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What Trends Should You Be Looking Out For In 2019?

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If you weren’t aware already, eCommerce is evolving at a rapid pace. If you’re wanting to boost sales and conversion rates on your Magento eCommerce store, then it’s more crucial than ever to stay ahead of the latest online shopping trends.

Throughout this article, we’ll be taking a detailed look at some of the top trends expected in eCommerce in 2019 so read on to learn what they could be and how you can implement them in your own eCommerce business!

Animation

Early indications have shown that animated images are to become the norm. Now, you probably will have seen that gifs and animated videos are pretty much everywhere when trawling through social media – this is because motion on an otherwise static screen works at gaining the user’s attention. However, it appears eCommerce businesses aren’t quite ready to follow suit and run static images ‘out of town’ just yet. Why do you ask? Because there are still some benefits to using static images.

Yes we agree, using animation and movement on your eCommerce site or email marketing campaigns will draw attention to specific details and work to engage the viewers, but it’s just as important that you don’t overdo it! You don’t want to start making every image you include on your site move as it will soon become distracting and will pull users away from the more important actions you want a customer to take, like completing a purchase. The trick is to use animation where suitable. Work to engage your users not distract them.

Social Shopping

Social shopping is the coming together of social media channels, most notably Facebook and Instagram, with online shopping.

When managed and delivered effectively, it can provide dual benefits for Magento eCommerce businesses and their customers. Merchants will get new platforms on which to start engaging with like-minded people to try and promote their products, while consumers can enjoy a more relevant and streamlined shopping experience.

Social shopping is enabled by including features such as ‘buy now’ buttons which allow users to navigate directly from a social platform to a sales channel, and also the ability for brands to create posts and stories that include tags and links to specific products.

There are nearly 3.4 billion active users of social media, and that number is only expected to rise over the coming years. So, with no reason to assume that this trend will be reversed anytime soon, eCommerce businesses that want to leverage the opportunity to strengthen their brand, build up customer relationships and most importantly, increase sales, could have a lot to gain from social shopping.

There are nearly 3.4 billion active users of social media, and that number is only expected rise over the coming years.

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Automation

There are three key components when it comes to growing an online business. Save time, save money and sell more. Now, while most businesses focus on the latter point, the irony of high volume eCommerce is that selling more can be its own worst enemy.

As an organisation’s sales and demand increase, complexity and repetition mount – so much so systems that used to work become increasingly inefficient and in the worst cases just breakdown altogether. This is where Magento eCommerce automation software comes into play and gives you the most important thing back: time.

In short, eCommerce automation is the combination of software, processes and mindsets that allow multiple roles within an eCommerce organisation to do the following:

  1. Reduce manual workloads and redundant tasks
  2. Simplify both front and backends workflows
  3. Experiment for growth quickly and efficiently

This can take a host of different forms such as tagging customers for segmentation and marketing, standardising visual merchandising, streamlining tracking and reporting, halting high-risk orders and so much more.

Essentially, the more tasks your business can automate, the more scalable your business becomes. Automation can ultimately become the key to take the pressure off your human resources in 2019.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is very unpredictable and constantly changing. It’s also often the stage that most brands or public figures want to get to – who doesn’t want to have their voice be heard through the help of influencers?

With that said, 2019 will become the year of influencer marketing.

If you think you’ve seen it all, with the trends, campaigns and influencers in 2018, think again. With the help of advancing technology and the transformation of a society that is focusing more and more on the individual customer experience, online shopping will become more personalised than ever before and the entertainment world will dramatically shift towards authenticity.  

Now, while influencers are not a new trend as such, they are continuing to become more prevalent and profitable. Social media influencers are getting savvier, forming creative partnerships that allow brands to connect with their niche audiences and create trust through word-of-mouth marketing.

Top Quality Photos and Videos

I’m sure you have all heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And in today’s visually based media that statement couldn’t be truer.

Using a lot of stock images can make it a more difficult to differentiate your brand, so try and use unique branded photography and videography on your website as well as your emails and social posts in order to create a more memorable experience for your shoppers. Other reasons why you should start to invest in high-quality photos when it comes to your marketing materials include:

  1. Better Overall Visual Appeal

Decent images make your materials a lot more visually attractive and therefore more likely to be spotted, as let’s face it – no one wants to look at just a large block of text. Have a think about the audience you are trying to reach as in today’s world, they are more accustomed to getting their information from sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr, all of which are highly visual platforms.

