The recent e-commerce growth is like bacteria. The more growth there is the more exponential the growth becomes. In only three years, the e-commerce market is set to double from $2.3 trillion to $4.5 trillion.
Right now 67% of all buyers make their journey digitally. We’re going to see that number steadily rise over the next few years. It’s the best time to get into e-commerce.
But if you’re not aware of the trends, you’ll cease to remain relevant. Here are a few e-commerce trends you absolutely need to know about.
1. Native Shopping
Not to be confused with the abhorrent practice of buying and selling humans, native shopping simply means buying from places where we naturally abide on the internet. If you’re on Facebook, why couldn’t you buy your sneakers right there?
While Zuckerberg might be wringing his hands in anticipation of my next words, I’m not going to suggest he build a Facebook e-commerce store. But if he really wanted to keep people on Facebook, he’d emulate what Pinterest is doing.
Pinterest’s Shop the Look feature is taking e-commerce to the next level. Pinterest allows e-sellers (especially clothing retailers) to post a photo of their items. Users can click on a specific item and find out everything about it, including price, right in Pinterest.
The only time a user needs to leave the platform is when they want to finalize their purchase.
Pinterest is an intuitive way to shop. You can pin anything you’re thinking of buying and return to it later. And your friends will be able to see what you’re considering and possibly buy it too.
A win-win for both e-sellers and purchasers.
2. International is Done Playing Catch-Up
U.S. e-commerce used to be king. But today, 57% of shoppers are purchasing from overseas vendors.
And the international market is coming to the United States as well. People from all over the globe are buying online and they want your products.
How do you make your store international-friendly? It’s easy when companies like BigCommerce are providing a way to reach more than 150 countries globally.
You can find all-inclusive packages that allow you to accept all kinds of international payment from PayPal and Stripe.
3. Virtual Reality and Eventually Augmented Reality
While I’m hoping our world doesn’t become the hyperbole I see in science fiction portrayals of augmented reality, I am hopeful for the technology. Magic Leap just came out with their $2500 Magic Leap One developer kit.
That’s a jump above the Oculus Rift dev kit which launched at $600, but I still think it will eventually overcome VR in everyday usefulness.
This is why, if you’re planning on staying in e-commerce long term, it’s time to start playing with this kind of technology right now. VR is here to stay. And it’s getting cheaper by the day.
Simple augmented reality is available through a smartphone, although it’s not incredibly convincing. But the interior design app, Houzz found that consumers were more likely to purchase a product if they could visulize it in their house. They also found that users would stay in the app 2.7X longer when they used AR.
4. Voice Search is Taking Over Everything
I can say “OK Google” even when my phone is locked and get an answer from Google. This is every futurist’s dream come true. But will it ever be useful for shopping?
With Echo and Google home, shopping through voice is actually possible. Although, unless you know what you already need, the process might be cumbersome.
Imagine a system where the home assistant names out every product you could want. Sounds horrible. But what if the program could predict what you’re going to buy?
The incredible thing is that Amazon already uses a similar process to increase the efficiency of its logistics department. They can predict what you are going to buy and when and have it a processing center near you.
Soon Amazon could use this same technology to help you shop by voice.
5. Machine Learning and A.I.
You might think that machine learning and A.I. are for the big corporation like Google and Amazon. But you’d be surprised to hear that soon, these technologies will be helping small e-sellers target their audiences.
Netflix is a good example of a company that’s utilized machine learning to better target audiences. They’ve created “taste communities” based on user preferences. They tasked a machine learning algorithm with organizing these communities.
6. Same-Day or Next Day Delivery
Even Walmart has free two-day shipping. That’s an old-hat standard by now. But what about same-day or just next-day shipping?
While these options may not be offered free of charge like two-day shipping, they’re becoming popular options. Apparently, people want their products “NOW.”
We’re becoming worse procrastinators than ever. And we’ll wait till the very last minute to order something we need tomorrow. I know I’ve become extremely guilty of this habit.
But Amazon is rising to the demand. They’ve built a host of new supply centers around the United States, especially near major metropolitan areas.
These two options will eventually become mainstays just like two-day shipping did. And customers are going to become used to picking the same-day or next-day options.
Soon, fulfillment services will be offering these same options to e-sellers and you’ll be able to store your products nearby most of your customers. You may not be able to offer the service for free like some big sellers will eventually do, but you’ll at least be able to compete.