Every year at the New Year, individuals use resolutions to improve themselves – which often means getting into shape or kicking an unhealthy habit. In this way individuals optimize themselves. Since people are thinking along these lines about themselves, it follows that the leaders of businesses are also thinking in this way. Since that’s the case, there is a great amount of discussion of developments and trends in industries and tools that might be of particular use to organizations.
Three of the key categories of trends related to online success (with some overlap) are the focus of this three-part series (linked as the other two parts are published):
- Online Growth Trends 2019: Ecommerce
- Online Growth Trends 2019: Cloud
- Online Growth Trends 2019: Web Development
We start now with ecommerce trends and strategies to help you stay abreast of and ahead of your competition.
Growth of the industry as a whole can itself be considered a trend that will stay with us in 2019. By 2021, worldwide revenue from online sales is projected to hit $4.88 trillion, per one analysis. Since ecommerce is growing, anyone in that field should assume there will be more and more competition as time passes.
According to Global Web Index, social media now takes up more than 30 percent of the average user’s online time daily, accounting for 2 hours and 15 minutes per day in 2017 – up from 1 hour and 30 minutes in 2012. That statistic is critical to ecommerce because it tells you where you can go to engage with customers and prospects. After all, you can spend as much time as you want crafting a message but eventually must figure out how to get your target audience so that they see it.
People are buying on social. Snapchat and Instagram allow you to buy from within stories; plus, there are now purchase buttons that can be added to social media profiles (leading to offers within the platform or on your site). In these ways, social media has created new avenues for ecommerce.
With the rise of social selling, there will also be a continuing rise in marketing through video. Along with 360-degree videos and personalized video, organizations will also further embrace live streaming.
Concerns with trust and privacy
A fascinating finding from the Global Web Index’s Trends 19 report is that people are “more worried about how companies are using their personal information than the impact the internet has on personal privacy and security in general.” In other words, the specific steps your company takes toward these ends is of special concern to shoppers.
When you look globally, it helps to be aware of the audiences that give privacy particularly high priority. Users in Latin America have greater concern with how individual companies use their data. Users in that region and in APAC are the top two groups for general web privacy as well.
While those perspectives are key to improving worldwide sales, the same perspective by users in the United States and United Kingdom is an even more critical concern of many ecommerce firms. 2018 was a year of sea change in terms of consumer awareness in those nations; 72% of US and UK users (73% the former, 65% the latter) reported greater awareness of organizations’ handling of personal data last year! It is assumed that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been important in increasing people’s consciousness of this key Internet issue.
Most online traffic in the United States is now conducted via mobile. Mobile optimization is a key concern, with mobile search in the news since the July 2018 Google Speed Update – which made speed a factor in searches from cellphones and tablets. It is therefore critical to implement high-performance computing for mcommerce to succeed at least within that search engine. The implementation of that new search factor stemmed from Google’s finding that there was a massive disparity between mobile loading times and consumer expectations, with the average load time for mobile landing at 22 seconds, far longer than the 3 seconds in which a typical user says that they expect pages to load.
Plus, mobile search will be optimized by ecommerce professionals as they try to adapt their efforts due to how people are changing their search habits, shifting from asking Alexa or Siri a question instead of inputting text into a browser.
When a vegetarian purchases pots and pans online, they would be likelier to respond well to images of people cooking vegetables than meat – and in this way, the decisions are related to the individual’s philosophy. Relevance is fundamental to the value that a user can receive from your site – and you cannot make every person’s interaction with you relevant through a cookie-cutter approach. Customizing the user experience with personalized content is becoming more important every day. You can modify content to suit the different perspectives of your visitors through adaptive landing pages and dynamic website personalization (DWP).
New realities: virtual and augmented
Undoubtedly you have seen mixed reality technologies on trends list in the past – since their use has been increasing over the last few years, per SchoolSafe cofounder Tiffany Delmore in Entrepreneur. There is evidence of this focus in the Place app from IKEA, which allows you to see what products would look like at your place via augmented reality. A broader tool, Axis, is an ecommerce platform with VR and AR capabilities – and it can be integrated with Magento and other environments.
While many ecommerce organizations are not yet using AR, by creating a more complex and interesting (and personally valuable) shopping experience, companies that do launch AR/VR environments can benefit from the power of these technologies.
Ecommerce can simply be a way to connect a supplier with customers, with you as that link – the strategy of dropshipping. In that scenario, a person orders a product from you for $100. You send a wholesale payment of $60 and the order to the product supplier. You keep $40, and the supplier handles shipping of the product.
Many businesses have already discovered the benefits of this method – with nearly 1 in 5 firms (16.4%) using it out of the 450 surveyed for the 2018 State of the Merchant eCommerce Report. The report found that companies that had implemented dropshipping saw their conversion rate rise slightly (1.74%) and their revenue expand by nearly a third (32.7%).
As noted by CrazyEgg, there are various reasons dropshipping is attractive to ecommerce owners:
- Overhead is reduced
- No costs for inventory storage
- Products are only purchased when orders come in from customers
- You have less financial risk
- The dropshipping process is easy to launch.
It is especially compelling to use this method for certain products that are larger to avoid the complexities of shipping and storage of those items.
Your high-performance ecommerce company
To get back to the notion of performance (discussed in the mobile section), improving your site speed is key since it is a general ranking factor for all search. “While page speed is important for your SEO,” noted Edward Toonen, “it is even more important for your UX, conversion, and general customer happiness.”
Beyond developing trends in marketing and other ecommerce methods, you need fast and reliable infrastructure for your ecommerce firm to excel. At Total Server Solutions, we provide high-performance infrastructure and managed services – offering the performance, power, and versatility to meet any ecommerce challenge. Explore our platform.