3 Things to Expect in E-Commerce This Year
Like a Transformer, e-commerce tech is morphing quickly, and mostly for good. 2018 was a year of huge change for our industry, often with advances on opposite ends of the spectrum. For instance, while Amazon extended its tentacles into more corners of our universe, vendors like Shopify struck back with great new tools for SMB resellers.
Here are some things I’m watching for throughout the rest of 2019:
Amazon’s competitive stance vis a vis e-commerce storefronts will continue to weaken. In 2018, Amazon really dropped the ball in a number of areas. Its prices aren’t the best anymore, the “personalization” doesn’t feel so personal anymore, the search results are filled with sponsored listings of questionable quality, and knockoffs are become more prevalent. Oh, and the Wall Street Journal reported on the widespread problem of how scammers in China are manipulating Amazon (which probably doesn’t shock too many people in the e-commerce world).
As a result of all these quality declines, we are seeing small stores beating Amazon on SEO for individual products. More importantly, consumers are starting to look beyond Amazon for higher-quality products and service, and I think that will accelerate in 2019.
Real-time personalized offers based on shopper behavior will become the norm: According to eConsultancy, a consumer survey found that 31% of respondents wish their online shopping experience were far more personalized that it currently is. Another survey found that 57% of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for customized offers or discounts.
Today, retailers are making recommendations based on what shoppers have bought in the past. Moving forward, we’ll see a lot more real-time personalization – on-the-spot offers – based on a shopper’s behavior in the last few seconds. Storefronts who have tested this technology report that it can have a big impact on conversion rates and revenue.
Virtually every e-commerce site will feature mobile-first, responsive design: Mobile commerce is eclipsing desktop ecommerce. Over Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2018, Shopify saw mobile account for 66% of all sales, a slight increase over 2017.
But the real driver for most storefronts is this: In July 2018, Google started using a mobile-first index, which means websites or storefronts that are mobile optimized will organically get preference in the ranking algorithm. E-commerce sites that aren’t currently designed for mobile first must re-design now – it now affects search rankings.
Social proof will be table stakes for every e-commerce site. According to PeopleClaim, 70% of customers consult reviews or ratings before making a final purchase, and Reputation Advocate claims that 80% of consumers have changed their mind about a purchase based on negative information they found online. E-commerce sites really need to feature product reviews if they want to stay relevant. Customers want to see reviews; they want transparency. It can be uncomfortable for big brands to give up some of that image control, but it’s necessary. We think sites without reviews will see big traffic declines by end of 2019, as consumers leave to buy elsewhere.
Those are my highlights for the year – what are you keeping an eye on? .
-By Nick Raushenbush, Co-founder and CEO, Shogun