eCommerce Predictions for 2018
There are a number of eCommerce predictions for 2018 circulating at the moment. Here is a quick summary that we have collated from Power Retail, Digital Doughnut as well as from our own customers and partners.
Hyper personalisation is an eCommerce company’s dream – it is much easier to sell your product to your customer when the sales angle is tailored to that particular shopper. Biometric technologies are advancing quickly and facial recognition feature built into Apple’s latest iPhone is going to provide eCommerce companies with a goldmine. Not everyone will be able to afford this level of personalisation but the very concept of the technology is truly exciting!
Customer experiences and Artificial Intelligence will be adopted by the bigger eCommerce brands, smaller businesses will need to rely on their own abilities to segment and customise the experience for the customer. Authentic personalisation may help to stand you apart from the big guys.
Online marketplaces will continue to disrupt the online space, particularly with the arrival of Amazon into Australia and other online powerhouses such as eBay, Ali Baba and Ali Express and more. Not every retailer or brand, however, will thrive on marketplaces. For those keen to maintain control over both customer experience and pricing, selling through a marketplace can strip away many of the controls they experience through their own channels.
Online marketplaces generate heated price wars from merchants big and small, leaving low margins and loss of control of pricing strategies. To succeed, it’s important for retailers to explore the differences between major marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, and other vertical marketplaces such as the upcoming Myer Market and RED, an app that helps Chinese users find and buy foreign luxury products.
Cross border eCommerce will continue to grow, meaning merchants will need platforms that integrate with international carriers such as DHL eCommerce, DHL Express, Australia Post, NZ Post and more.
The Asian e-commerce market is estimated to reach US $1.8 trillion in 2018, accounting for 60 percent of global retail e-commerce market (according to eMarketer). With China the largest and South Korea the third largest e-commerce markets in Asia, they’re becoming hot targets for Australian retailers. Demand continues for safe, quality products from Australia and New Zealand, particularly related to mother and baby; health and nutrition; beauty; and fashion.
Evolving consumer expectations are pushing Australian retailers and brands to redefine fulfillment. With Amazon’s imminent arrival into the Australian market, a high benchmark will be set. Australian retailers will be better positioned and liked by consumers, if they can support fulfillment with greater accuracy in demand forecasting, rather than just on replenishment.
Service will differentiate the best from the rest – those that find ways to go the extra mile for their customers and retain a level of personalisation will endure.
Optimisation: Online shopping will continue to grow and become more streamlined as more eCommerce merchants embrace new technology and software – as do consumers. Ensuring your site is optimised for mobile, has a fast loading speed as well as being easy to navigate and checkout will be paramount to success as customers will be less forgiving.
Shipping costs and options, packaging options (think eco, recyclable) will become more of a concern as the call to reduce plastics grows and ways to improve communication during fulfillment and shipping.
Customer communication will be critical – it will no longer be good enough to take a customer’s order and have it disappear into the black hole of silence. Look for easy ways to automate communication like shipping notifications via SMS and email (check out branded tracking pages and SMS alerts)
Omni channel retailing: Rising costs have forced online retailers to look for new opportunities to grow through their physical stores. On the other hand, physical stores are continuing to expand their operations to online channels. Omni-channel retailing continues to create synergies for both online and physical retail.
User generated content: customers love (UGC). 66% of shoppers trust reviews that are posted online by their fellow shoppers. If a third of your audience is more inspired to buy your goods when their peers have told them to, then it has been predicted that this year will see your storytelling follow suit – 2018 will see the rise of user-generated storytelling.
Customer Loyalty Schemes – Your customers are happier about giving you their data if they feel they are getting something in return. Find ways to make it a win win for both parties.
Branding – personal and professional – will help differentiate your online shop from the others: look for new ways to engage and stand out from the crowd. Check out eCommerce guru Jason Greenwood’s video on how to use the Power of LinkedIn to build your brand.
Best of luck for 2018 – may it be a successful and fulfilling year for you!
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