The year began with a fragile balance between brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce platforms. The battle for dominating the market was still not decided as both sectors were still in the race.
However, the pandemic, combined with the launch of 5G networks, may have forever tipped the balance in favor of ecommerce. With better-performing phones and more time spent inside, customers continue to enjoy the convenience of shopping online.
Of course, there are other factors at play, which is why today we'll discuss the main ecommerce marketing trends to follow as an entrepreneur in the online environment. Some of these may be highly influential in the development of your business.
Customers Are More Interested In Instant Gratification
The new wave of online shoppers (Millenials and Gen Zs) are strong believers in impulse culture. Their expectations are molded by platforms like Netflix, Spotify, or Amazon where they can click and collect almost instantly, or at least the next day.
They also expect brands to anticipate their needs. Modern shoppers are not willing to wait for a product to become available even if we're only talking about a few days. According to a recent survey, 45 percent of consumers said they will have no problem switching brands if the product they need is not in stock.
Even more, they will not put up with lengthy delivery times either. The three day time period is no longer acceptable in today's world!
To keep up with the trends, implement fast delivery, and make sure your storage is always well-stocked. Also, pay attention to analytics. Use it to invest in new products or services your customers may enjoy.
Personalized User Experience (UX)
User experience is not new for the normal online entrepreneur. Anyone who knows a bit about online marketing understands that people must have a great experience while browsing your site.
However, UX is not just about user flow and ease of navigation anymore. In 2020, we need to talk about modern technologies that are about to enter the ecommerce world.
For instance, good UX nowadays takes into consideration a multi-platform approach. Besides the fact that we need to account for multiple screen sizes and devices, we also need to worry about Voice User Interfaces (interfaces based on voice commands), automobile dashboards, and more. We may even see a rise in the Internet of Things niche and many ecommerce stores can benefit from implementing Augmented Reality into their UX.
Another way UX can convince more users to join the customers' database is through personalization. Due to Artificial Intelligence business platforms, UX can now integrate a smart recommendations system that's based on a user's previous behavior on the platform. This means that every viewer will see different recommendations and tips.
Personalization is also used in maintaining relations with existing customers via customized email newsletters (according to email marketing trends in 2020, this approach works amazingly well), personalized home pages, and personal virtual shopping assistants.
A Data-Rich Approach
Big Data and analytics platforms are not new in ecommerce, but today they matter more than ever.
Regardless of the platform you use, ecommerce sites have the possibility to (and should) track user behavior in great detail. Add to this the analytics provided by social media platforms and it becomes easier to understand your audience.
For example, by tracking data points such as search queries, shopping cart behavior, purchase history, and location, entrepreneurs can discover which products work best in a certain area, for who, and why. They can also know if a campaign is working in real-time and can adjust accordingly.
Still, it's not enough to just track and process this data. You should also use a CRM tool to organize your business and centralize information from all communication channels. This way, both the marketing and sales departments have access to the entire picture, which makes their work more efficient.
Mobile Shopping is on the Rise
According to Statista, by the end of 2021 73 percent of ecommerce sales will be made using a mobile device, usually a smartphone).
Which means it's important to promote tools that attract mobile shoppers such as responsive website design and mobile payment options such as e-wallets or PayPal. Another way of adapting to the trend is the use of progressive web app technologies.
Convenience is again the reason why these technologies work - users get the mobile app experience without having to download and install an actual app.
As such, entrepreneurs should consider brushing off their tech skills in order to understand how these technologies can be used for their particular case. It also helps to learn Swift, which is a language used in mobile apps with a shopping cart feature.
Staying ahead of the competition is not just about getting more people to visit your site. It's also about increasing the conversion rate as much as possible (which means, turning users into paying customers).
Further, you also need to pay attention to the way the content you launch on social media converts. Big platforms like Facebook and Instagram will play a bigger role in attracting valid leads and turning impulse buyers towards your site. However, their algorithm is changing and you need to adapt your ads and content accordingly.
For example, both platforms say that they favor posts with images, videos, and any creative content that's cool and unique. In a world where customers are more demanding and thirsty for engaging content, social media and blogging offer an amazing chance to online retailers.
So, to keep up with the competition and engage your audience, it's important to invest in creating content that's shareable and attractive. But don't forget - the content must be optimized for conversion!
Voice Search is a Thing
We are moving towards a world where people can simply verbally ask a smart speaker or their smartphone to shop for a specific item. And it won't be by shouting your order at the speaker in a robotic-like manner for the n+1 times!
Developers promise users that voice assistants and smart speakers will grow smarter and more human-friendly (in terms of conversation, at least).
Voice shopping is already happening and Google has been implementing it in their search engine for the last several updates.
But what does this mean for the regular online entrepreneur?
First, let's take a look at how customers use voice shopping. Since this is not a visual experience, people provide a description of the product they want. So, detailed descriptions using natural language are extremely useful.
Also, a user will most likely use voice shopping once they made up their mind about what they want. There will be no extra browsing or comparing products - they'll simply place an order and move on with their life. For now, people only use this way of shopping for small value products that they know well. Still, in time, this could lead to a very profitable channel for entrepreneurs.
At the end of the day, ecommerce entrepreneurs who want to evolve must adapt to the trends. This may require integrating and using new technologies (such as voice search or progressive web apps), using real-time data in your campaigns, and focusing more on personalization and conversion.
This is a guest editorial from the Northcutt Community.
Stewart Dunlop looks after content marketing at Udemy and has a passion for writing articles that users will want to read. In his free time, he likes to play football and enroll in different online courses.