5 Ecommerce Trends of 2019

…and why they should matter for your shop.

Ecommerce shops have been seemingly popping up, left and right, like prairie dogs on a Spring morning over the past several years.  

With a plethora of savvy marketing, design, and inventory management tools readily available and, often, affordable, one doesn’t even need to be well versed in code to set up their own shop. Even the inexperienced can break into the ecommerce market.

Yet, that leads to an increase in competition compounded with poorly managed shops flooding the market. Setting up an ecommerce enterprise doesn’t equate to effectively managing it.

Alas, this leads to customers mistrusting more and more online stores, and defaulting to the Amazon’s and AliExpress’s of the world. However, if you’re planning to launch your first shop, don’t let that scare you. There is plenty of helpful advice and methods to establish customer trust, even before you have hundreds or thousands of customers.

Ecommerce as an industry isn’t going anywhere, and as of next year, the industry is projected to crack $4 trillion in commerce. Today we’re going to cover five of the top ecommerce trends in 2019 to pay attention to, whether you have years of experience running dozens of stores, or planning to launch your first boutique shop for hand-crafted goods.

1. Progressive Web Apps

We’ve all experienced the frustration that comes with a slow data or wifi connection when you’re trying to shop on a website or an app. In fact, a slow-loading experience results in a 75% increase in online shoppers abandoning their orders altogether.

Hence, the adoption in progressive web apps (PWAs.) While not developed exclusively for ecommerce, a PWA is a godsend to many online retailers. Why?

PWAs are essentially a hybrid of regular responsive websites and native mobile applications. While they look and feel like a mobile app, the code is actually written in Javascript and other web technologies. They offer similar features to native mobile apps such as offline mode, push notifications and the ability to be added to a phone’s home screen.

This is not to imply that PWAs would replace native apps, instead, they provide a faster and cheaper way to iterate towards a native app. You would expect your return customers to find more use of PWAs than your first time customer.

2. Video Content

Video content is craved by everyone. You don’t even need to look at statistics (but of course stats are coming, as everything we do is data-driven). How much time do you yourself spend on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, etc?

The same rings true now more than ever for ecommerce. While it’s commonplace to have a promotional video for a niche online store, video is now being increasingly incorporated to explain product features over text.

A whopping 90% of customers have reported that watching a video about a product makes them more inclined to purchase, and web users are now spending a third of their time online watching video content. In 2019 you should be factoring in video production as part of your ecommerce advertising and design budget. Your competitors already are – trust us.

3. Multi-Channel & Social Selling

With each passing year, the attention span of the average web user gets shorter and shorter. At this point, it’s shorter than that of a goldfish. Sadly, this is not a joke, as our average attention span is now at eight seconds in comparison to Goldie’s nine.

Now think about this: the average American adult is spending over 11 hours each day online with their eyes on a screen. What does this mean for ecommerce?

Well, that means you should go ahead and make your items or services available for your customers to purchase with every option at your disposal. Having a superb online store isn’t enough anymore – in 2019 you should be on eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace; even running ads on Reddit doesn’t sound far-fetched in 2019.

Keep this in mind, as this is soon to be the industry standard – 55% of all social media app users in China purchase items directly through social media apps. If you don’t hop on the social selling bandwagon this year, please do worry, because your competitors will have.

4. Live Chat & Chatbots

People can have any number of reasons for giving their money to online merchants instead of walking into an equitable brick-and-mortar store, but regardless we can all agree that customers value a personalized shopping experience and quick answers to their questions.

At present, live chat still remains the most customer satisfactory method of communication, with 73% of customers reporting that they prefer live chat over phone or email. If you’re an online merchant with one or more shops up and running, you should be using live chat. While this is an added expense, it’s payoff is worth it for both customer conversion and retention.

However, we’re starting to see a shift in customer attitudes towards chatbots, as they become increasingly sophisticated thanks to machine learning and AI. While there are very few true AI chatbots out there, the public is easing their trepidation over chatting with what they know is a bot, and by next year the majority of online ecommerce customer queries will be answered by a chatbot.

At this point, there are plenty of options to choose from regarding live chat tools, and most are also including chatbot programmability as well. Live chat is now included in almost every CRM you can imagine for the ecommerce industry, and if you don’t have the resources to hire a team around the clock to service your live chat, you should still keep it in “live mode” for the few hours each day you have available. Customers are now anticipating online merchants to feature chats, and an absence seems off-putting.

5. In-app and SMS Satisfaction Conversations

In the same breath as #4, this year we’re seeing an increase in in-app conversations and SMS messaging integrations for customer feedback and further personalization.

UX strategist and evangelist, Sarah Doody, provides poignant insight into how ecommerce is shifting from simply being convenient, but now convenient and hyper-personalized:

“The path to conversion is not about clicks but about the conversation.”

For example, it’s no longer enough to remain competitive by providing great products at great prices – companies are now relying on in-app or SMS “micro-feedback” follow-up conversations with their customers, to gain both performance insights and to harvest personalization data for their returning customers.

People are far less likely in 2019 to respond to an email survey than they are to a message on their mobile device, that either pops up in the ecommerce app or is an SMS.

Don’t go it alone

The ecommerce landscape in 2019 is cluttered, competitive, and becoming increasingly personalized for shoppers. As our parting sentiment – if you haven’t yet, enlist the support of an experienced team of consultants, designers, testers, and strategists. Everyone deserves to succeed if their products are valuable, prices are reasonable, and business is ethical.

Do you have any insights of your own, or want to discuss some of the ecommerce trends of 2019 that we didn’t have space to cover? Feel free to leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear your own thoughts on this year’s ecommerce landscape.

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