Online retail as a sector is constantly innovating, so what will be the key ecommerce trends this year? Well, we’ve uncovered five drivers for 2019…
1. Native apps will give way to progressive web applications
If you’ve never heard of a progressive web application (PWA), then don’t worry, because soon you will be. Essentially they’re a condensed file version of an ecommerce website. They give consumers an app-like experience of an app without the storage demands of a conventional app.
PWAs are easy to update and adapt to any device display. They can also work offline and where mobile phone signals are weak. What’s more, they are discoverable by search engines and so contribute to an online retailer’s SEO. Plus they make it quick and easy to monitor sales. That’s why we think they’ll take over from conventional apps this year and be a key ecommerce trend.
2. Subscription ecommerce will grow
Last year saw a number of smart online retailers encouraging their customers to subscribe to their sites. In return they receive regular deliveries of a certain product through monthly or one-off payments. Consumers get the peace of mind that they’ll never run out of their favourite item, or never miss a new version. Meanwhile, online retailers get the assurance that regular business brings and makes for more accurate revenue forecasting – so win-win!
As incentives for their customers to sign up, online retailers offer discounts on the products and delivery charges. Given the right incentives, subscription commerce could well take off in 2019.
3. Personal online stores will increase
Personalised shopping has been high on retailers agenda for some time, and 2019 could take this to another level. How about if each customer were given their very own online store curated to their personal wants and needs?
Well, thanks to the growth of more sophisticated data analytics and AI, 2019 could see this concept becoming reality. So what will online shoppers find in their very own micros stores? Everything from customisable products to exclusive online ranges, tailored promotions and more.
4. AI automation will spread
Growing competition in ecommerce means online retailers are looking for any way possible to give them an edge. A few key players have been experimenting with automation through artificial intelligence and have found that it is paying dividends.
AI and data firm Peak has revealed that retailers using AI are growing 30% faster than those who aren’t. Major retail brand Footasylum reported a 75% reduction in cost per social click. It also experienced a 28% increase in email revenue achieved through the use of AI. With the potential to cut costs, drive more efficient use of resources, and improve the customer experience, AI ecommerce automation is likely to to be a key ecommerce trend this year.
5. The post-purchase phase will grow in importance
Rather than passing over responsibility of the shipping delivery and monitoring process to their logistics supplier, more and more retailers will take control of the post-purchase customer journey. Looking for different ways to build all-important customer loyalty, 2018 saw a growing number of online retailers recognising that the buying journey doesn’t stop at the online checkout, and seeing the benefit of developing a more personal and engaging post-purchase experience.
Not only does managing post-purchase communication themselves allow retailers to offer a better service and build loyalty, but it also allows them to promote their brand and offer targeted offers and products to drive sales. This year will see more online retailers making the most of this key communications channel.
It will be fascinating to see just how far each of these five trends progresses in 2019. Each one will not only help online retailers to get closer to their customers, but also give customers a better ecommerce experience. And who knows which new trends will emerge next year…