In North America, 15% of all speciality Retail sales will soon be accounted for by e-commerce (23% of all retail sales are held in China), with digital influences accounting for almost 60% of total retail sales. Mobile-driven e-commerce, with sales up over 55% a year, has grown in 2018 by 16% to $500 trillion in North America.
The way we interact, find, and buy (and return) goods is now a 24/7 cycle not only in retail but also in B2B, where integration into e-commerce is the first priority. The shopper’s journey both online and physical is now merged, thanks to emphasis on Omni channel capability.
The top 10 trends that will further fuel eCommerce growth for year 2019 are
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1. Consumers are becoming more and more conscientious
Consumer interest in their purchases ‘ environmental and ethical scope, including online purchases and the “actual or obscured” implications and cost of e-commerce-and consumerism, in general, is increasing. The customers are rewarding Retailers who strike a chord with the belief structure right from sustainability to appropriate packaging.
Brands and sellers, both large and small, use digital technology to appeal to consumer values–and customer values and principles are evermore influenced when making purchasing choices. This eCommerce trend is going to hold sway for years to come.
2. End of e-commerce returns
E-Commerce returns are 2-4 times higher than in mom and pop retail, and the expectations of customers for generous refund policies are a sore point for retailers.
Returns in 2017 reached $400 billion (approximately 1 month equivalent of all US retail sales) and increased 53 per cent since 2015. Generous policy returns have been in use for long to increase conversions by reducing customer insecurity. However, growth in eCommerce, free transport and free returns have created a dangerous side effect–the cost of return management. The margins are highly affected by return handling and packaging, say 44% of retailers.
In 2018, Amazon in a bid to reverse this dangerous eCommerce trend announced that it would introduce a permanent ban to “serial returners” who are accustomed to return the majority of their purchases. The same is said by 61% of retailers if they had the means for better tracking returns and serial returners.
In 2019, a number of retail initiatives will be underway, ranging from more sophisticated or conditional return policies to incentives for collecting items, to prevent the unsustainable rate at which returns grow.
3. Get Ready For The Sales Tax
The tax-free party has ended for traders and consumers, who are to be charged with regional sales tax in 2019, regardless of where the trader is present.
More than half the countries in the US adopted an online sales tax or will do so in 2019 in the months following South Dakota vs. Wayfair. Traders and solution providers are discussing eCommerce taxation and reporting initiatives at a rapid rate.
eCommerce retailers both B2C and B2B, must assess the tax on which customers, regions, products and more, and then to calculate and charge a sales tax on their online sales on a state-specific basis (and on products / price specific) in order to save their margins from going for a toss.
Tax rates are subject to varying eligibility and application criteria in different states and jurisdictions. Tax rates will depend on what is sold and possibly on which jurisdiction consumers are located.
4. Make Way For PWA’s
PWAs are evolving on how eCommerce and mobile apps live together. It’s a website, it’s a app–no, it’s both. The Progressive Web app, a variant of sites and Apps, which combine upsides and eliminates constraints, will finally start to transition brands and retailers from websites and apps to a new standard.
PWA creates quick, convincing mobile experiences, which resemble the achievements of brands and retailers with a native app — and can be discovered and made available via the mobile internet to all. Your mobile site is an app and you don’t need to market your app.
Not content with the simple sale of traffic and leads, social networks seek to bridge the e-commerce gap by letting users shop without leaving the platform.
5. Social Media Purchases Will Become The Norm
Social purchases are already standard in China, where 55% of social app users report purchasing goods or services directly via social applications.
Private messaging services are also anticipated to become transactional, which are increasingly popular. WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger display trillions of commitment numbers and this is a trend where eCommerce retailers should be sure as not to miss.
6. Get Ready To Meet Your New Co-Worker The AI, Employee
Today retailers carry between two and ten times as many SKU’s as they did 10 years ago –all of which are only available online if the product’s content (product pictures, video, descriptions, sizes, attributes and supplementary products) are supported.
Even the biggest retailers strive to produce product content quickly enough to market their selection properly.
The core of eCommerce is product content. eCommerce retailers should start optimizing product finding and selection capabilities by giving detailed product information and critical product-specific characteristics in combination with semantic search.
