businesses to understand how marketing content performs. Plus, analytics help you look ahead to the future so you can prepare for eventual marketing approaches.
When you use product content analytics, you'll also be able to change things in your products based on consumer use or opinion. If any products aren't selling well as others, you can focus more on marketing the ones that do.
For product safety, the rise of product content analytics is equally important. In 2018, expect to see more use of artificial intelligence (like Watson) to bring more insightful safety analytics for smarter business decisions.
There isn't any question AI took a long-jump to becoming smarter in just the last two years. In 2018, artificial intelligence and machine learning are going to integrate to help consumers find what they want.
You'll already find this in use Amazon Echo. By predicting buyer intent, AI is going to increasingly make shopping more personalized for every consumer. When a buyer doesn't know what they want, AI is only going to become like a second brain showing the perfect buying choice in seconds.