It’s 2018 and your customer doesn’t want to shop anymore, they want to experience. An increasingly demanding customer has meant that advancements in the world of eCommerce move at the speed of light. Whatever your brand, your eCommerce strategy now needs to be entirely integrated with other parts of your business. It should inform your marketing strategy as well as your growth strategy as a whole.
So, the challenge for your brand is to stay ahead of eCommerce trends in 2018. We take a look at insight from across the eCommerce sphere to get some idea of how we can expect things to move forward.
International expansions will define eCommerce growth trends in 2018. The past couple of years have seen all of the major eCommerce players going all in to break the lucrative Chinese market. Luxury subscription service, Le Tote, for example, soft-launched in China earlier on this year. With WeChat at the centre of its strategy. In 2018, the new market to move into for eCommerce brands will be India. As usual, this is a trend led by Amazon, who opened a fulfilment centre in Bhiwandi in 2013 followed by 40 more in 13 other states. This year, others will begin to follow suit.
Moving into a new market is, of course, not without its challenges. Retailers will need to find a way to work with prominent technologies, developing a localized pricing, inventory and distribution strategy plus, (if they’re serious) a way to offer one-day shipping. Many of the current trends in eCommerce will be centred around the goal of appealing to a new customer base.
In eCommerce, traditional search functions have centred around typing keywords into a search bar. In comparison, visual search works by comparing the pixels in imagery to identify and return results that are similar to the image uploaded. In 2018, visual search functions will become a key part of the user journey. This is an important step up. Search becomes much more intuitive and aligns with the way that Millenials shop – using social platforms for product research and collecting images. Retailers including Amazon, Target and Neimann Marcus are already there, with other brands to follow this year.
Content-led Commercce & Commerce-led Content
“We want to make our content better with commerce…so that we’re fully integrating products into the content.” – David Fischer, Founder of High Snobriety.
Following investment led by Felix Capital in January of this year, esteemed streetwear publisher High Snobriety will begin putting an eCommerce strategy into place. This has long been a goal for all kinds of businesses across the industry, and we’ll see it continue to work both ways in 2018 – publishers finding ways to introduce product and commerce into their reader’s journey and brands trying to up their game with reputable editorial content.
The goal now is seamless integration of the two. With the commercial landscape for big digital media brands becoming increasingly difficult to navigate, a foray into e-commerce represents a way to offset falling ad revenue. Customers are hungry for new product (with orders fulfilled ASAP) and readers are hungry for new, exciting content. Doing both (and finding a natural way to integrate the two) requires a huge amount of resource and collaboration across the business. This will be a central concern moving forward.
As a fashion creative agency, we work with brands or finding a way to combine content and commerce seamlessly in their digital strategy. Find some of our work here.
The market for machine-learning applications is estimated to reach £30 billion by 2020, and it’s likely that many of those investments for brands will need to be in voice technologies. Comstar predicts that half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Powered by voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, brands will reach their consumers by building services or third party “skills”. This is likely to mean that 2018 marks the beginning of the race of optimize your eCommerce for search, picking between one of the three technology teams while you’re at it.
It’s well established that personalisation in eCommerce is closely linked to retention and automation opens up huge new possibilities when it comes to tailored online experiences. 2018 will see brands taking it a step further.
The latest brand to explore the new world of dynamic personalisation is L’Oreal Paris.
Their site adapts to users’ needs based on “how, why and when they’re accessing the site” – in fact, it’s so personalised that no two users will receive the same experience. The idea is that the site listens to the user as they move through and adapts accordingly, adjusting the messaging and content that the visitor sees based on their behaviour. We can expect to see other ambitious brands following suit.