E-commerce is continuously changing and mobile conversions are on the rise as 2018 saw a sales increase of 55 percent and by 2022 it is predicted that smartphones are going to account for about $175.4 billion of sales.
While this is the case, the expectations of customers are also growing with 38 percent of shoppers now expecting things like same day delivery.
There are other e-commerce trends that are in line with web design trends. Some web apps, for instance, tend to use technologies to bring features and speed of the mobile apps to the mobile website and due to that, it allows online shopping platforms to be accessible even when one is offline.
Because of this, retails don’t have to choose between investing in mobile sites or apps. Some retailers may even end up completely doing away with their mobile apps.
Even when this is the case, the market face is continuously changing and retailers must adapt to the new trends in attitudes, demographics as well as consumer preferences.
In 2019, some of the changes that you will see include the market being defined by emerging technologies that will change the way consumers interact with brands, a change in their preferences and new battle lines will emerge.
If you are in the fashion industry and need to stay ahead and on top of the game you need to be aware of what will change in the next few years.
What new technologies can you utilize as a fashion brand so that you can increase your bottom line, KPIs and reach?
If there is one trend that most fashion brands are going to experience just like any other industry is the impact of AI in e-commerce. AI is already changing the industry and will continue to do so in the next few years.
There is a lot of AI that is already in existent although most is not accessible and we can only be able to experience its impact as it changes in the next few years.
One way though that AI will affect fashion e-commerce is in analytics and learning machines.
As it is artificial technology is able to not only gather large amounts of data but can interpret it in just a matter of seconds soething that would take humans months to do.
In the future, this will help fashion brands come up with strategies that are way better in reaching and maintaining their clientele.
There will be a need to collect audience data as well as their preferences so that AI can segment the audience and personalize that data based on their interests, personality traits, location, age, and even their buying behavior.
Voice search today has become a part and parcel of our daily lives. If you are familiar with devices like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri, then you know just how much voice search is popular and there are so many people already using it regularly.
In e-commerce, more than 20 percent of search queries are today made through voice and this is bound to grow by 50 percent by 2020. This is a huge opportunity in e-commerce as more and more people continue making purchases through the likes of Google Home and Alexa.
If you are in e-commerce you can improve customer voice experiences by concentrating more on long term keywords when developing content like Beardoholic.
Normally voice search queries are usually longer that typed searches.
This means that it’s a great opportunity for you to optimize the description of your products. This is because voice devices can easily read product descriptions and you will want those descriptions to be the best.
Today more than ever consumers are spending more time watching video content that reading articles online and this has seen the expansion of e-commerce boundaries.
The good thing about video content is that it feels more personal not to mention interesting.
And it’s not just about having promotional videos on the home page but going a step further and producing great features on even the product page and coupling that with influencer content as well as other related products. This will see you drive more sales through conversion.
The rise of virtual reality technology will create a new playing field in the e-commerce industry and it is not just about shifting stock when online.
E-commerce is constantly changing and if you are looking to get ahead in the market you need to keep up with emerging trends like VR.
As it is 77.2 percent of shoppers end up abandoning their carts before they can make a purchase.
This means that as a retailer there is a lot that you need to do to convince your customer to make a follow-up and make a purchase in the end. This is where virtual reality comes in.
Through VR, users can now explore virtual showrooms. Just by adding a new level of intrigue to their shopping experience, retailers can build virtual showrooms which can offer consumers a virtual experience bringing them closer to being in a real store at the comfort of their own homes.
This way they have a more realistic experience when shopping which will lead to an increase in purchases.
Through virtual reality, retails can also allow customers to visualize products.
By giving a consumer that chance to virtualize how a product would look before they can actually make a purchase is just like the notion of “trying before buying” which most companies tap into.
Virtual reality also gives customers a reason to actually visit the store. One thing that you must understand even as we move to the age of virtual reality is that most customers prefer visiting the actual physical shop.
According to the Walker Sands Future of Retail 2016 most customers prefer physical store experience rather than buying products on sites like Amazon and eBay.
While e-commerce market continues to grow, this trend has everything to do with convenience rather than how customers prefer their shopping experience to be.
If you are in the fashion e-commerce industry, then there is so much you can do like making online shopping feel like being inside an actual store.
Influencer marketing is not something that is new. What is new is how every brand goes about its influencer marketing efforts.
Consumers are now aware of influencer marketing and they are not afraid to call out fake influencers.
