E-Commerce in 2019: Best Practices and Innovations
What are your online shopping preferences? Is it Amazon, eBay or social media? The competition in e-commerce is fierce, and the options are overwhelming. The customers of 2019 choose among myriads of goods, shopping options and search possibilities, making brands invent new strategies of attracting users.
Some approaches remain trendy since they’ve proven their efficiency, while others are optimized and upgraded according to the latest tech trends and inventions. Let’s explore the landscape of e-commerce in 2019 and the new trends that reshape it.
Best Practices for E-Commerce That Never Get Old
To stay afloat, e-commerce websites should possess specific features. Unless you’re offering something exclusive, unique or extremely niche, the competition will eat you up if you don’t follow these five best practices.
79% of smartphone owners made a purchase via mobile in the last six months. 80% of mobile users checked out items on their phone while shopping in a physical store. The statistics show that the “shopping on the go” share increases and will soon be equal to desktop purchases. All this means that the platform that adapts to various screens without affecting the user experience is a must for online stores. Clean and tap-friendly website design is an apparent necessity in the modern mobile-obsessed environment.
Short Loading Time
Today’s tech-savvy users are pampered with instant responses. Your website has to be lightning-fast on every point of the user journey – from loading product images to processing payments. The loading time of a page affects the bounce rate directly: when it exceeds three seconds, the bounce rate soars to 38%.
Confusing web pages, counter-intuitive product layout and a search bar you have to search for make irritated potential customers go shopping somewhere else. Clear navigation is a must, no matter how many products you offer. If creating a logical user journey and recognizable category names sounds challenging for you, turn to Amazon for some inspiration: they invested a lot in navigation R&D, and the investment pays off beautifully. Or you can ask an e-commerce expert to help you out.
Use advanced filtering to help your customers browse more effectively and find the necessary items faster. It has to be logical, with natural staging and the possibility to combine several specified characteristics that will work together. Additional filters should be visible on request – don’t intimidate the users by showing the entire list of characteristics right away.
How many times have you abandoned an online shopping cart without actually checking out? Sure, there may be different reasons, but a lengthy checkout process is one of the most common ones that make customers leave without finishing a purchase. Today, e-commerce platforms adopt one-page checkouts, autofill fields and even credit card scanning to fix that.
Having a responsive website with short loading time, simple navigation, advanced filtering and an easy checkout process is a must for any e-commerce business. These five practices may not be innovative, but they work and create a competitive user experience.
But if you want to have the edge over your competitors, consider implementing the following innovations that will make a difference in the e-commerce of 2019.
2019 E-Commerce Innovations to Track
Winning your customers means being emphatic, understanding their needs, foreseeing their desires and delivering them as quickly as possible. That’s why personalization remains a top priority for various industries. Many use cases of tech innovations aim at improving personalized services, and e-commerce is among top fiends to make use of them.
Product ads on Facebook or Instagram drive a massive part of the audience. But the tendency is moving beyond advertising and recommendations only: social platforms implement a direct shopping functionality. Take Instagram. They’ve added the possibility to sell products on their platform in March 2018. 30% of consumers are ready to purchase through Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat. That’s a significant share, which can make you consider a social sales channel.
This strategy aims at creating a seamless experience for your customers no matter where they shop. Integrating physical and digital shopping is key to increasing your earnings. The share of people who shop at brick and mortar versus online shops is roughly 50/50; however, those in physical stores tend to spend more. People prefer to research online and buy offline, and the brands that offer this type of services are winning.
AR and VR
By blurring the lines of reality, these technologies can make shopping even more addictive. AR improves customer experience, increases the possibility of a closed deal and increases brand loyalty. With the help of augmented reality, customers can experience certain products before buying them. Chances are, you’ve used your smartphone to place the IKEA items you want to buy into your room to see how they fit. No need to wonder if the new coffee table will match the sofa and if there’s enough space left for the ficus.
As for the virtual reality, travel agents, hotels and real estate companies use it to engage customers with a glimpse of a new exciting experience. This makes more people choose exotic (and expensive) destinations, book tickets, buy houses and more. A travel industry giant, Thomas Cook, offered a VR experience to their customers and saw the return on investment shortly: after engaging with the VR for just 5 minutes, people booked 190% more New York excursions.
We were all thrilled at the chance to talk to a chatbot. Sadly, they disappointed us by answering a limited set of questions and redirecting you to the support once they failed. But the advancements in machine learning have extended their functions and made virtual assistants more human-like.
Chatbots can now provide style and beauty advice, give personalized recommendations, help you browse through the online store or find the closest physical shop to try the products you’ve selected. They serve as shopping consultants you can either use or disable at your wish. So, if you’ve had a bad experience with chatbots earlier, go ahead and give them a try in 2019.
Since a considerable part of purchases comes from mobile devices, vendors need to make the experience as easy and smooth as possible. Voicing your request rather than tapping and browsing feels surprisingly natural.
Voice commerce is estimated to bring $40 billion in sales by 2020 in the USA only. Purchasing by voice is quick, fun and convenient for customers. Plus, it provides a valuable insight into user behavior for businesses. The technology is developing before our eyes, from the voice search to voice-enabled payments, so be sure to consider it.
Brands are inventing new ways to drop orders, striving to cut costs while offering fast and efficient delivery. Some brick and mortar stores partner with e-commerce giants and place parcel lockers available 24/7 in their shops. Others create a “shipping subscription” where you receive free delivery from your favorite brands in the subscription period. And some industry disruptors like Amazon and UPS explore the potential of drone delivery – they claim it’s faster and more cost-efficient, especially when it comes to rural deliveries. Who knows, maybe in a year or two, your pizza will be delivered hot by a quadrocopter?
Technical innovations, state-of-the-art apps and advancements in AI and AR/VR bring new opportunities to e-commerce. Some inventions are still too fresh and expensive to take full advantage of, while other tendencies are an immediate necessity for the brands to implement.
In the customer-centered reality, user satisfaction and personalization are the pillars of a successful e-commerce business. Brands have to balance between providing the best experience possible while striving for cost-efficiency. This challenge is a significant driver of the progress in e-commerce, with customers serving as juries to the brands’ race of possibilities. Hopefully, your business will take advantage of the innovations we’ve enlisted, and bring your customer engagement to a new level.