As an online retailer, you have to ask yourself, where do you stand? Are you still employing traditional e-commerce tactics? Will you have the lion's share of the expected global retail-e-commerce sales, which Statista predicts to hit $4.8 trillion by 2021?
You see, eCommerce strategies in 2019 are developed based on how visitors respond to the technologies they have used and how they shop. If you want to be ahead of the curve, it’s time you up your game.
We've outlined the 9 top eCommerce strategies that will prove to come in handy in 2019 below.
A few years ago, many people considered artificial intelligence as just an alien concept that would not be practical in the eCommerce space. Today, technology is everywhere, embedding itself in almost all industries.
In eCommerce, you can’t overlook the huge impact that AI has in the industry. Think of it this way: as an online retailer, you will need to make an important business decision based on data-driven metrics. No more making wild guesses – you have to work with measurable metrics. For instance, you have to know your engagement rate, website traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, and many other metrics.
All these are made easy and possible with artificial intelligence. With this technology you can be able to gather and investigate your business data in real-time, allowing you to track the behaviors of your existing and potential customers. Amazon implemented AI for a recommendation system, and the results were amazing. The company achieved a 35% sale, and now the system is evident in almost every part of the purchasing process.
eBay is also looking to utilize artificial intelligence for eBay Shopbot, which can be accessed via Facebook messenger. Piloted in 2016, the chatbot functions as AI assistant, helping users find products that they are interested in using the most natural language (using images, voice or text).
In 2014, the CEO of Baidu – the largest search engine in China – Andrew Ng, predicted that at least 50% of searches in five years to come we're going to be either coming from speech or images. 2019 is that time, and it appears like Ng’s prediction will come to pass. Voice technology has permeated almost every aspect of people’s lives, with driving voice search, smart speakers, smartphones voice apps, and other devices like the Amazon Echo, becoming very popular.
So, if Baidu’s CEO prediction comes to reality and a good number of people opt to use voice search instead of text search, then you have to move with the trend. You need to optimize for voice and employ the best practices to get started.
Amazon dominates voice search in the world of eCommerce thanks to Alexa Voice Shopping. To use Voice search, you just press and hold a button on the Dash Wand, and then speak out the item you want to add to your cart. Once you are done speaking, you release the button and the results are immediately displayed in your cart. Amazing, right?
If the 2018 Omnichannel Buying Report is anything to go by, then you’d be right to want to focus your sales on a number of channels, not just through your eCommerce website. The report showed that a good percentage of users prefer making their purchases on social media platforms and brick-and-mortar stores, in addition to online stores.
Yes, it may be a bit difficult to manage all channels, but think about it as growing or expanding your business. Instead of shying away from multi-channel selling, embrace it. You can simply sync your inventory with various popular channels that customers frequent, allowing you to process orders from one uniform location.
There are thousands of use cases when it comes to multi-channel selling. Think of any growing eCommerce site and you’ll realize that it doesn’t just sell products on its official site; you will find their sales sync with messaging apps, Instagram, and Facebook, among others.
This is another technology that is expected to explode this year in the world of eCommerce. For consumers, augmented reality allows testing out specific products, letting users get their perfect fit. This means a richer buying experience. For merchants, on the other hand, it translates to better conversion rates, and of course, fewer returns.
Putting this into a better perspective, many industry experts say that Augmented Reality is here to fill one of the most difficult gaps in the e-Commerce world, allowing for a much better shopping experience for customers, and better returns for businesses. Being able to see what you intend to buy right from your living room or office will be a game changer.
L’Oreal Virtual Stylist App is a perfect example of augmented reality in eCommerce. The feature offers customers a chance to experience makeup via camera even without trying it physically. You can choose eye shadows and lipsticks that best fit you; test a number of products on your face; and add to cart only those that you find appealing.
This contributed hugely to L’Oreal’s conversions.
Big brands like Apple and Samsung have already take the step and implemented this technology on a large scale, with some eCommerce websites aiming to make AR-guided shopping possible.
Don’t be left behind.
If you haven’t gone the mobile way for your eCommerce business already, then you are losing out a lot. It has become a really big deal! The checkout rates for mobile users are slowly catching up with those of the desktop, and it’s expected that the rate will gain momentum this year. This means one thing: you should optimize your online store for mobile devices.
But hey, you already knew this right? Well, there’s more. Many people don’t realize that mobile experience usually extends beyond the theme and checkout flow. A mobile experience should also be portrayed by your product imagery, emails that you send, and more importantly, the mobile app.
The traditional retail shopping lacked proper customer engagement and personalization. This year, however, e-commerce companies are leveraging personalization opportunities to make the shopping journey of customers easier.
By using online data such as purchase history, page visits, and search queries, you can transform your online store to better serve your customer’s interests and needs.
Think of Amazon. If you log in into your account, you are likely to find a lot of recommended products, all of which are based on search history and past purchases. Follow this exact route to improve the shopping experience of your customers.
You probably know this already – shipping is a key factor when it comes to the success of an eCommerce business.
With the exponential growth of the eCommerce sector, many online shoppers have a lot of demands that they want to have addressed quickly. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to have improved delivery options, and they need to be convenient and timely.
We are not talking about using drones as Amazon is planning to do, no. You can consider connecting your consumers with merchants or vendors within their community. This makes it more convenient and faster to have products, especially food items, delivered.
Let’s be honest. No one likes filling those payment forms anymore, especially when they are doing it on their mobile devices. The payment process is one of the final stages in your customers’ journey, so their experience could break or make a conversion.
According to a study published by Baymard Institute, about 70% of customers usually abandon the carts they have added all long, just because they had an unpleasant experience when it comes to the payment stage. The same report indicated that 28% of shoppers who abandon their carts do it because of a long and complicated checkout process.
If you want to stay ahead of your competitors in 2019, you must tackle the aspect of payments. For instance, instead of having customers fill payment information every time they are buying different products, you can use Web Payments, which let browser native UIS to checkout with the saved data of the previous session, which includes credit card details, address information, and other information.
Many customers tend to take packaging as part of their product. A study conducted by Dotcom Distribution showed that 68% of shoppers believed that a brand was more valuable and upscale just because of its packaging. The study also showed that 61% of customers were excited just by seeing a unique packaging for their product.
Judging from these statistics, you’d be right to say that there’s a rising interest in customized packages. So, if you want to set up your business for success in 2019, you should make your brand more recognizable with custom packaging. You can find third-party solutions to help make the task easy for you.
The eCommerce industry is changing rapidly every year. The strategies you used in 2018 may not work in 2019. If you want to stay ahead of the curve and beat your competitors, your eCommerce site has to transform with the evolving landscape. You need to keep track of the new technologies and use those that suit you best.
The above tips will help you provide a better experience to your customers, allowing you to get the much-needed competitive advantage in 2019.