Starting a successful ecommerce business from scratch is quite challenging given how much competition there is. In fact, even established brands find it difficult to maintain their status because of up-and-coming online stores. Add the fact that modern shoppers have certain expectations, and you have even more problems.
Trends that come and go influence the ecommerce industry as well. If a brand fails to adapt to new technologies, it is bound to struggle.
Have there been any noticeable trends shaping the ecommerce industry? Certainly. Let’s take a look at these trends.
Emphasis on Brand Awareness
Businesses are looking to focus on brand awareness rather than straight-up lead generation. Long-term success is more likely if people recognize the brand’s name or associate it with a particular product.
For example, if someone wants a fizzy drink, they are likely to think of Coca-Cola rather than some random coke.
The problem with raising awareness is finding effective methods to do so. Not all brands can spend loads of money on brand awareness campaigns.
Focusing on social media, collaborating with other brands, and involving followers by sharing their content are some of the most popular methods to raise brand awareness.
One can also design custom merchandise and give it away on social media sites or live events. For example, creating a custom hoodie with a brand’s logo or slogan is a good way to attract attention.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, we have chatbots that will likely replace real people in customer support. The advantages of using a chatbot instead of a real human are that the former is available 24/7 and can respond immediately.
Since AI collects information on customer behavior, it creates a source from which chatbots learn. While the technology is still relatively new, it is still a matter of time before we see more online stores use it instead of real people in customer support.
Voice commerce is another convenient addition to purchasing goods online. Some people will find that online shopping is easier when they can use their voice rather than having to type search queries on a computer or smartphone keyboard.
It is also worth noting that some people with disabilities have no choice but to use voice commerce if they want to purchase goods online.
Optimizing your online store for voice commerce might take some time and money, but the investment is worth it given how prominent voice shopping is projected to be in the future and the fact that you can accommodate the needs of people with disabilities.
It should not come as a surprise that the likes of Amazon and Alibaba are investing in virtual reality.
One of the downsides of shopping online is that you cannot check products in person like in a brick and mortar store. However, there is a way to do that.
Putting a virtual reality helmet will transfer you to a store and let you walk in it as if you were there in person.
Sure, there are certain limitations, but given how fast virtual reality is advancing, it should not take too long before it can replicate the feeling of walking around in a brick and mortar store.
Of course, it is expensive to invest in VR for ecommerce right now, especially if your brand is still relatively small, but we should expect more online businesses adopting virtual reality to improve customer experience.
Flexibility in payment options is a neat advantage that can make a difference in abandoned shopping carts.
Quite a few shoppers fail to complete the checkout procedure because they cannot find a convenient payment option.
Not everyone uses credit cards when shopping online. Some people rely on Skrill, PayPal, Stripe, Payoneer, and other similar services. Cryptocurrency is worth a shout as well, though it is not that common yet.
Nevertheless, a brand that offers different payment options is bound to have an advantage over those brands that are not as flexible in this regard.
Some customers are conscious of environmental problems, and they are more likely to support a business that has pro-environment policies.
Eco-friendly shipping, recycling policies in the workplace, and collaboration with local suppliers are just a few examples of pro-environment ideas that a brand could implement.
People follow celebrities on social media and listen to what they have to say. Trusting someone you follow on social media is easier than trusting a random corporation.
Brands are looking to collaborate with influencers as much as they can because this marketing method works. Even a simple shoutout from a well-established influencer raises brand awareness and attracts new customers.
With that said, influencer marketing has been around for a while, but the current trend suggests that we will see even more of it in the foreseeable future.