The eCommerce landscape is shifting its presence dramatically to the digital world through e-commerce sites. A survey of the retail trends suggests that 51% of the Americans prefer online shopping, with the eCommerce industry developing at 23% year after year. The growth and transformation of this sector are only expected to grow more, as more consumers integrate digital devices into their shopping habits. The expansion and future of this industry in the year 2018 is discussed here. These are some of the trends to look forward to online and offline.

Influx Of eCommerce Entrepreneurs

The ease of starting up in eCommerce will see a lot of entrepreneurs getting into the digital space in the year 2018. It has become so simple to set up your online store, sell a product and advertise online that paves the way for many aspiring entrepreneurs to break into the e-commerce industry.

Rise Of Artificial Intelligence

Though AI has already crept into the e-commerce space, 2018 expects chat bots to become smarter and faster. The rise and growth of AI are seen to continue especially combined with opportunities like blockchain technology. More companies are anticipated to invest in chatbot services to automate part of their customer service process. A survey done by Business Insider revealed that 80% businesses expect to have chatbot automation implemented to some extent by 2020.

Personalized, Customer-Friendly Approach

The future focuses more on customer satisfaction through existing and improved methods such as virtual personal shoppers and personal recommendation technology powered by AI software. Consumers are more likely to shop with brands that exhibit customer focus on all facets of their business this coming year.

The Amazing Presence Of Amazon

If you think Amazon has reached the pinnacle in the online retail sector, think again because we have only started to see the impact it can create on the landscape.  The upcoming year predicts that Amazon will advance at an incredible rate, and change how independent merchants have to sell, think and operate online.

Technology And The Digital Landscape

The transforming of the digital landscape with the aid of technology is an ongoing process that is likely to continue in 2018. It is bound to impact how consumers shop and interact with brands through technological advances in everything from sensors to augmented reality (AR). With technology getting more user-friendly and consumers becoming more tech-savvy an exciting space is opening up that many new entrants would like to explore.

Personalized Recommendation Of Products

The e-commerce industry is expected to see individualized recommendations going beyond just recommended products based on everyone else’s buying habits and instead is aimed at giving tailored recommendations based on individual preferences. It was the way it was intended to be and is poised to happen in 2018.

More Subscription Offerings

The trend of more brands adopting a subscription model is seen to grow in the upcoming year as they must compete with other retailers having subscription offerings. The subscriptions segment of the e-commerce market is anticipated to increase rapidly in 2018.

Focus On Video Content

The year 2018 will see brands getting smarter about content allocation especially with video content. IT will be used by brands to differentiate themselves from others and stand out.

Augmented Reality

With the AR technology gaining popularity and technology improving rapidly, it has a lot of scope in the digital or e-commerce world. It will help you experience the real feel of a product through a virtual medium, paving the way for endless possibilities that numerous retailers have seized.

Virtual Reality

The technology of virtual reality is also beginning to see adoption in the ecommerce industry and is expected to grow in 2018. Few companies have started offering virtual in-store experiences. Even though the cost VR headsets may be an obstacle, the immersive experience VR provides will have a significant impact on the buyers.

Internet Of Things Devices

Amazon has been a trailblazer in this area and has come up with new technology like Amazon Key and smart license plates. These innovations allow driver delivery to unlock your home and car with permission granted by you. However, there is a fear of robbery and theft, but this technology could help improve buyer experience and prevent lost deliveries.

Voice Shopping

Voice shopping has been adopted from the idea of voice search which people seem to use widely. Channels like Amazon Alexa and Google assistant are famous names for powering voice shopping. There is a growing need to make products available through one or more voice assistants. Voice-optimized retailers are predicted to see more customers gravitate towards them.

Smartphone Usage

A significant portion of e-commerce sales happens through mobile purchases. In 2018 the number is expected to continue growing. Purchasing a mobile phone is quick and easy and is seen to be highly preferred by many customers on the go. It is therefore essential for retailers to optimize their site for mobile commerce so that they don’t get left behind.

Visual Search

Visual search has been around for a while, and many are familiar with it in the ecommerce world. It has however received reinforcement recently as a growing trend with eBay’s new release of its visual search tools. Other big brands like Amazon and Wayfair are already ahead in this sense as they had deployed it earlier. There is hope that 2018 will see the revival and growth of this technology in addition to others.

Customer Experience Improvement

The trends mentioned above boil down to one main thing that is customer experience and satisfaction. More than product and pricing, customer experience is set to be the primary brand differentiated in the future.  Simple things like improving the speed of your website and multi channel customer service integration can go a long way in building better customer experience.  Even if retailers can’t afford many of the flashy trends, focusing on customer service is crucial to success.

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