What changed the world of influencer marketing however is the rise of micro-influencers. When people think about influencers there imagine celebrities endorsing products and the likes. However, micro influencers are the complete opposite.
They are people who don’t have that many followers on social media but can actually advertise products on their social media platforms.
This lack of fame is what makes micro influencers approachable by brands. When they recommend a product on social media, it seems more genuine like advice from a friend than a celebrity trying to convince people why they should buy a certain product.
Because they don’t have a lot of followers, micro influencers, the relationship they have with their followers more intimate.
At the end of the day, consumers are not so open about being advertised to by those they follow and they are also a bit skeptical about messages that come from these big influencers.
Micro influencers will continue having an impact on e-commerce as retailers get used to using them to sell rather than spending a lot of money trying to get a celeb to endorse the same products.
The use of chatbots in the years to come will become more prevalent. By 2020 according to research by Spiceworks 40 percent of companies will be using chatbots.
Why is this? Consumers prefer interacting as well as enquiring about products from companies through a chat.
At the end of the day, they want to find quick and simple answers to questions they have which is what chatbots offer.
In future, 85 percent of interactions from customers will not involve humans which is why as a retailer you need to leverage the use of chatbots after all a majority of your customers already prefer talking to them.
They are easier, instant and are always on the clock. On Facebook alone, over 100,000 chatbots are already being used to answer queries every month.
This is one of those trends that is not going away any time soon. Instead, in the coming years, chatbots will become more sophisticated to help customers to navigate sites which means that you need to get ahead if you are to remain relevant as a retailer.
A Shift Towards D2C (Direct-To-Consumer) With QR Codes
Direct-to-customer marketing is on the rise and can be attributed to several factors.
One factor is the rising production cost forcing most brands to consolidate their offshoots. Overstocking has also led to market saturation which has led to constant sales and rejection of traditional seasons.
Competition has also increased that has seen new brands take up the market share with internet savvy strategies that brands that have been there for long are still adjusting to.
E-commerce has developed in such a quick pace that brands have had to restructure their strategies so as to accommodate these changes.
Lastly, new technology continues to be the driver of change in the way brands market and sell their products.
New technology keeps emerging now and then which creates the feeling that with the right technology, any problem can be solved.
As such, brands are now adopting to immediate and more direct models where they are using direct lines to communicate with customers either through social media or other channels in order to sell products.
QR codes are also on the rise and are shaping e-commerce. Mobile manufacturers are including built-in QR code scanner in the camera of smartphones, especially in the latest models.
This is all in an effort to create a direct-brand-to-customer relationship. Customers only need to scan the code and they will be directed to their website of choice.
Increase in mobile payments
Customers are also demanding specialized service and want to be given the opportunity to shape what they consume.
By now, you are familiar with mobile wallets but today’s customer has moved from that and is paying for goods online using their smartphones.
Mobile payments that are made through smartphones are considered more secure than paying using a credit card and as a retailer, you need to keep up with this trend.
According to the Mobile Payments Convergence, mobile payment is expected to increase to $92 billion by 2019. As such, payment companies are looking to standardize the payment approach making it easy for customers to buy goods in a quicker and more secure way.
As a retailer, you need to evaluate your payment methods and decide if you are ready to accept mobile payments whether online or offline.
More subscription services
In the past years, the subscription box market has grown tremendously with companies like SaaS stepping in to facilitate this boom.
In 2019, one thing you should expect is to see more companies make big moves since traffic for subscription service sites rose by 18 percent in January according to a Hitwise report.
As a retailer, if you feel that subscription-based e-commerce will work for you, then you could take advantage of the practice by having a subscription box with cool add on features from your current catalog.
Technological changes have changed the way consumers interact with brands and as the brands continue finding ways of reaching their consumers directly, they are slowly doing away with middlemen.
The traditional supply chain is ceasing to exist as retailers find ways of engaging directly, getting closer to their customers and improving their margins.
If you are a middleman, it may be time to leave behind the brokerage business and dive into maybe sales consulting because most of your clients are already going directly to the market.
Technological advancements continue to shape customer experiences. Today’s shopper has high expectations and very little patience.
They want a shopping experience that is customized to their needs and they want to try out a product before they purchase. They also want to be able to pay for a product in an easy and secure way.
As such, it’s up to business owners and retailers especially in the fashion world to keep up with these emerging technological trends so that they can meet the needs of their consumers and at the same time increase sales and customer loyalty.
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Zack Robbins is the founder of Beardoholic.com where he has published more than 400 articles related to men’s care and is truly trying to get the best out of every man.