2017 has seen a range of technologies released in order to help users research and buy online. The past decade has opened up another world for brands to sell online, and with over 3.2 billion people in the world having access to the internet it’s no surprise that the world of e-commerce has taken off.
Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Google Allo are all introducing integrated bots to help with shopping, booking and customer service. The first e-commerce trend sees consumers beginning to get familiar with talking to machines.
Facebook actually has 11,000 chatbots already available, although data on their use is unknown as yet. But we hope that in the near future we get to see what Facebook is going to plan on using these 11,000 chatbots for.
With more users getting used to talking to machines, I’m sure that you have spoken to a machine on a website without even realising. Some online chat boxes will be chatbots ready to find out your issue before passing your issue onto a real person.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now reaching a level that it could be extremely valuable in so many people’s daily lives. 2017 saw the rise of the digital assistant like Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft) and The Assistant (Google). With the introduction and popularity of these devices, people have got used to talking to machines and now know how they work.
This rise in artificial intelligence will certainly impact e-commerce, as talking to the digital assistants will become the beginning stage of the research process. With a large range of digital assistants already available to buy, they will all respond differently due to them all being created and developed by different companies. For example, the Echo will default to Amazon product pages and reviews, while the Google Home will list the top result of each search page.
When thinking about AI and the digital assistants this means that e-commerce brand will have to adapt their websites in order to rank appropriately for relevant spoken search terms like ‘OK Google, show me the nearest Coffee Shop’.
You might be bored of hearing about the move to mobile over the past year but just because it’s been repeated doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid trend. If anything it has been repeated so much because of how important this trend is for your site.
In 2017, mobile traffic has overtaken desktop on the web and Google now indexes Mobile friendly sites and pages first. If that isn’t enough to make this a valid trend then I don’t know what is. These changes that have been laid out in front of us, mean that it is more important than ever to make the mobile experience as good as it can be. We all know how frustrating it is going on a website on your phone that isn’t mobile, so why should your customers experience that?
We are now at a point in time where we need to be putting mobile sites first, and not just simply optimising for mobile.
Personalisation & Customisation
The data this is available to webmasters is increasing and said data is becoming invaluable for a webmaster. The data that is available allows content, ads and products to be shown at the right people at the right time; I’m sure you have seen that sneaky advert on your Facebook feed of them shoes you was eyeing up the previous day!
Personalisation for users has become the new way to convert across multiple platforms. It can be done across multiple social media platforms as well as the display network too, so you can catch your audience’s eye everywhere they look.
Making advertisements personal to each user, really gives off the impression that as a business you are essentially ‘caring’ about each user enough to make their journey personal to them. To some users, this can be a little ‘creepy’ as it could look as if your brand is following them around the web. However, this is an extremely good strategy of advertising, maybe you should try it!
Same Day Delivery/Next Day Delivery
The quicker the better when it comes to delivery. In 2017, we can get what we want, when we want even from buying online. Amazon hit the top spot at the end of 2016 start of 2017 when it began to offer same day and next day delivery. In most cases, Amazon will be a competitor; as they sell everything, so next day delivery should be something that you should be considering if you don’t already offer it.
Offering same day and next day delivery can also become a USP for your business, giving your business the higher ground over a competitor. The world in 2017 want things now and the quicker you can ship to your customers, the better and happier they will be.
Another concept that seems to have been in many e-commerce trends articles without ever truly taking off. And while I don’t think it will grab a massive share of the market in 2017, I’ve still included it.
Facebook CFO Dave Wehner recently outlined how ad load (the relative volume of advertising versus content on a page) is going to be less effective in the very near future. “We continue to expect that ad load will play a less significant factor driving revenue growth after mid-2017,”
Facebook needs to diversify their revenue streams if they want to keep shareholders happy. Several networks have been rolling out increased selling options. Brands could see sales increase, and even products go viral, generating huge interest as word-of-mouth increases its reach. We have seen this for instance with the videos and images that go viral on Facebook. Essentially this could happen but for products being sold on Facebook, now for a brand that would be a brilliant thing to achieve.
Social is a channel that hasn’t yet been established in the ecommerce industry as many of the social channels were not set up originally to sell products off. However, Facebook has lead the way recently with the introduction of the ‘Marketplace’ where users can buy and sell. I would assume that this would be the way forward for brands; everything in one place, making it easier for everyone all round.
As 2017 gets underway we will see more trends uncovered for sure. It’s exciting to see which trend will hit the ground running next and in 2018, but we will be sure to keep our eyes open to find out which one it will be.
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