The world of e-commerce witnessed many trends in 2017 – some bigger than others. It enabled retailers to capitalize on consumer trends, while others struggled to keep up. Advancements in technological improvements have improved the way consumers interact and shop online, empowering them to readily seek information on just about any product, and raised the bar when it comes to delivering a memorable online shopping experience. As we kickoff the year, it’s safe to expect that 2018 won’t be any different. The world of e-commerce is constantly growing and evolving, making our predictions for 2018 an exciting task.
Mobile vs. Desktop Shopping
A major change in e-commerce is the shift to mobile, an evolution that started about 5 years ago. Mobile web traffic has grown to account for 59% of all sessions by device on e-commerce sites, yet purchases on mobile account for only 38% of revenue. What this tells us is that people prefer to browse on mobile, but a big percentage of consumers still utilize desktops to make the purchase. Given the trends we are seeing, we expect shoppers to become increasingly confident purchasing on mobile, especially with the growth of mobile apps and loyalty programs (see below).
The growth in mobile activity, coupled with uncertainty around which device will ultimately drive the purchase, leads us to conclude that an e-commerce marketer should focus on creating a seamless experience across all devices – a strategy we’re sure to see grow in 2018.
Mobile Payment & Loyalty Apps
Mobile payments were on the rise in 2017 as mobile users got the feel for contactless payments. Some retailers used mobile payments to allow consumers to interact with their existing payment infrastructure, while others innovated by enabling app-driven loyalty programs around the payment process. Starbucks, for example was one of the first to try mobile payments back in late 2014 with their loyalty app. Since then mobile payments have continued to increase year over year for the company as 30% of Starbucks’ customers now pay using the mobile app.
Apps like these are making it increasingly easier for consumers to shop online. They’ve paved the way for retailers to deliver a personalized experience to consumers right on their phones. We believe mobile payments and loyalty apps will become increasingly prevalent in 2018.
2017 was an up-and-coming year for influencer marketing as e-commerce marketers took notice and began allocating more of their marketing budget to influencer-related marketing. 63% of marketers reported increasing their spending on influencer marketing for the year. Why you ask? Well because consumers trust and engage with other people’s opinion more than anything else. We see this trend particularly prominent with video. Marketers are beginning to understand that empowering a group of influencers generates a powerful sales support system that feels more authentic to the shopper and isn’t expensive to maintain.
We expect 2018 to see substantial growth in the use of influencer marketing for eCommerce, with particular emphasis on video as the content medium of choice.
E-Commerce Competition Heats Up
As consumers continued to move to online shopping, we definitely saw competition increase in 2017 with many new start-up concepts and established brands looking to expand market share.
In particular, we see merchants looking to differentiate themselves and create a stronger impression on the consumer. One of the primary methods of achieving this is content marketing.
We predict that 2018 will generate increased innovation around content marketing, in terms of how and what is delivered to the consumer to get their attention and loyalty. In a world where consumers have a limited attention span and an overload of content coming from every direction, eCommerce merchants are forced to develop powerful and creative ways to communicate with today’s online shopper, dedicating more effort to creating exceptional content-based experiences.
Shoppable Personalized Video
The average online consumer spends over 5 hours per day watching video. In addition, we know that 68% of Youtube users watched YouTube to help make a purchase decision. These same users then visit other sites to make a purchase creating a disconnect in the online shopping experience. This presents a great opportunity to capitalize on the untapped video medium for commerce by bringing video and shopping together. Merchants simply need to enhance their customer experiences to incorporate interactive and shoppable video at scale across their entire catalog and marketing channels.
In 2018, we predict that merchants will seek more advanced technologies such as video recommendation and personalization engines that fuel video experiences, as well as smart data-driven platforms that enable video-to-product matching, bringing the cart and content together. We believe 2018 will see growth in shoppable video across both ecommerce and social marketing channels.