Top 5 eCommerce Trends of 2019

Ian Blackburn is managing director of online clothing store, Hidepark Leather, an independent brand with a strong focus on digital marketing and performance.

Online sales are set to double in 2021 when compared to 2017, meaning we’re right in the middle of an online retail explosion. With new technology emerging every month and consumer habits changing to align with this, it can be hard to see what’s going to be popular among retailers. The following are the top five ecommerce trends small retailers should be aware of in 2019.

Social buying technology
Social media often plays a huge part in an online retailer’s marketing and sales strategy. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram especially are constantly pushing for retailers to engage and invest in their offerings more and more. They do this by innovating their advertising product, and this involves more social purchasing options. Consumers no longer have a mistrust in online purchasing, therefore the jump to buying directly within social media applications is not as farfetched as it may once have been perceived.

In 2019, expect to see social media platforms invest more into their offerings. Conversion steps will be reduced to a minimum and it will slowly become the norm to purchase goods directly through the applications themselves. This will prevent any issues along the conversion journey such as failed checkout or forced logins.

Mobile first shopping
With Google now indexing mobile websites rather than desktop versions, it’s no surprise that 2019 will be the year of mobile-first shopping. If your online store isn’t designed for mobiles and tablets, you’re going to be slowing your own growth and development down month on month. More retailers will ensure their website is up to scratch in 2019 focusing on optimising for mobiles and touchscreens. This will make websites quicker, slicker and the overall ecommerce experience will become easier than ever, hopefully improving retailers’ conversion rates along the way.

If you’re looking to make your website more mobile-friendly you may want to research the following considerations;

●     Page speed

●     Responsive design

●     Touchscreen optimisation

●     Avoiding excessive scrolling

Shoppable video
Purchasing directly from images and social ads is becoming a more accepted practice, and something that will develop further in 2019, is the potential for shoppable video. Online video is expected to become 79% of all web traffic by 2021 and this can allow retailers another avenue to sell. Selling on video doesn’t just mean pre or mid-roll advertisements on videos, it can also come from users purchasing products directly within the video. This allows consumers to tap clothing items for example that are featured in a video and they can then get taken right to the product page to buy immediately. There are various businesses making shoppable video more accessible but it will still be a purchase many smaller retailers may not be prioritising. However, those that do choose to invest in this could be seen as being at the forefront of this new technology.

Changing consumer values
Whilst technology is improving and reducing the steps to convert, this all adds to the general consumer expectation of a swift and responsive online shopping experience. Consumers have less patience and time than ever. Shopping can be done in a few moments when the average person has a spare minute on their lunch break or in between looking after children. One-click ordering and same-day delivery are expectations that fit into the contemporary timepoor lifestyle. With Amazon’s dominance providing same-day delivery in some areas it’s hardly surprising consumer’s expectations are changing, online retailers will have to offer whatever is best within their means.

Adapting to the impatient consumer is not going to be a trend just for 2019 but for the coming decade. If retailers wish to adapt to the modern customer, they need to review their delivery process, even changing suppliers should there current offering not be satisfactory. Offering next-day delivery within a certain radius or before a specific cut-off time can increase your offering and trustworthiness to consumers. Whatever you do, ensure you use a well-respected supplier that’s going to benefit not only you but your customers, too.

Increased used of chatbots
Chatbots, whether located on a website or through apps such as Facebook Messenger, are slowly becoming a core part of any online retailer’s marketing strategy. Figures show they’re expected to tackle 85% of customer interactions within the next year. The reason they’re going to be used more in 2019 is simple: cost. They’re now cheaper than ever because more people are investing in the technology, driving up the competition and keeping costs low. You can even choose to have a website chatbot integrated with Facebook Messenger allowing consumers to have multiple touchpoints with you. For clothing retailers, this can answer questions about sizing simply. For ecommerce business owners in general, it can alert customers to low stock to encourage them to purchase so they don’t miss out. Simple rules and AI could be the reason your sales increase in 2019 through the use of our robotic friends.