eCommerce in 2018 had been a great one. Statistics had been constantly showing an increase in online sales compared to the year that was. Records show about 15% of specialty retail sales in North America, 23% of all retail in China, and digital influences of almost 60% of all retail sales. eCommerce grew by 16% in 2018 which makes eCommerce more than a $500 billion industry.
Brick and mortar stores have recognized the need to integrate digital marketing to become more competitive with the growing trends in online businesses. With businesses establishing an online presence, the B2B sector felt the need to recreate marketing to adopt a B2C-like marketing strategy.
2018, The Year of Intelligent eCommerce
2018 had been a year filled with surprises. It’s also the year that we’ve noticed improvement and changes happening in eCommerce. Let’s take a look at a summary of retail trends in 2018.
eCommerce has become more customer-focused
Traditional and online retailers understand the essence of putting the customers first. Freepik
eCommerce is growing in dominance. In 2018, many retailers understood the essence of putting customers first before their products so that they could remain competitive in the market. This year more retailers have integrated more secured websites so that their customers are more at ease while shopping. Product recommendation based on their past purchases is also something that many customers appreciate while shopping online. More companies are striving to be consistent in providing better shopping experience throughout all platforms.
According to Salesforce, 53% of millennial shoppers feel that store associates do not have the tools they need to deliver great customer service, such as mobile devices to look up shopper profiles and provide product recommendations (Salesforce), 54% of UK consumers feel more loyal to brands that show a deep understanding of their preferences and priorities (Wunderman), Only 37% of shoppers feel like retailers know them. (Salesforce) — Qualtrics
Statistics show that there’s still a lot that retailers have to do in order to meet customer demands in terms of tools in mobile devices to provide a better customer experience, deeper understanding of customers and their preferences.
Artificial intelligence in eCommerce
2018 had been a year we observed AI being used at scale. Freepik
Artificial Intelligence is making changes in the world that we know. AI is definitely just about everywhere these days, particularly in the eCommerce industry. A forecast from executives in 2017 said that 85% of all transactions are going to be AI centered by the year 2020. 2018 had been a year we observed AI being used at scale. From the internet of things, visual communication, and augmented reality.
Artificial Intelligence in eCommerce had been widely used to have a better understanding of consumers, produce new prospects and offer an improved user experience. As eCommerce has come to be among the standards of buying services and goods, many brands who mostly operate within the eCommerce industry rigorously make investments in discovering how AI could improve brand competitiveness and enhance customer loyalty.
1 out of 5 consumers is willing to purchase goods from a chatbot. And these consumers are opened to spend up to £314.74. 40 percent of consumers use chatbots to look for offers and deals. Google invested £400 million acquiring DeepMind; Artificial Intelligence company. — DZone
Artificial Intelligence allows machines to properly assist us by doing manual tasks. What’s really impressive is that these machines are doing a great job. This allows us to concentrate on the more important aspects of the business while doing away with repetitive tasks.
eCommerce is adapting to the growing conscious customer
There’s a huge growth of conscious customers. Pixabay
Conscious consumerism is on the rise and we can expect this continue growing in the years to come. Consumers are more intelligent and have become more aware of the products they buy. The millennials have a strong influence on many generations and are exerting the same influence to many retailers and many companies of various industries.
Companies have taken notice in the change of consumer’s buying decisions. As consumers are the heart and soul of each company, they seek the need to change the way they do business in order to be more competitive and retain a successful business. We can expect more companies to be investing to make a difference in both local and global cause.
There is a fast growing group of conscious consumers and their wallets are speaking volumes. Consumers are not just buying any more. Rather, they are ‘intent’ buying from companies who have heart and soul and whose values are aligned with theirs. No longer do we accept token gestures from companies who do not care about the things we as consumers care about. — Kathy Wong / GoodSmith
People have grown to be more conscious of honorable approaches to make contributions. Also, they are looking for innovative ways to become more purposeful. Furthermore, people are developing awareness starting in their buying habits which makes an impact on others and the environment. With social technology (social channels) getting stronger and expanding its reach, the youth is likewise developing awareness in the importance of culture, the society, and the environment. With all these, companies are driven to make changes in order to reach out to every consumer group.
The Age of The Customer, The new retail world evolves
The Age of Customer is fast approaching. Freepik
According to Forrester, an American market research company, we are five years into the Age of Customer meaning there are more customers who demonstrate high expectation on every transaction they make with various retailers. Thus, more companies and retailers alike are adapting to the growing change in customer expectations.
“The retail world we were promised is now here it has changed and will continue to impact the path to purchase. We’ve arrived at the intersection of elevated consumer expectations and technical possibility.” — KPMG Retail Trends 2018
With customer expectations changing how manufacturers, companies, and retailers create, market, and deliver products, a new standard in the retail industry has evolved. For instance, there are possibly about 45% of households in the United States who are willing to pay for Amazon prime for the promise of free 2-day shipping.
Eastern retailers are making a huge impact in eCommerce
China’s revolutionary tech businesses are taking over the local market. Freepik
China has created a distinctive innovation ecosystem which has led to a new approach on a large scale. It is completely different from that in the West. In fact, it is affecting both growing and established economic climates. China’s revolutionary tech businesses are taking over the local market and it’ll be no surprise when the West will have to change how their retail works.
Already today, more Chinese consumers use mobile phones to access the internet than those in America, Brazil and Indonesia combined. About half of China’s online sales take place via mobile, compared to barely a third in the US. — — KPMG Retail Trends 2018
Alibaba Group, a Chinese conglomerate, has drastically reinvented the way retail works throughout the world. Taobao, for example, is a company owned by Alibaba is an online marketplace. It has 580 million active monthly users. This demonstrates the extraordinary rate of progress in the Far East.
We have seen so many changes in eCommerce in 2018, mostly driven by customer demands. After all, the retail industry is a competitive market and providing customer experience will be every retailers’ priority in order to achieve success and remain competitive in a fast paced environment.