As the e-commerce and marketing industries evolve simultaneously, so do the trends pushing them forward. That means we should all do our very best to keep up with the constant changes if we want to stay not only current and relevant, but also successful in our fields. That is precisely why we have come up with 10 tips to include in your e-commerce marketing strategy for 2018 you should read about right now!
1) Voice search will take over
More and more people are choosing to speak to Amazon’s Alexa or OK Google, instead of typing their search queries, which is a trend that is showing no signs of disappearing anytime soon. In fact, Google announced that its Google Assistant was installed on more than 100 million devices in 2017. You might think that laziness or quick pace of life is getting the best of people, but voice search is slowly becoming a standard in households as well with Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home devices getting more and more popular.
eMarketer estimates the number of US voice-enabled digital assistant users will rise by 14.1% (to 69 million) in 2018, while the number of voice-enabled speaker users will climb 27.6% (to 45.4 million). These certainly are impressive numbers that should put some things into perspective for both e-commerce business owners and marketers – things have to change. The SEO and content strategies are now to focus on conversational language as well as giving potential customers ONE – THE MOST USEFUL RESULT – since that is what will be presented for voice queries.
So, don’t hold back, give exactly that!
2) Mobile will be the (only) way to go
If you have read one of our previous posts on how to successfully advertise on Social Media in 2018, you know that mobile is the most popular way to browse the web – 51.4% of all traffic in 2017 came from users on their mobile devices. Somewhere around 70% of searches are projected to come from mobile in 2018, so if you’re not working on your business’s mobile presence, you’re only marketing to 30% of those searches.
But there is more to it – understanding consumer mobile behavior fused with location data opens a whole new world of mobile advertising opportunities. Take this example: Mary and John go bowling every Saturday evening at their local bowling alley and like to post pictures of the good times they have there on their Facebook pages. As an e-commerce business owner who happens to sell bowling equipment and is willing to invest in Facebook Ads, Mary and John are your perfect potential customers – you are safe to assume they will be interested in what you have to sell and they are getting ads about their favorite pastime.
3) Customer experience for the win
If you are an e-commerce business owner, you must be aware that customer experience can make or break your business – customer loyalty partly depends on the quality of customer service. Not only during online shopping, but also before and after a realized purchase. Moreover, factors like unreasonable compensations, long dispatch periods, query resolutions, or monotonous customer service leads to poor customer experience. That is why customer reviews are not to be neglected – they provide you with the picture of what you might be doing wrong, while also giving you the opportunity to show you are willing to improve BECAUSE YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS.
One of the ways e-commerce customer experience can be enhanced certainly is through the proper implementation of artificial intelligence (as you might have read in one of our previous blog posts The Role of Humans in the Age of Robots). However, we are not there just yet, so it’s still up to us humans to change our ways of doing business in correlation to other people.
4) Augmented reality ads will be making their boom
Even though there are some out there thinking augmented reality in digital marketing is just a passing thing, with a short lifespan, we have to say that the whole concept is not without its merit. For one, you don’t need any additional equipment like you do for experiencing virtual reality – no buying one more high-tech headset. It’s technically available on most mobile devices already in use. Additionally, there are practical uses for e-commerce business owners and marketers, as you can deduce from the amount of popularity Ikea’s furniture placing app Place is gaining.
Such a great example of augmented reality being part of our everyday lives.
5) Artificial intelligence and machine learning will take the reins
With copious amounts of data having been collected over the last decade, now it’s come the time to consolidate and use it to deliver a striking, to the point and useful message from the seller to the buyer. The big brands (Amazon, Google, Facebook) are already doing it, but now it’s time to let us all in on the secret.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning will have to be utilized to deliver automated messages to customers based on their customer lifecycle activity. This is the promise of personalized marketing – available inventory, historical customer behavior and activity from third-party sources all synthesized into one big and information wealthy system. What we are actually on the verge of is instant customer need satisfaction – practically eliminating the time between the moments of making the purchase and it being delivered to your doorstep.
How about that, folks?