Retailers are required to keep and supply images and videos, catalogue descriptions, names, metadata category-specific information (e.g. foodstuff nutrition information), stock availability, matrices (e.g. size ranges), brand/company logos, ratings and reviews of products, rating information, and advertising information for all physical SKUs. The acquisition of this information from suppliers is a timely task that requires different methods and a large degree of manual work.
The creation, optimization, classification, translation and syndication of product contents that have become a necessary component in conjunction with consumer demand for additional product information will be increasingly automated by AI-based solutions. In short, the retailers with more (and better) product information gain the customer.
7. QR Codes Are Back With A Vengeance
Anyone with a smart phone can now detect QR codes by using their camera and digest product descriptions and price and other major product data.
When users recognize a QR code (usually less than a second) on their device, a prompt is displayed on their screen, with the option that a link leads the user to the desired place. This addresses the challenge for brand manufacturers when it is impossible to display all relevant product information with limited space on the packaging–while offering opportunities to establish a direct brand-to-consumer relationship.
Apple and Google eliminated the primary hurdle to the use and adoption of Q R code by making QR-code detection a native component of iOS and Android: it depends on apps that read QR-codes.
In addition to adding a realistic dimension to the everyday life of every mobile customer, the QR Code also provides consumers and businesses with the opportunity to deal with showrooming as a new channel for product discovery and customer acquisition-shopping in-store before completing online purchases at a visited retail outlet or at a competition company.
8. Everyone Is Trying To Beat Amazon While Aiming To Become The Next Amazon
More than $1 trillion worth of goods are sold in the world’s 18 biggest markets. Analysts predict that the global online retail market will account for 40 per cent by 2020. Marketplaces–once efficiently operated–are expected to increase customer loyalty, increase average order values and build confidence. Significant traffic retailers will add market place capabilities, capture new income through sales commissions and test product and category interests before the SKUs are directly sourced.
Integrating third party marketplace like Amazon, eBay, Rakuten and Alibaba to an existing eCommerce website is another way of gaining a ready-made customer base and increase sales piggybacking on them.
Regardless of whether they are fighting Amazon, eBay and others in their own game or entering the market, retailers are broadening their reach by integrating the marketplace model in their digital trade toolkit. Why fight the goliaths when you can befriend them.
9. Shop While You Drive
Almost half of America’s 135 million commuters are using their smartphone to find the nearest gas station, order and pay for coffee, take-outs, food, parking, and more. Altogether 77 per cent of passengers who drive online* are engaged in some type of trade.
Once trade in the car was integrated, as many as 83% of ALL of the passengers would trade in the car. GPs, Google maps and Waze technologies (for example) help advertisers understand where they go and where the most often they go, similar to SEO, which helps advertisers seek and social media reveal what they like,
The on-car eCommerce is one of the main drivers of local road traffic, from the search for the voice to the GPS and music/podcast apps, because “auto-mobile conversion” is possible with the contextual publicity and driver-friendly interfaces.
80% of mobile users are looking for a local company by using voice search engines, 50% of which are likely to visit the store within one day, and approximately 18% of the local searches convert into a sale within 24 hours.
Is you eCommerce brand ready for the next gen road shoppers?
10. More Focus On Product Content
The content of products is at the heart of e-commerce and a key to the consistent experience in the omnichannel. In addition to the physical products, product information (images, specifications, attributes etc.) is now as important. –Digital consumers can’t discover, investigate, compare, or make an informed buying decision without product information.
Digital marketers will go a step further towards improving product content syndication with brands and retailers finally begin to optimize and invest in product content.
Syndication gives the most comprehensive and relevant experience in shopping and purchasing on various channels.
Syndication of product content means content that is automatically moved from a centralized point to several sites and channels, enhancing its reach and visibility while ensuring consistency. Brands and manufacturers are unifying their content to improve brand awareness by delivering consistent SEO optimized product information to increase conversions.
Shopify Shoguns is an agency that has worked closely with eCommerce brands all over the world both B2B and B2C. We understand the nuances and finer workings around the eCommerce retail industry.
If you are looking to up your ante and drive more conversion to your eCommerce brand then check out our services at www.shopifyshoguns.com or drop us a mail at [email protected]
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