It’s a very interesting time to be an ecommerce brand. Whether you’ve been around for a little while, or you’re just getting into the market, the possibilities available at your fingertips, and speed at which you can execute and implement new technologies and innovations are practically endless.
In order to get ahead of the game, and reap the big rewards, you need to try new things. If you don’t innovate, you run the risk of falling behind. We haven’t even reached the end of January yet and there are already brands out there who are welcoming the ability to explore new platforms, test out new technologies and are finding great success in doing so.
So what are the main trends that are changing the game of the ecommerce landscape in 2019? Well, you’re about to find out.
Voice search and our obsession with talking to robots continues.
The days of thinking it was weird to see someone talking out loud and into their phone are over. User behaviour has changed, we’ve gotten so comfortable with this idea of saying voice commands out loud, even in the presence of others, that we’ve opened it up to our homes. The rise of Alexa and Google Home devices have sparked rapid growth in the smart speaker industry, which is now predicting a 63% growth lift from 2018. Deloitte Global has reported that in 2019, the industry will be valued at $7 Billion USD, and it’s not slowing down. Further research has suggested that by 2020, 50% of all searches made online will be voice searches. What does that mean for your brand? It’s time to start exploring this space. Adopt conversational messaging into your marketing, build a knowledge base for voice to tap into, understand semantic search phrases and start figuring out how to utilize featured snippets which are growing in importance. One thing is for certain, voice search is on the rise, so it’s not just a matter of thinking about how your brand reads on paper, but also how it sounds that is growing in importance.
Augmented Reality. (AR)
The true meaning of trying before you buy.
Shopify changed the game when it announced at the end of last year that it made shopping in augmented reality a reality for businesses. You might be familiar with the term Virtual Reality (VR), the cousin of AR, which requires you to wear a headset in order to take you from one place to another. AR is different in that it doesn't require a headset. Simply a smart phone which uses computer vision and your camera to anchor a virtual object into your view. It allows you to zoom in and out and move around it all while maintaining its scale. AR is not new, but it’s now hitting mainstream e-commerce. What was once unattainably expensive for most brands, is now an out of the box Shopify solution. You will no longer have to wonder if the chairs you want to buy will look good with your table you already own, AR will allow you to virtually place the chair there so you can essentially try before you buy. Anything from a water bottle on your desk, to a $500 million dollar car in your driveway, AR will let you look at that object from as many angles as you want, making you feel like it’s right there in front of your eyes. See it for yourself!
You can no longer depend on one platform.
Integrated marketing strategies are what you need to be looking at in 2019. It’s no longer a viable option for companies to only rely on one particular platform for a big chunk of their revenue. Why? Because platforms are becoming oversaturated, and hugely expensive.. Your marketing tool kit needs to be equipped with everything you need to optimise your brand for growth. And growth only happens if and when all of these forces are working together. A coordinated effort between Social Media Advertising, Retargeting, Display Advertising, Google Ads, Video Ads or Native Ads is best executed as a whole, not as individual tactics.
Forget about the product, why do people want YOU?
It’s getting more and more difficult to compete with brands based on price, product or variation. At the end of the day, there is always going to be someone out there who can make the exact same product as yours for cheaper, they can do it faster, and they can bring out more variations of it. You need to stop competing based on the superficial elements and you need to start thinking about your brand. Your brand story, who you are, and why you exist is one of the most powerful elements of your business, and it’s only unique to you. Sure, your brand story might not be that exciting, but there’s always a story to be spun off even the smallest of adventures. Your product is no longer the core pillar of your business, it’s your brand that people are investing in. Why are they choosing your brand over something that they can get on Amazon? That should be the question you ask yourself whenever you re-evaluate your website, your social posts, your emails that you send to customers. Why your brand?
People want to feel special - so make them feel special.
If you haven’t already heard, generalized marketing is out, and personalized marketing is in. Marketers are quickly finding out that it’s no longer good enough to blast the same message to a big group of people and expect something remarkable to happen. Today’s consumers want to feel special. They want to feel like the communication they are receiving was made specifically for them, and that their decision, their opinion, or their action means something. The rise technologies such as chat bots, and techniques such as segmentation are what is making personalized marketing communication come to life. If you aren’t integrating these sorts of marketing practices into your mix, then the reality is you are leaving money on the table. These are the sorts of platforms that are yet to be over saturated and abused, and as such, they are proving to be a great revenue driver for a lot of brands who are utilizing it it in a strategic and effective way.
Leverage every opportunity to put your brand in front of the right people.
Multi-channel selling gives you the opportunity to let customers browse and purchase your products wherever they prefer to do so. It’s not to say that you need to put your product everywhere humanly possible, but you do need to understand the differences between platforms and pick the ones that make the most sense to your business. Selling on social media has become a lot more advanced since social media advertising first started to take off. With features like Shoppable Instagram, you can now turn your own organic content into a live product catalogue for your business. This native integration allows you to tag your products on your own organic posts so that customers can then click on the products they like and land directly on your website. Facebook Messenger gives the ability to go through a complete purchase, while Pinterest shopping lets you buy directly from any of your searched or pinned items that have a blue price tag (known as a buyable pin). Other platforms to consider are the various different market places you can also sell your products on such as; Amazon, Ebay and Google Shopping.