In the past few years, e-commerce has been developing at a staggering rate with revenues totaling $2.3 trillion in 2017. Statistics predict this number has yet to rise, as e-commerce continues to incorporate all the shopping and technological shifts that the world is going through. As these trends tend to evolve at a mind-boggling pace, business owners need to be vigilant and receptive to all these changes in order to maintain a competitive edge on the market, while at the same time keeping their customers engaged all throughout. To this end, we have compiled a list of these most likely e-commerce trends in 2018:
Machine learning will continue to mature
It is no secret that e-commerce and machine learning have always been closely interwoven, enabling customers to enjoy a truly exceptional customer experience through intelligent product recommendation algorithms and improved search functions. Similarly, machine learning will mature at such a pace that it will be able to use the customer’s shopping patterns and turn them into actionable insights.
For example, if a customer regularly buys an item, businesses can leverage machine learning so as to notify the customer when the time has come again for that specific purchase, thus maintaining this valuable upper hand in front of their competitors. Companies can also obtain greater conversion rates by leveraging valuable insights regarding the customer’s abandoned shopping cart. It comes as no surprise that machine learning will bring huge perks in the e-commerce arena, with both customers and businesses benefiting tremendously from its applications.
Better delivery logistics
Many businesses don’t yet realize that what can set them apart from their competitors is not only the best-in-class customer service or the high-quality items they offer. All these features can be rendered almost useless if they are not accompanied by exceptional shipping times, as well.
To both their luck and their dismay, e-commerce companies now have an undisputable reference point when it comes to fast shipping times – it has been given by Amazon which managed to break its own record with a nine-minute delivery for a forehead thermometer. It’s safe to say that 2018 will probably be about companies going high and above in the pursuit of narrowing the timeframe between a customer’s click and the arrival of their package on their doorstep.
An increase in social shopping
As Instagram keeps gaining more and more of the social-platform enthusiasts that once cheered for Facebook, we can expect a discrete, but certain increase of social shopping as well. The way that social platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest operate is by leveraging the power of their visual content so as to present their entire product portfolio to their customers, without them even realizing it. The next thing they know, customers click the incorporated links and are then redirected to the e-commerce page itself. Social media experts even predict that Instagram will figure out a way to let you shop for the item you’re interested in without actually switching between applications. Talk about businesses knowing how to keep their customers in the loop!
Voice search mode: ON
One of the relatively new kids on the block, voice search is one of those features whose potential has not yet been fully tapped into. However, studies show that millennials have familiarized themselves with the voice search function on the web before committing to make a purchase and use it up to 40% of cases. Google has keenly foreseen the potential this comes with, so in 2016 it already launched its Google Home device, which allows you to control your home and place online orders by only using your voice. While Amazon is another giant that now offers this possibility, others are sure to follow raising the bar for the entire e-commerce industry.
Mobile app development will soar
If a few years ago we were still impressed that more and more people began trusting online shopping, now it’s all about the shift that’s been made toward mobile shopping and the surge in numbers it is seeing. Ecommerce mobile app development is certainly another area that will boom in 2018, with more and more important retailers gaining market thanks to their highly-efficient e-commerce mobile apps. Among them are great names such as Amazon, Target, Etsy and Apple Store which use equally great mobile payment processing frameworks such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, WePay and so on.
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain
Another disruptive technology that e-commerce will face in 2018 is the rapidly-evolving cryptocurrency industry. Cryptocurrencies were specifically created in order to offer everyone involved a higher degree of transactional security, together with a minimal risk of payment frauds.
On the other hand, blockchain will act as a distributed transaction ledger, offering total transparency regarding the transactions that took place worldwide so that they cannot ultimately be faked. As per usual, e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba have taken the lead in incorporating these technologies in the way they operate, laying down the path for others to follow in their footsteps. The supply chain will also suffer permanent changes, as cryptocurrencies and blockchain will most likely be used for instant order tracking and order fulfillment. Together with the rise in social trading, this will provide a much more convenient environment for customers and an ace in the sleeve for business owners smart enough to participate.
To this end, these are only some of the disrupting technologies that will undoubtedly impact the way e-commerce is carried out. Whenever great market players are taking the plunge and testing these technologies themselves, they are not only dealing with the associated risks, but they also push the market’s boundaries forward, compelling the remaining companies to follow suit.