According to an article by Business Insider, online sales will account for 17% of all US retail sales by 2022, up from a projected 12.7% in 2017. The cited report also expects US online sales to grow 13% year-over-year (YoY) in 2017, which is five times faster than projected offline sales growth.
Even without these stats, it’s no secret that ecommerce is a critical part of any retail strategy, and incorporating the latest technology updates into a fully-integrated digital commerce practice is imperative to staying relevant and ahead of competition.
Here at Digital Operative, we pride ourselves on keeping you informed of the latest trends in ecommerce website development and technology. Check out a few of the 2018 updates that we’re most excited about. Can your website keep up? Read on to find out.
1. Voice search
Voice search has really taken off this year as voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home become commonplace. Taking advantage of this technology, Google and Walmart announced a partnership that will allow highly personalized voice shopping through Google Home and Google Home Mini. With this advancement, customers are able to shop for more than 2 million Walmart items through voice alone.
Furthermore, Salesforce’s 2017 Connected Shopper Report, states that 40% of millennials have used voice search before making a purchase online, and 20% of Google searches on mobile are voice. And, in the fourth quarter of 2017, 24% of all ecommerce dollars were spent via mobile device, according to Statista. When you add this increase in mobile commerce into consideration, optimizing your online store for voice search will be key for the remainder of 2018.
2. Mobile checkout
3. Faster shipping, better delivery
Looking beyond the traditional characteristics of ecommerce platforms, one of the very few remaining differentiators in the space is shipping times and delivery logistics. Last year, the popularity of on-demand deliveries grew significantly, and we’re sure to see more delivery options popping up throughout the remainder of 2018.
Needless to say, Amazon is the king of ecommerce delivery and has no intentions of giving up its throne anytime soon. With more than 8,000 Amazon Prime members currently living in areas offering Amazon Now’s one-hour delivery service, reducing the time between click and delivery is likely to become one of the most grueling battles in ecommerce.
Partnerships with delivery startups and tapping into physical stores as distribution centers will allow many retailers to offer delivery of products in mere moments. It’s all about matching speed with convenience... combine that with emerging technologies like driverless freight, envisioned by automotive companies such as Mercedes-Benz, and logistical improvements are sure to be the driving force (pun intended) within the ecommerce space.
4. AR & VR
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices are no longer reserved for companies with deep pockets, and we are encouraging retailers of all sizes to start experimenting with AR and VR marketing strategies. We’re about to see this technology become not only part of the in-store experience, but part of the entire commerce package. Imagine QR codes triggering “enhanced experiences” with different products, thus expanding the “try before you buy” concept and merging the in-store experience with ecommerce.
VR is really just getting started in the ecommerce world, but the opportunity here is hard to ignore. Imagine being able to visualize your living room with new furniture before making a purchase. With endless possibilities for creating an enhanced shopping experience for ecommerce consumers, it’s time to start thinking about how this technology can be applied to your own products and services.
5. Photo Shopping
Imagine a digital world where instead of typing words, consumers use image-based search. Well there’s no need to imagine it, because consumers got to try it for the first time this year. In fact image and voice activated search is predicted to make up as much as 50% of all searches in 2020 according to Geo Marketing.
Merchants who integrate this capability into their digital strategy will no doubt be rewarded. First, their product information management investment will reach new levels of return on investment (ROI), and second, they will be able to enter new markets based on the quality and multiplicity of the images they provide. Language will no longer be a barrier to discovery, nor will product name or incorrect/unknown attributes.
This is the year we will see the rise of animation. Motion makes an experience feel more alive, and specifically in ecommerce, motion can be a signal of delight, personality or urgency. We’re already seeing this take place in emails and now it’s time to make the leap to ecommerce shops. Animated iconography can be used for a number of things like notifying people when a product is almost sold out or when new items have dropped in price.
Just remember, not everything that glitters is gold. Use caution, because while subtle animation will become a prerequisite, the overuse of movement could annoy rather than improve an overall experience. Take your time, test different types of animation and see what resonates best with your audience.
7. Simplicity over complexity
This year we’ll see more brands investing in higher quality content over flashy technology, as retailers finally make the connection that their website should serve the customer, not themselves. Don’t get us wrong, the flashy tech is fun and exciting, but is should be used with purpose. Parallax should tell a story, slideshows aren’t always the best design solution for a homepage, and motion and animation should help with spatial perception.
Needless to say, the world of ecommerce is in a constant state of change, and those changes are coming today at an increasingly rapid pace. The seven ecommerce functionality updates listed above only just begin to tip the scale of what’s on the forefront, so stay tuned for future updates and tips on our blog. Big things are coming, huge.
When you’re ready to start implementing some of these things, we’ll be here, ready to help. We are a full-service digital agency focused on helping ecommerce companies grow online and sell more stuff. Contact us to learn more about our ecommerce technology services!
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