Throughout the last few years when we’ve seen social media growing there have been numerous social media studies showing that visual posts and those containing photos or videos get much higher engagement rates to those only featuring text.

  1. Personalising Your Marketing

People are generally more interested in seeing photos that highlight your business and products, so try and use your own photos rather than opting for stock images whenever you can. Always using stock images is the equivalent of displaying the pictures that come with a frame. Those people/photos might look better, but it’s not real life and authenticity wins every time!

  1. Showcasing Products and Services

There really is no better way to showcase your products and services through the imagery of great high-quality photos. No description you can ever write is able to fully capture the attention of your audience or customers like an evocative photograph can.

Always using stock images is the equivalent of displaying the pictures that come in a frame. Those people/photos might look better, but it’s not real life and authenticity will win every single time!

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Another thing to keep a close eye on is using 360-degree product videos for products, we have already seen a few brands adopt this feature on their product pages and we’re sure to see more of it on eCommerce stores in 2019.

Artificial Intelligence

The rise of conversion AI (more commonly known as chatbots) is one of 2019’s most popular eCommerce trends helping brands interact with their customers at a larger scale.

Chatbots

AI in eCommerce can’t be discussed without referring to chatbots. These chat boxes on your eCommerce website homepage are AI-based computers that are programmed to communicate with customers in a much more personalised manner. Having chatbots on Magento eCommerce sites can help buyers when looking for their perfect product, checking product availability, comparing various products and also making those final payments.

This eCommerce trend also helps provide huge value to busy users who are demanding immediate answers, regardless of the time of day or the platform they are choosing to contact a company on. AI has allowed eCommerce businesses to support customers on all of their platforms simultaneously.

Recommendation Engines

Recommendation engines are employed by a lot of retail companies in order to identify the target audience for their products based on recent searches made by a potential customer. AI algorithms in search engines record any critical details on the product that is being searched and based on these outcomes of the algorithm, the search engines generate more appropriate recommendations for the user which will then be listed on a personal dashboard.

Warehouse Automation

An essential component of the eCommerce industry is that operations play a vital role in deciding the trend of sales for a company. Big companies now employ robots (yes, robots!) to boost warehouse processes including jobs like parcel sorting, packaging and even categorising products. The overall speed and efficiency of these sorting mechanisms and the delivery schedule for the products have been vastly improved – will we see robots taking over the eCommerce world?

Diversity In Representation

This one is long overdue but finally happening in 2019! More and more eCommerce brands are finally understanding that they can appeal to customers by using models who look like real people, rather than perfect representations of the human form.

A number of large fashion brands have now released campaigns featuring models with various disabilities, illnesses and size – and their efforts were a breath of fresh air for the eCommerce world, especially in the fashion industry. These types of campaigns are going viral and have received a lot of positive publicity from various news outlets. Most importantly though, women of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities were able to see models who looked just like them.

So throughout this year, expect to see a lot more ‘real models’ appearing as we reckon this will be a big one!

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Augmented and virtual reality have been the buzzwords on everyone’s lips for a couple of years now and the use of it in Magento eCommerce is exciting for both customers and merchants.

There are a couple of key reasons why Magento eCommerce retailers are so interested in these emerging technologies and their significant potential. Most importantly perhaps, it allows stores to try and improve the overall customer shopping experience. The latest interest in AR and VR in eCommerce has driven a significant amount of investment in the industry.

Augmented and virtual reality have been the buzzwords on everyone’s lips for a couple of years now and the use of it in eCommerce is exciting for both customers and merchants.

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Reassuring customers that the products they are thinking of buying are exactly what they are looking for is one of the biggest hurdles that online merchants face. Shoppers will always want to get a better look and feel of a product before committing to the purchase, so the key for a store here is removing that doubt by significantly enhancing the shopping experience through immersive browsing using AR/VR, or a combination of the two.

There have already been a few big brands to use AR and VR. One of the earliest pioneers was actually LEGO. They released the ‘LEGO AR Studio’ which can be downloaded on your smartphone and tablet – the app lets you play with digital versions of LEGO sets in real-world scenes.

Another one worth mentioning is IKEA. Their app allows you to scan products from its furniture catalogue and then see that item in your own home.

We are now able to not only mimic shopping experience virtually but actually enhance and improve it, helping to remove the doubt that customers traditionally feel while shopping online.

