10 Ecommerce Trends We're Predicting For 2018
As the end of the year creeps ever closer, it means only one thing: Christmas. OK, two things: Christmas and people predicting what trends are set to dominate the next calendar year.
No one wants to take a back seat in the developments within their field – and ecommerce is no different.
While the lessons you’ve learned from 2017 aren’t about to become redundant, there are plenty of trends I’m predicting for the world of ecommerce next year that you need to know about.
1. Snapchat marketing
There’s been a lot of noise about the relationship between Snapchat and marketing – it’s predicted that a whopping £1.28bn will be spent by marketers on Snapchat advertising in 2018.
There have also been rumblings that Snapchat’s virtual art installation project has inspired a new way of advertising, one which takes Pokémon Go’s immersive interactivity and replaces virtual creatures with company adverts.
I’m predicting that 2018 will see ecommerce companies taking advantage of this functionality within Snapchat to create advertising – you heard it here first, now be the among the first to put it into practice.
2. Influencer marketing
Influencers are the new brands. You may agree, you may disagree, but what you can’t argue with is that this new cadre have enormous potential within the marketing realm.
Influencers have audiences who are digital, engaged, and ripe for converting into consumers. What am I predicting for ecommerce and influencer marketing in 2018? A much closer relationship.
If you built your ecommerce website using Shopify, then you’re already ahead of the game. This is because the platform’s partnership with influencer network FameBit makes it easy to match your brand with the right influencer.
If you haven’t, then have no fear because you can still take advantage of FameBit’s library of millennial cash cow makers to get the money milk flowing from your ecommerce business.
3. Hyper personalisation
Hyper personalisation is an ecommerce company’s dream – imagine how much easier it is to sell your product to your customer when the sales angle is tailored to that specific shopper?
Biometric technologies are advancing at a phenomenal rate, and the facial recognition feature built into Apple’s latest iPhone is going to provide ecommerce companies with a goldmine.
I’m predicting that 2018 will see ecommerce companies connecting their brand with their customers in a way that wouldn’t seem out of place in Blade Runner 2049 – the future’s here and your company is a part of your customer’s soul.
4. User-generated content
You should love user-generated content (UGC). Why? Because your customers love UGC.
66% of shoppers trust reviews that are posted online by their fellow shoppers. This offers you an opportunity and it’s one that you should grab with both hands.
If a third of your audience is more inspired to buy your goods when their peers have told them to, then I predict that next year will see your storytelling follow suit – 2018 will see the rise of user-generated storytelling.
5. Customer loyalty schemes
From May 2018, the UK and Ireland bring in legislation to match the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
This puts tighter guidelines in place and makes it tougher for your ecommerce business to get data on your customers – this is where customer loyalty schemes come in.
Your customers are happier about giving you their data if they feel they are getting something in return. It is for this reason I am predicting that GDPR will be countered by a rise in customer loyalty schemes.
6. Increased use of DIY platforms
You already know about eBay and probably Etsy, you may also be aware of Amazon Handmade – DIY platforms are on the ecommerce market already.
However, with Amazon pumping more energy into its own version, the profile of DIY platforms has risen in 2017 and I am expecting this to translate into even greater use of them.
Side hustles are growing in popularity, especially among the younger generations, and getting into the ecommerce game through DIY platforms is a great way to do this.
Expect your ecommerce store to see more competition for business from side hustlers seeking to make a little extra money from home in 2018.
7. Multichannel selling
“What’s multichannel selling,” you ask? Why, sit tight and I’ll tell you.
It’s the process of selling through different channels and third parties – i.e. not just your own ecommerce website. Brands are already taking account of multichannel and IKEA are set to bring this into their sales strategy in 2018.
The argument and benefit is persuasive: you want to sell as many of your products as possible, so why not have them available through as many channels as you can?
2018 will see many more ecommerce companies following IKEA.
8. Mobile ecommerce
If your ecommerce store is not thinking mobile, then frankly, you're doing ecommerce wrong.
Mobiles and tablets have long since overtaken desktops as people's preferred method of accessing the internet, and as such, ecommerce shoppers expect a good mobile experience.
What am I predicting for mobile ecommerce in 2018? More WhatsApp marketing.
WhatsApp has over 1bn users globally; that’s 13% of the world’s total population. But, despite some great examples of companies using it, WhatsApp is criminally underused in marketing.
2018 is going to be the year that changes this, and your company can be part of the vanguard.
9. Voice purchases
40% of millennials are already making voice purchases. Let that number settle in your mind for a moment.
Alexa, Siri, and Google Home are here and your ecommerce store needs to start listening to them, because it is suggested that in the next three to five years 40% of ALL purchases will be made using voice search.
2018 is speaking and it says that voice purchases are going to take the next step in expanding their share of the ecommerce market.
10. VR & AR
VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) are hot topics as 2017 nears its close – you can thank Ryan Gosling for that.
Long thought of as the ‘next step’ in marketing, their time is very quickly becoming now – ecommerce stores are employing virtual tours and offering 3D models to let their customers look at their products in detail.
Social VR is here too, with Facebook Spaces launched this year.
While VR/AR marketing and Facebook Spaces are still in their early stages, I’m predicting that your ecommerce store’s sales team will become friendlier with them in 2018.
There you have it, my 10 predictions for what ecommerce will see in 2018.
Some of these are things that your business may already be employing, a few might be things that you are about to, some may be far off in the distant future.
The important thing is that you are aware of them, because if you stand still while your competitors implement them, you’ll be going backwards in slow motion.