We continue on with our 18 ecommerce predictions for 2018! In Part 2 of our series, we explore nine more trends that are likely to make an impact on home furnishings etailers and retailers this year. If you didn't catch Part 1, you can find it here.
10) Live Chats
Consumers expect a high-level of customer service when shopping online, just as they would in a store. Many ecommerce sites have launched live chats in response, and their popularity suggests continued adoption. The stats speak for themselves. Forty-eight percent of consumers prefer to connect over live chat compared to any other form.
11) Amazon Headlines
Amazon dominated the retail news circuit in 2017 with its acquisition of Whole Foods and partnership with IKEA. With the pending announcement of its HQ2 location and continued focus on expanding into new verticals, 2018 will likely shape up similarly. However, Amazon’s dominance doesn’t have to threaten companies; companies that choose to also sell on Amazon have, on average, seen sales increase by fifty percent.
12) Rise of B2B Ecommerce
A study from Accenture and Blackstone Group predicts that by 2020, twenty-seven percent of all B2B sales will occur online. Retailers that may sell to other businesses need to think about the ecommerce experience they deliver, recognizing the different needs of businesses as compared to individual consumers.
13) Storefront Apps
Consumers like engaging with apps, which is why retailers will be wise to explore this in the coming year. Mobile users spend eighty-six percent of their time on apps compared to time spent on websites, and storefront app conversions outperform mobile website conversions by forty percent.
According to research from Accenture, sixty-five percent of consumers say that consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that knows their purchase history, and fifty-eight percent are more likely to make a purchase if a retailer recommends options based on past purchases. Serving up products that are specific to individual consumer preferences can pay off big.
15) Pop-Up Shops
Consumers still value physical, tactile shopping experiences. That’s why pop-up shops have been “popping up” in recent years. For etailers, pop-up shops are relatively inexpensive ways to let consumers physically interact with their brand. The fact that they’re temporary and typically curated with unique products helps draw consumer interest.
16) Compelling Content
Offering engaging content is essential to staying competitive with other ecommerce retailers. Provide product descriptions that serve up more than a product’s dimensions, finishes or colors; let descriptions describe how products will fit into a consumer’s life with rich detail and marketing-ready copy.
17) International eCommerce
Ecommerce growth continues to be most explosive in emerging markets, particularly Asia, where the retail online market will reach $1.4 trillion by 2020. Retailers seeking to capitalize on these markets will need to ensure they offer comparable ecommerce experiences to all of their users, regardless of location.
18) Drop Shipments
Drop shipping is a new alternative for retailers that have traditionally ordered and housed products in their own distribution centers. When retailers drop ship, the brands that supply their products ship directly to consumers. Retailers don’t have to worry about fulfillment, transportation, or pre-purchasing items, which means higher profit margins.
Which trends do you think will have the biggest impact on your business this year?