Online shopping continues to be on the rise in the U.S. Recent reports show that the e-commerce industry grew by 16 percent, or roughly $460 billion, in 2017 alone. We expect this trend to continue, and encourage companies in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sectors not to miss out on this opportunity.
Here are five of the most powerful e-commerce trends we’ll be watching throughout 2019:
1. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are becoming integral parts of many industries, and e-commerce is no different. As the online buyer’s expectations turn toward a more personalized experience, ML and AI become necessary elements of a successful e-commerce site.
These technologies allow businesses to provide a targeted shopping experience while reducing negative feedback. We should expect to see an increase in utilization — and improvement — of AI and ML algorithms throughout 2019 and beyond.
2. Voice Search
Voice search is gaining in popularity, and it is very close to becoming an SEO standard. According to Search Engine Land and Google, 20 percent of all searches are voice-based. eCommerce sites are following the same trend. Forbes reports that today’s $2 billion voice-shopping market will grow to $40 billion by 2020. This massive increase in market share will only continue as shoppers embrace Alexa-type voice assistants for their daily shopping activities.
3. Convenient Shipping and Product Pickups
With 40 percent of the total e-commerce market share, Amazon leads the way, especially when it comes to logistics. Same-day or next-day deliveries will become the norm as competing companies try to dip into Amazon’s loyal customer base.
Similarly, we can expect to see more businesses offering monthly shipping subscriptions, and lastly, physical stores could gain back their momentum through no-checkout and “buy online/pick up offline” programs.
4. Augmented Reality
As e-commerce businesses try to improve their sales techniques, the augmented reality could become a successful tool. Most of today’s shoppers use online stores to gather information on products, but a large percentage still favors making final purchases in brick-and-mortar stores.
So what guides this behavior? According to researchers, it is the uncertainty involved in online purchases. When you buy online, you can’t really see the actual product, and you can’t touch it, either. You are left to use your imagination and fill in those blanks. For some shoppers, that is good enough. For others, not so much.
With augmented reality added to an existing e-commerce site, businesses can help their customers get a “real life” experience of the product. Giants like IKEA and Amazon already utilize these technologies, but we can expect this trend to spread onto the medium and even some small businesses throughout 2019 and 2020.
5. Customer Service Chatbots
Though still fairly clumsy, customer service chatbots are hitting the spotlight with commercial and e-commerce websites and we can expect to see more of this in 2019. In fact, chatbots will be many consumers’ first direct experience with AI-based automation.
Customer service chatbots offer a human-like level of service by guiding the user through a typical buying process. Where they fall short is in non-typical situations, and this can potentially be damaging to the businesses. We’ll see how far the technology can advance in 2019.
Contact Us to Discuss eCommerce Solutions in 2019
Blue Stingray is here to help you navigate the ever-changing technology landscape. If you would like to talk more about e-commerce trends, or just want to chat about what to expect in the year to come, contact us or send us an email at email@example.com.