Remember when online shopping seemed like the best thing since sliced bread? Today, this method of shopping is the new norm.
Thanks to sites like eBay and Amazon who paved the way for ECommerce, many more businesses have started to offer products and services online. Whether it be for clothes and accessories, furniture and home goods, fitness products or anything else, customers are increasingly choosing to shop online.
This is the most obvious of all ECommerce trends, a truth that can’t be ignored. But, it’s not enough to set up shop online and expect customers to come your way.
Buying behaviors are changing – both online and in-store. To make sure your site performs as best as possible, pay attention to these ECommerce trends of 2018.
1. Native Advertising
Customers like to shop in a way that feels natural. They used to go to the mall and walk around until something caught their eye. These days, native advertising is what gets their attention; it’s the window display of the digital age.
As people scroll through their Facebook account or check out their friend’s posts on Instagram, native advertising provides relevant offers for things in their search history. For example, if someone was searching for bathing suits yesterday, you have the opportunity to promote your new swim line via native ads today.
ROPO stands for Research Online, Purchase Online. It’s an interesting shift happening in the world of ECommerce. Some customers are choosing to browse online then go to their store to make the final purchase.
They spend hours looking at various offers, comparing prices, and thinking about what they really want. From there, they buy at the brick and mortar point of sale once a decision is made.
This is common in the fashion industry when customers want to try things on before they buy. You may also notice such a trend if you operate in a high-end market, in which case people like to do thorough research before spending the big bucks.
3. The Return of Brick and Mortar
With the rise of ROPO comes the return of brick and mortar. As advanced as ECommerce is, there’s something personal about going to the store.
Some people enjoy picking out their own produce instead of using grocery delivery services. Others don’t mind spending a rainy day walking around the mall instead of shopping online. Although this isn’t the majority, it’s definitely another of the trends in ECommerce worth paying attention to.
4. Stunning Visual Content
Here’s a trend you can start working to keep up with right now: the quality of visual content on your website. Whether a customer is only researching online or planning to make a purchase, they need to be sure of what they’re buying.
Photos and videos help them get a full understanding of the products in their cart. As such, it’s your job to provide the best quality of visual content possible.
Make sure you take shots of your products from all angles. Put clothes on models instead of laying them flat, and allow zoom-in features while people browse.
More importantly, create a sense of consistency. It’s unprofessional to have a product page where some items are on a plain backdrop, others are presented with a variety of items, and still, more are being used by real people. This can confuse the user and lower your credibility.
Avoid a situation like this by using visual best practices moving forward. Also, watch out for these common ecommerce mistakes.
5. An Easier Checkout Process
Regardless of what you’re offering online or the kind of consumers in your target market, every purchase has to go through a checkout process. The easier you make this, the better.
Put all the information a customer needs to see front and center. Don’t separate it in multiple pages. Think about how you can make it easier for them to change sizes or remove something from the cart, too.
Even adding items to a cart and comparing their options matters. The best way to think about all of these interactions is to put yourself in the customers’ shoes. If you were buying something online, how would you want to manage your cart and checkout?
6. Better Delivery and More Support
There’s no better feeling than ordering something online one day then having the order show up at your door a few days later. It’s a nice surprise and a little treat you’ve already paid for.
On the other hand, there’s nothing worse than receiving a late order or when the ECommerce site messes up the fulfillment process. Try to minimize the number of times you send out the wrong size or ship to the wrong address.
You owe it to your customers to fine-tune this part of your business, especially if you want to create more return purchases. While you’re at it, work on your customer support system to better resolve such issues.
7. Mobile Shopping
The rise of mobile shopping should come as no surprise in ECommerce trends of 2018. Think about how many times you search for something on your phone.
You may be looking for a restaurant in your area or browsing flights and hotels out of curiosity. Maybe you even end up making a reservation or booking a good deal.
Customers in your industry are doing the same thing for the products you sell. Make sure you can leverage this behavior by making your ECommerce site easy to navigate and understand from a mobile device.
8. Voice Search
Voice search isn’t just important to trends in ECommerce, it’s changing the way the internet works as a whole. You can expect to see this shift the way sites are ranked on search and how customer service interactions are managed.
It’s already starting to have an effect, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the next big thing in ECommerce. Get on the voice search train now before you end up playing catch-up.
9. Image Search
While voice search is affecting ECommerce sites and other online platforms alike, the rise of image search is more apparent in ECommerce alone.
Customers are taking pictures of items in the store, then entering their images into search engines. They do this to compare prices, find customer reviews, or see what kind of similar products are available.
Last but not least, there’s an increase in diversity happening – especially for ECommerce sites in the fashion industry. Skinny, “perfect” people are no longer the go-to models for fashion sites.
Customers want to be able to relate to the brands their buying from. One way for brands to make these connections easier is to showcase all kinds of people wearing their clothes.
The next time you have a photo shoot, hire a few plus-sized models as well as slim men and women. Try to have a range of ethnicities and maybe even offer an item in support of a marginalized community. You’ll be surprised at the kind of positive feedback – and overall craze – this creates.
Stay Ahead of the Latest ECommerce Trends
Are you about to launch an ECommerce website? Have you been managing one for a while, and you just need to brush up on the ECommerce trends of this year?
No matter how far your online business has come, it still has a ways to go. The digital world is ever-changing and always providing you with new challenges and opportunities. The best way to take advantage of these things is to stay ahead of the curve.
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