Nathan Revill, Co-Founder & Director of Creative Technologies at the award-winning digital agency, Dorset Creative had this to say about the industry…

“With the imminent release of lower cost VR headsets being pushed by Facebook, alongside powerful phones being released each day, the hardware is ready for mass adoption of this technology. In the near future, we will wonder how we lived without a voice-controlled artificial intelligence personal shopper in a VR store. They’ll select what clothes you like, show it on a virtual body and charge you with your saved payment details. It’ll become more immersive when we can taste food through an electronic mouthpiece, smell the latest perfume and feel a product with active haptic gloves! Virtual reality is exposing us to many experiences – if you can dream it, we can do it.”

nathan reville
Nathan Revill

Co-Founder & Director

Dorset Creative

With the imminent release of lower cost VR headsets being pushed by Facebook, alongside powerful phones being released each day, the hardware is ready for mass adoption of this technology. In the near future, we will wonder how we lived without a voice controlled artificial intelligence personal shopper in a VR store. They’ll select what clothes you like, show it on a virtual body and charge you with your saved payment details. It’ll become more immersive when we can taste food through an electronic mouthpiece, smell the latest perfume and feel a product with active haptic gloves! Virtual reality is exposing us to many experiences – if you can dream it, we can do it.

One Click Purchasing

In 2019, your eCommerce store must be mobile-friendly to stand a chance against the ever-increasing competition and implement a checkout process which is simple and as easy-to-follow as possible. The checkout process trend we expect to see much more of in 2019 is one-click purchasing.

Amazon introduced one-click buying a few years ago now but we are yet to see the trend boom. The idea of one-click buying was to circumvent the typical shopping cart form and allow users to complete purchases with, as the name suggests only one click. Amazons’ patented one-click technology was eventually licensed to other eCommerce retailers, most notably Apple a couple of years later, but today that patent has since expired and other platform providers are able to roll out one-click ordering on their own stores. This ease and convenience shopping technique could quickly transform the technology from a competitive advantage to a tool which consumers demand. Watch this space.

Voice Search

We have written a few articles about voice search and its impact on the world of eCommerce, as the likes of Google Assistants and Alexa have become increasingly more popular since their launch – nearly a quarter of UK homes now have a smart speaker device in their homes. It’s not just smart speakers that are growing in popularity either. Voice search present on all smartphone devices is being used more regularly than ever to make online purchases.

With voice search becoming more and more common, businesses need to be prepared for the reality that this technology is having a major impact on SEO. One of the most important differences between voice search and the more traditional written query on a search engine is the former is likely to be longer with more complex construction.

Brands looking to benefit from the growth of voice search must be able to deliver the perfect content and responses to more complex queries. Individual keywords are likely to lose some of their importance, with longer search terms as well as more general topics taking precedence over specific words and phrases.

Optimising your eCommerce store for voice search can help position your business to receive more traffic in 2019. So, for the best results, be sure to mirror the language your target customers will actually use.

With voice search becoming more and more common, businesses need to be prepared for the reality that this technology is having a major impact on SEO.

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Same-Day Delivery

In today’s hyper-competitive market, consumer expectations have never been so high. The adoption of digital technology has led to the rise of ’empowered’ customers who are being more demanding than ever.

Same-day delivery helps combine the convenience of online retail with the immediacy of bricks and mortar, but can it be done cost effectively? Customers have already sent strong signals to retailers that they are willing to pay more to get faster delivery.

Amazon already does offer same-day delivery to some Prime members but only in selected areas, as do technology stores like Currys and Argos. Increasingly, many other retailers are looking to adopt this delivery option but the majority still shy away due to its cost and complexity.

As it stands, the thirst for same-day delivery is there but the main deterrent of running such processes from a retailers perspective is the need to find a price point that makes it both economically viable for them and their carriers, but at the same time encourages customers to pay a little extra for the privilege.

While there are still challenges, the advances in technology are helping merchants overcome the complex issues and throughout the year we expect to see more retailers test the same-day delivery service waters.

Andy Crathorne

Managing Director

Media Lounge

How patient are your customers? How many times do you bail on an order because you can’t get it quick enough, especially for impulse purchases? Offering same day delivery reduces these drop-outs and gives you the edge. If a customer can wait, they’ll shop around but if they need (or in most cases, want) it now, they’ll have limited choice.

So, Which eCommerce Trends Will You Try?

We hope you enjoyed learning about the top eCommerce trends we expect to see in the coming year but which of them will you be trying out for your business? It’s always best to start with the trends you believe will bring your company the best return on investment.

Whichever ones you choose, always test and retest your shopping experience constantly to ensure your site is optimised based on performance. Oh and let us know how you get on too!

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