Online stores have to follow the latest ecommerce trends. If their site appears even a little obsolete, the competition is just a click away.
This year, new technology like voice-assisted devices and crowd-sourced shipping combines with consistent-but-evolving trends like personalization and increasing mobile sales. The changes in ecommerce trends for 2018 is more drastic than other years, so the sooner you adopt them, the better.
So, let’s get right down to it. Here are five of the best actionable ecommerce tips for 2018 that you can apply right now.
1. Microinfluencer Marketing (Word of Mouth)
You’ve heard of influencer marketing, but how about microinfluencer marketing? Influencers have already proven themselves a powerful sales agent over the last few years. The next logical step is enlisting “microinfluencers,” which is just a fancy way to say “everyday people who aren’t famous.”
It’s a return to the Word of Mouth marketing from years past but updated for an online medium. Rather than an endorsement from a big fish, why not many endorsements from thousands of small fish?
You can read our extensive guide to word of mouth marketing now for more in-depth advice, or take a look at some quick reference takeaway points below…
How You Can Apply The Microinfluencer Strategy:
- Repost compliments and reviews your customers post online
- Post open-ended questions to encourage interaction on social media
- Create a program to reward customers for writing reviews
- Start a social media contest to increase engagement
- Implement an email service to elicit more reviews
- Continue using regular influencer marketing tactics
2. Crowdshipping & More Convenient Deliveries
Amazon continues to raise the bar for ecommerce companies. With same-day shipping deliveries rising exponentially, ecommerce SMBs are searching for better shipping methods just to keep pace.
One hopeful solution is crowdshipping, or crowdsource delivery. Using a model similar to Uber, companies like Deliv are offering 3-hour delivery options for as low as $12.50 (in select U.S. locations). While the idea is still young, the need for small online stores to compete with Amazon is strong. Crowdshipping seems eager to grow into that niche.
But for companies delivering outside those select areas, they’ll need to fall on other options for faster delivery…
How You Can Apply A Faster Delivery Strategy:
- Reorganize warehouse and distribution locations to prioritize by zip codes
- Reevaluate fulfillment partners or enlist new ones
- Use a better ecommerce shipping software to maximize efficiency
3. Additional Personalization
The demand for faster shipping options is part of a greater issue: customers crave convenience. Tech advancements allow for more focused personalization in ecommerce, including streamlined site user experience (UX) and customized recommendation engines.
This basically means your site allows customers to search for products and receive other recommended products based on what they like (think Amazon’s recommended search results – example below).
Machine-learning technology seems to be a general trend for Silicon Valley, meaning it will inevitably impact your ecommerce business.
How You Can Apply More Personalized Experiences:
- Implement a machine-learning personalization tool like Nosto or Softcube
- Use on-site surveys to collect valuable customer preference data
- Offer niche products based on your customer data
- Customize content and social media strategies around customer interests
- Use broad personalization tactics like Seasonal Promotions or feature relevant products
4. More Mobile Checkout Options
Mobile sales have steadily increased, but the big step forward in 2018 is mobile checkout options and gateways. We’re seeing new or upcoming payment channels/digital wallets — including the recently announced Google Pay.
Ecommerce stores should prepare to accept them, or risk missing out on a sale.
How You Can Apply More Checkout Options:
- Ensure your site can accept the checkout options already available for mobile:
- Apple Pay
- Paypal One-touch
- Masterpass by Mastercard
- Visa Checkout
- Samsung Pay
- Keep your ear to the ground for news on upcoming payment systems:
- Google Pay
- Payments in Messenger (Facebook)
- Android Pay will become Google Pay, so don’t sweat it if you don’t have it already
- Consider accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
5. Voice Searches
Typing is sooooo 2017.
With popular products like Google Home and Amazon Echo, plus advancements on old favorites like Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Now, this year marks an unprecedented turn for voice-assisted smart software. In fact, the Walker Sands Future of Retail 2017 report says 24% of all consumers currently own ones of these devices, with an additional 20% planning to buy one this year. This upswing even has Adobe’s CMO.com blog saying voice-assisted software is “poised to be the next tech disruptor.”
For ecommerce managers, voice search technology affects search results and SEO practices, and may cause for some site navigation restructuring.
How You Can Apply These Voice Search Trends:
- Conduct user tests to see how your target customers use voice searches, specifically their phrasing
- Test voice searches yourself to anticipate problems
- Shift SEO goals to natural language search queries
- Target longtail SEO keyword phrases that mimic natural queries
- Optimize local search by updating your local and business listings — voice searches are 3x more likely to be local-based.
Do you have any questions about the ecommerce trends for 2018? Want to know more about some of the tech or best practices mentioned above? We want to know what you think, so share your thoughts below in the comments section now.