As we approach 2018, a simple online transaction no longer cuts the mustard for consumers. We want to see personality, engagement and authenticity to help guide our buying decisions.
Brands now need to have personality no matter what industry they fall into. They’re expected to show credibility through engaging content and personal interactions which is going to be even more important in 2018.
There’s also a whole host of new advancements in technology such as voice search which will impact e-commerce. As an online retailer, it’s therefore important to stay ahead of the game and be prepared. To help, here’s 5 key eccomerce trends to watch in 2018.
1. Engagement away from purchases
As customer journeys advance and consumer expectations rise, a transactional relationship is no longer sufficient. The importance of continued customer engagement is only going to increase in 2018. Brands that understand and act on this will surpass the competition and gain far more trust from customers.
American Express are already ahead of the curve with this one having set up OPEN in 2007. The forum is designed to exclusively help small businesses grow by sharing useful tips and resources. This demonstrates that the finance giant is invested in helping businesses flourish whilst also providing a great way to promote its services.
There are plenty of ways that you can interact with your customers from monthly newsletters to more personal social Q&As. Here’s a helpful article with plenty of engagement tips.
2. Brand credibility will rule the waves
As consumers in 2017, we’re all pretty clued up on how to check up on a brand’s credibility. In fact, 85% of us research a business before making an online purchase. It’s something that can seriously sway your decision too. Think about the amount of times you’ve been put off by a TripAdvisor review or a complaint another customer has made on social media.
We’re seeing a much bigger focus from ecommerce brands that are wanting to stand out by producing unique content that helps their audience (such as buyers guides, Q&A articles and product reviews), this is a solid way to build brand credibility. Take a look at our article about some ecommerce brands that are crushing it with their content marketing strategy.
It’s therefore never been more important for brands to show complete transparency and trustworthiness to all potential customers. Think about ways you can show authenticity. This can be anything from helpful blog posts to behind the scenes social posts. Build up a sense of loyalty with your audience and their trust will be far more secure.
3. Brands will be ‘humanised’
Being a faceless corporation in 2018 won’t bode as well with consumers as it did in the 90s. Thanks to a bombardment of adverts over past decades and the financial crash in 2008, consumers no longer trust large corporations as much as they once did. Therefore, showing a human personality will be key in 2018.
This may not seem entirely straightforward but it’s easy to achieve with just a few simple changes. Firstly, your brand can no longer just engage in one way communication. That’s to say, gone are the days of simply churning out ads in the hope that people will bite.
Make sure that you communicate with your audience; reply to their tweets, ask them questions about what they’d like to see and ultimately be creative on social media. This doesn’t mean you have to jump on every single comment but having an awareness of what’s going on and posting as appropriate will show your brand in a more human light.
There are plenty of other ways you can humanise your brand from creating a great ‘about us’ page to using videos and behind the scenes snippets. There brands that already take the ‘human’ approach to marketing, here’s a few examples.
4. Voice purchasing will grow
It’s predicted that voice searches will account for 50% of all searches by 2020. Now, when Siri first entered the market, this would have been pretty difficult to believe. Sending a simple text by voice was pretty problematic but this technology has come on leaps and bounds since then. The accuracy has improved massively, meaning more people are using it for convenience.
Now Amazon’s Echo Dot has arrived, voice search is much more mainstream so it’s important e-commerce businesses are prepared. To get started, make sure your on-site search is optimised for natural language searches. It’s also important to add nantural language to your site’s content so it’s easier to discover.
5. Email will play an important role
This isn’t by any means a new tool for e-commerce. However, over recent years it’s proved to have garnered an increasing amount of sales for businesses and is only set to be more important in 2018. Despite the predicted decline of this channel, it’s proving to be more important than ever.
Not only is it a cost effective way of reaching a specific audience, it can be personalised and adapted to suit a range of recipients. The future prediction for email is that consumers will be able to make direct purchases without clicking off the message. Google’s Pony Express already enables this so it’s only a matter of time before other brands take advantage of this.
To wrap up
As we head into 2018, e-commerce is all about getting personal and providing customers with the level of engagement they now expect. Continued interaction away from any transactions will not only set you aside from the competition but also boost your credibility and authenticity as a brand. Remember to adapt your content and strategy to adapt to up and coming trends so that you stay ahead.
The design of your ecommerce store is vitally important, as well as considering how customers will find their way around it. If you’d like a free review of your ecommerce website from a usability and marketing point of view, feel free to contact us on 0115 971 8908 and we’ll be happy to help.