6) Live chat will become the indispensable part of e-commerce websites (where it hasn’t already)
Did you know that 44% of consumers said live chat was the most important feature a company could offer?
Why, you ask?
Because customers appreciate a helping hand from a live person while in the middle of online shopping. Among those who favor it the most, Millennials take the crown since it gives them the feeling of using popular messaging apps. Therefore, for both of these reasons, we can only expect this number to grow.
By the same token, 79% of businesses that have implemented live chat on their websites have seen a positive effect on sales. Not only have their customers been less reluctant to make that first purchase on their e-commerce websites, but they have also become repeat or loyal customers. Investing in a live chat platform that makes seller-buyer communication quicker, smoother and ultimately more successful can only grow a business and is worth every cent.
So, wait no more – give your customers what they want.
7) Micro-moments marketing
We can all agree that we live in a fast-paced world, right? There is a ton of information available to everyone with Internet access all day every day – just waiting to be consumed.
Can we also agree that it’s a good thing? Never in the history of man has acquiring knowledge and being in the know about other people been so easy. In most parts of the world, gone are the days of letters traveling for months to reach their final destinations and bring valuable news.
But is it good for marketers? That is the question of the hour, people!
With consumers being overwhelmed by various formats of content – ads, promotional emails, Social Media posts and everything else – how to get noticed? Let’s dig even deeper, how do you stay in people’s memories even after they have seen, read or listened to whatever it is you had to say? You do micro-moments marketing! You focus on providing the most useful solutions to their problem be it “What is the capital of Canada?”, “Where to eat near me?”, “How to write a novel?” or even “How where to buy the latest book by Diana Gabaldon?”.
That way consumers’ attention is captured by your brand, product or service, and you have the chance to deliver.
8) GDPR will change the way marketing is done
According to the overview by Jatheon Technologies Inc, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be coming into effect on May 25, 2018 with the intent to:
- Harmonize and unify (often inconsistent) data privacy laws across Europe
- Protect the EU citizens’ private electronic information and enhance their privacy
- Simplify the regulatory environment within the EU
- Change the way organizations approach data privacy
- Give more power to the regulatory bodies to take action against organizations that are in breach.
While that is a serious matter in itself, what you are probably wondering is how that will affect marketing efforts.
“It [GDPR] instantly changes marketers’ ability to ‘spray and pray’ and get away with it,” explains Paul Schmidt.
GDPR will be deployed to European market only for now, but the rest of the world will keep the vigilant watch on its results, depending on which, it will follow in Europe’s footsteps. Until that happens, we are all left with taking measures to be compliant, aren’t we?
9) Social advertising transparency will be expected
In 2017, Facebook and Twitter have announced their intention to make the advertising process transparent following the accusations against several Russian citizens that they were using these two Social Media platforms to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election. Their efforts will be focused on making it easier to find out who the advertiser is, how much they are spending and how the ads are targeted.
Moreover, Facebook intends to allow anyone to see what ads a page is running, even if they are not being targeted by the ads. When it comes to political ads, the information will be deeper – showing the amount spent, number of impressions and the ways the ads were targeted. Twitter will be creating an “ad transparency center,” showing all ads currently running, how long they have been running and targeting information.
So get ready, people! The future is coming.
10) Amazon will dominate e-commerce marketing
We all know of a certain e-commerce giant by the name of Amazon, right? But what you may not be aware of is the (not so surprising) fact that is it fast becoming a “digital advertising powerhouse”. To drive that point home, let’s just say that eMarketer expects Amazon’s net US digital ad revenues to increase by 42% in 2018, reaching $2.35 billion!
If you are wondering where Amazon’s strength lies, we have two words for you – search and display. On the one hand, the Search feature enables brands advertising on Amazon to get highly effective Cost-Per-Click placements while attracting quality consumer attention. On the other, the Display feature gives advertisers insights into user interests based on their Amazon searching, browsing and purchasing activities. As the ad spending on Amazon gets higher and higher, why don’t you join all the (not so reluctant) brands and enlarge your customer base?