10 eCommerce Trends You Need to Take Advantage of in 2018 Published December 20, 2017 With the New Year just around the corner many eCommerce brands are looking at what 2018 will bring. Advances in technology and changes in customer behaviour mean marketers are reviewing their eCommerce strategies and looking at new, emerging trends. In this blog post we look at ten 2018 eCommerce trends that savvy marketers need to take advantage of in the year to come. We’ll explore which tactics and technologies you need to consider, invest in, and integrate to set you up for success. 1) Personalised shopping experiences Customers are increasingly expecting a more personalised experience when it comes to shopping online. Personalised search, recommendations—and even the products themselves—will be molded around the customer’s purchase history, interests, and actions. If you want to take advantage of this, look at how you can use behavioural targeting software. This allows you to create completely bespoke shopping experiences for every customer. 2) Subscription-based services Subscription-based services such as Amazon Prime are a smart way of selling a superior level of customer service. They offer a longer, more profitable relationship with your customers. In the ongoing battle to satisfy the customer’s insatiable appetite for faster and cheaper delivery, more retailers will offset the costs of offering such a service with membership charges. In 2018 customers will continue to be happy to pay for a superior level of service and convenience. Retailers will be happy to supply this when it secures long-term custom and loyalty. 3) Integrated path to purchase It’s no longer enough to simply have a presence on each marketing channel. Marketers now need to integrate their channels to create a seamless shopping experience. We predict an increase in cookie-based technology where customers will be re-targeted with content across different platforms based on their previous browsing actions. Software like PureTargeting can help you retarget your customers based on their actions across different channels. Used alongside PureIntelligence you’ll have you a single-customer view of every interaction with you across all of your marketing channels. 4) Voice purchases Salesforce estimates that 40% of millennials have used voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri to make purchases online. This emerging trend has a knock-on effect for channels like search. People using voice activated technology tend to use more conversational phrases compared to what they might type in a search engine. If you want to take advantage of voice searches, make sure your keywords and phrases take into consideration the different colloquial language around your brand. This will help you to make the most of this emerging trend. 5) Mobile purchases Each year mobile has taken a bigger share of web traffic and this is set to continue to grow in 2018. But it’s not just traffic that mobile devices are generating. Thanks to slicker and faster checkouts mobile sales are projected to reach 669 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, according to Statista. If you want to take advantage of this, then make sure you have the fastest, most convenient and trusted payment methods on offer, so your checkout process can be easily managed on the go. 6) Research and social proof An estimated 85% of people research products online before purchasing them in store, according to Salesforce. It won’t come as surprise that this trend is set to continue in the forthcoming year. But how can brands really make the most of this? To make this trend work for you, be sure to enrich your product listings with detailed descriptions, video demonstrations, and social proof in the form of customer ratings and reviews. Software that integrates ratings, reviews, crowdsourced bestsellers, and the number of people viewing products into your emails and website is very accessible. 7) Social messaging The West often follows the online trends of Asian retailers. This year is said to be the time when social messaging and recommendations will really take off in Europe. Many retailers in China pay consumers to sell to other consumers, and receive a commission. They often do this using mobile messaging services like Whatsapp and Messenger. In this way, they act like affiliates and send personal recommendations to a network of friends and associates. If you’ve got an organisation that works with a network of affiliates, these social messaging services could provide you with a new, direct inroad to your customers online. 8) Augmented and virtual reality Augmented and virtual reality have long been talked about but it’s only now that the technology is being offered in a commercially viable way. Lego were one of the first to install augmented-reality-powered kiosks and product boxes into their stores. This means customers can now scan a kit to show them exactly what the finished product will look like, in 3D. This is a fun way to bring products to life and makes store visits more entertaining. We suspect many retailers will be upgrading their store fits and product packaging in 2018 to include these virtual demonstrations. 9) More inspirational ways to shop An increasing number of retailers will be offering the ability to shop from installations, adverts, and video—especially when the cost of maintaining premises on the high-street are so costly. Instead of showcasing products in store more retailers are inspiring the customer to shop through new interactive forms of advertising. Customers can interact using smartphones or touchscreens to purchase items there and then and have them delivered to their homes. We loved it when fashion retailer, Kate Spade, installed touchscreen storefronts at four pop-up locations across New York. We expect to see more retailers follow suit with similar activity this year. 10) Shaping the future Taking advantage of new trends in 2018 doesn’t necessarily mean investing heavily in new technology. Many retailers will continue to enhance their customer journeys by triggering more one-to-one automated emails in response to different customer behaviours. These can easily be set up and managed through solutions that track customers’ actions online and allow you to automatically respond to customers’ behaviours. But retailers won’t stop at being reactive—2018, will see retailers starting to predict and shape consumer behaviour. Expect to see them making better use of customer insight software to predict and prompt future behaviour by identifying trends in customer behaviour. Takeaway These are just ten of the eCommerce trends we see emerging in 2018. As you can see, a lot of these predictions focus on creating new, personalised shopping experiences, shaped around customers’ behaviours. The secret to a successful 2018 is developing your strategy around the personalised customer experience. That may be by using new inspirational ways of interacting, or providing content which is unique to each customer. And this isn’t just wishful thinking—the technology is out there now to enable you to make these predictions a reality using innovative tools like our eCommerce solution. If you’re looking to improve customer experience in 2018, find out more about our eCommerce solution.