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5 Best Ecommerce Trends in 2018
For many traditional businesses opening an online shop seems like a logical next step. The same can be said for entrepreneurs who are weighing their options while building a business plan. The appeals can be great. Low startup costs. Lots of online traffic. The world is your oyster. But when you start peeling back the onion, you realize that doing business online is anything but a ‘set it and forget it’ model. And when you start factoring in the time and effort required, you start realizing that the cost may actually be higher than you anticipated (TIP: check out our FREE ebook for a step-by-step guide to getting started online). But that same freedom and flexibility that allows you to shape the online world comes with a hidden cost.
The online world is a haven for innovation and disruption. And because of this, it is changing all the time. The methods that are popular and effective today can be tomorrow’s old news (READ: Is Guest Blogging Really Dead?). Search engine algorithms change. Customer buying preferences evolve. And if your business doesn’t adapt you risk getting lost in the shuffle. Luckily, you’ve found our site. We make it our mission to help you navigate the tumultuous online landscape and identify emerging trends. Below are a few trends to look out for in the online commerce world of 2018:
- Dauntless Delivery – Amazon has changed the game when it comes to order fulfillment. Consumers have come to expect fast shipping. Competing with this alone can be a real challenge for newcomers to the ecommerce space. But great opportunities exist for those who can get it right. Drop shipping is a tried and true method to help cut down on inventory and delivery times. Amazon also offers warehousing and fulfillment services for a small fee. In our opinion, the real opportunity exists in the logistics model that Amazon has been working to perfect. Expect other delivery services to enter this space in the near future. These providers will likely undercut Amazon’s prices in order to gain market share. This will be your time to lock in a truly competitive rate.
- Augmented reality – “There’s an App for that”. It’s almost a household phrase at this point. The truth is, not every idea should be an app. And some are downright stupid (we won’t name names!). Where consumers are finding great value in this world is in augmented reality – apps and interfaces that help users picture their product being used in their every day lives. Ikea has an app that allows customers to view how a piece of furniture will look right in their home. Clothing companies are also jumping on the trend, showing customers exactly what they’ll look like in their new threads.
- Voice Search and the IOT – The ‘Internet of Things’. Your whole house is now online and just begging to help you with your day to day activities. All you have to do is speak and one of countless voice assistants will light up, ready to help. Like a throwback to the days of radio, expect to hear more targeted advertisements in addition to just the morning weather. Privacy issues and the amount of ‘listening’ that these devices actually do is a definite concern to users as well. Opportunities exist not only in capitalizing on this form of advertisement, but also in the ethical management of it in our day to day lives (think ad-blockers and ‘incognito’ browsing).
- ROPO and multichannel consistency – Research Online, Purchase Offline. This has been a trend ever since the online marketplace was born. Customers want to learn about a product. Compare various competitors and options. And then hold it in their hands before purchasing. The good news for retailers is that the sale is still occurring, even if it is not online. The bad news is that it has historically been very difficult to track between channels. As we move toward more a more integrated world where even toasters are connected to wifi, you can guarantee that tracking those conversions will gain a lot more clarity. This is great news for affiliate marketers who get paid on sales commissions. It will also be very handy for retailers dealing with both online and brick-and-mortar sales.
- Device & Platform Agnosticism – Much like the ROPO concept, users are no longer bound by a single device or platform in their households. Research into a product can begin on the home computer after work. Additional information can be gathered on a phone during a lunch break. And a purchase can be made through a voice assistant such as Amazon Echo. Tracking codes and persistent cookies are a must for retailers that want to truly learn from their customers’ journey.
There’s a lot more out out there than the 5 trends we’ve outlined above. Doing business online can even seem downright impossible at times. The important thing is to keep reading learning, and most importantly: DOING. The one trend that is truly timeless and transcends industries, channels, and business itself is action in and of itself. Do a little bit each day. Measure the results. Adjust your approach. Then do it again.