2018 has finally arrived and the holiday shopping hangover must still be lingering on.
How I wish it stayed longer! 2017 was such a gala year. Retailers raced with each other to come up with exciting experiences, not awesome offers, but also tons of different experiences that have turned us into impulsive shoppers.
Well, 2018 has more in store. Going by expert predictions and my observation, some new things are shaping up as strong trends in the eCommerce industry. And these trends, by all means, have the potential to shape up a whole new way of shopping for the impulsive shopper.
I handpicked some such trends that you can look forward to experiencing in 2018. Presenting the top eCommerce trends for 2018.
Amazon Alexa / Amazon Echo & Google Assistant. There is only a handful. But, don’t undermine their potential. Voice search has become a popular way for users to search for information. In 2018 it will also evolve as a convenient way of shopping online. A Google study conducted by Northstar Research found that 41% of US customers are already using voice search for online shopping.
And, the volume of voice searches is growing with every passing day. Advanced machine learning systems and intelligent personal assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant will make voice search a major eCommerce phenomenon in 2018.
“Alexa, get me a carton of milk.” And you have it home delivered. That sounds fun!
Subscribe To Your Favorite Product
In 2017, I received more subscription offers than product flyers. The eCommerce landscape is slowly changing to one where product and service subscriptions are dominating erstwhile out of the box paid services.
For instance, Google Dash. The IoT based concept can be integrated with several retail providers. Amazon Dash will raise an order from the subscribed service when the current stock is extinguished. This could be for your water filter, detergent, cleaning materials and so on.
Retailers Will Know You Better Than You Know Yourself
Personalization has become a norm as such. Every mail in my inbox addresses me by name. They know my favourite brands and my past buying history. But, eCommerce personalization is going to get a bit deeper in 2018.
Retailers can be expected to focus not only on who you are and what you are buying but also would be product suggestions. The concept of ‘complete the look’ that was limited only to exotic online boutiques will not be commonplace everywhere. AI and ML would be the technologies that would power these trends.
AI Will Read Your Mind and Predict Your Wants
Talking of AI and ML, Elon Musk had said some scary things about the powerful technology. The serial entrepreneur even got on with an online duel with Mark Zuckerberg. Although there are several downsides to AI, let’s take it in this way.
It has the potential to turn online shopping a superb experience for customers. After all, who doesn’t want to be assisted personally in an online store with tailor-made suggestions?
Chatbots Will Take Over Customer Service
Another manifestation of AI in eCommerce would be in the form of chatbots. Chatbots that can reply to your dynamic questions related to products, the best choice to be made from a series of products (like makeup for your skin type), helping you find the real-time status of your package and much more.
In fact, chatbots can be expected to take over the entire role of human customer support executives. Machine-brained chatbots will be accurate, super-fast and can even be empathetic in answering customer queries. Things will get escalated to a real human customer support executive only when they need to be escalated.
You Can Customize Your Shoe!
In 2018, eCommerce will take personalization to a new height, not just regard, but also the way products are customized for customer preferences.
For instance, you can customize the design of your shoe, the print on your backpack or even the quote on a coffee mug and have it delivered to your home. Of course, there have been many services like that in the past. But, this time branded products would also get into the game, giving online shopping a whole new twist. Inke is one such service that fetched my attention.
Augmented Reality Will Go Mainstream
Augmented Reality which was considered off limits for ordinary users is finally coming to your smartphone. And it is Apple which is heading the race. Other OEMs are expected to join shortly. Taking a headstart in the eCommerce domain is IKEA. The modular furniture retailer allows you to ‘preview’ furniture in actual settings like your living room, bedroom, kitchen, etc. before you place an order. No more tangled measurement chords to know whether you are buying the right sized furniture. AR will help you pick the right furniture of the right dimensions.
Security & Privacy Will Gain Importance
The growing number of cybersecurity attacks is common knowledge. 2017 was a showdown of several cybersecurity attacks. Millions of computers, personal financial information, and even social security numbers were stolen by hackers.
The need for security and privacy in eCommerce will see a surge in 2018. Although retailers have been taking measures to protect their online stores, now the focus will also be on ensuring a safer checkout process for customers. Cheap SSL Shop which sells a wide range of SSL certificates has been witnessing a steady rise in demand from eCommerce store owners. PCI compliance, SEO ranking, customer trust also makes it imperative for retailers to configure their stores with an SSL certificate.
2018 is going to be another spell of awesome sales and exciting experiences for eCommerce. For shoppers, it would become a tech haven where digital experiences will merge with omnichannel mediums to deliver a holistic shopping feel. And with voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, etc. you no longer need to tug your device along for shopping. It is as easy as just calling out for anything when you need it.