2020 is just around the corner; is your Ecommerce marketing strategy up to date?
This year we've seen new technology like voice search, chatbots, and personalization infiltrating the web and showing up on our favorite shopping websites. In order to stay competitive, businesses need to adopt these changes and improve the shopping experience for their clients. Which of these trends have you started to implement?
This month we asked the experts: How has Ecommerce marketing changed in 2019 and what's next?
Online ads became an expensive nightmare. The biggest trend I've seen is how competitive online ads have become. PwC reports that in 2018, more than $25B was spent on internet ads, up from $20B in 2017, and it's only getting worse.
The idea that you could set up an online store with a template, invest a hundred dollars in Facebook ads and start dropshipping products is officially dead. (To be honest, I'm not sure if it was a practical business idea anyway).
The space is getting extremely competitive. Smaller brands are being priced out. Ads will still work, but they can't be your only channel. You can get smart about this by diversifying the way you get new customers and finding cost-efficient ways to expand the reach of your brand.
One approach that continues to work is encouraging referrals. You tap on your existing customer base to spread word-of-mouth, generate repeat purchases, and start building a community around your brand. These are things that are going to become crucial for brands looking to grow in the next few years.
Raul Galera, CandyBar
There has been a greater focus on devices buyers are using when they shop online and the importance they bring to the overall experience.
In the past, most Ecommerce businesses designed and built their shopping experiences for the desktop user first. Now, it's the opposite. Businesses are creating their online business with the mobile user in mind before desktop users.
In addition, you will see less and less complex checkout processes. More and more emphasis is being placed on a seamless, hassle-free and speedy checkout experience.
Moving forward into a new year, you will also see Ecommerce businesses honing their videography skills. Video is projected to play a massive role in the future of Ecommerce, with 60 percent of shoppers saying they would rather watch a video than read a product description when shopping.
Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
The biggest change I've noticed in search marketing this year has been voice search.
More and more people are using voice search to ask questions and find products. Instead of typing into Google, we're saying: "Alexa..." "Hey, Google..." "Siri..." Gartner predicts that "By 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen." And we are seeing this prophecy fulfilled in 2019. With the release of Google's new BERT algorithm update Google hopes to empower its users to better find what they're looking for when searching using "natural language".
2019 was a great year for search marketing trendsetters to optimize their client's websites for search by writing in a natural way that one would speak, and by tailoring content to the specific intent of the searcher.
Blake Boykin, Cart Consultant
Links still matter, but not as much as previously. Looking at trends for other sites, we noticed newer sites were appearing on page 1, but with considerably fewer links than their contemporaries.
On further investigation, we concluded that the topical nature of the links were having a more significant impact than previously. Links from high da domains were only impactful if it was relevant, domain-relevant being the strongest, but even URL relevant would have a beneficial bonus.
Product pages are difficult to build links to naturally, as prospects do not have much reason to link to a direct sales page. We saw that Ecommerce sites were utilizing links to informational and engaging blog posts, which had relevant internal links to their product pages. This is known as the middleman effect and it passes along linkpower to the product pages.
Sean Clancy, Edge Marketing
Visual search is taking off in a big way. Google shopping has been around for a while, but if you look closely at Google's search results you'll notice a significant increase in visual content. For example, look at the search term 'cat toys' and in addition to Google shopping, there are three more types of visual content on the first page.
Consumers are becoming used to seeing visual content and using it to help assist with their online purchase decisions. So the bottom line is, make sure you optimize your Ecommerce products for visual search.
In terms of what doesn't work anymore for Ecommerce marketing, it's generic stock images for products and standard website templates that don't offer great user experience and are not personalized for your target customers. The Ecommerce space is experiencing phenomenal growth right now and if you want your store to stand out from the hundreds of similar stores online, you need to avoid the generic website and stock imagery approach.
Jonathan Gorham, Engine Scout
One big trend that I've noticed in Ecommerce is the demand for more sustainable product options.
More and more customers are willing to spend the extra money if it means helping the environment. In fact, a recent survey proved that the majority of consumers believe it's important for companies to design products that are meant to be reused or recycled. And this majority also expects to buy more environmentally friendly products over the next 5 years.
As an Ecommerce business, you need to make sure going green is part of your plan moving forward if you want to continue attracting and retaining customers.
Saloni Doshi, Eco Enclose
Last year we saw a number of significant innovations in the Ecommerce industry, particularly the new payment methods that are contributing to the transformation of payments-channel integration and data protection. E-commerce business owners now research the most common and popular payment method in their targeted country and add it to their website. Having multiple payment methods means you can sell your products to a different consumer base.
Users now have multiple payment options available including digital payment methods, cryptocurrencies, and other contactless technologies.
E-commerce stores are now accepting cryptocurrencies. This makes payment processes simple for Ecommerce as well as for customers as everyone has their preferred way of payment.
With the rise in mobile users, many startups and SMBs have now introduced digital payment solutions replacing cash payments which allow consumers pay from their smartphones.
CJ Xia, Boster Biological Technology
One thing that seems to have really taken off in 2019 in the e-commerce marketing sphere is the general personalization of the user experience.
User experience, in general, is seeing more focus in 2019, but a big part of the developments in this area have involved personalization of the user process. This ranges from the most basic personalisation such as names being used in subject lines in emails through to the hyperfocused personalised adverts on Google and social media which pull in data based on location, time of day, significant cultural events like sports games and personal preferences to deliver an advert that hits the right spot at exactly the right time.
The overall increase in the personalization of the user experience is a natural development of the general shift of marketers to put the customer first and deliver a shopping experience which really makes them feel that your company care, and I'm sure we will see marketers lean more and more on this angle throughout 2020.
Louis Watton, Shiply
Most of the websites are offering more than four payment options to their customers.
In 2019, the trend of "only" Visa and Mastercard has come to an end. Companies search for every payment method that is becoming popular among the public and includes that in their payment options. What could be worse than having the right products but losing customers in the final lead phase by not having the preferred customer payment method?
Some companies prevent popular payment methods because of the high fee charges. They should see it in the long-run. Most of the commerce store would work on mobile apps as well. Because of the mobile app, it is easy to secure payment information of customers, which leads to an excellent user experience. People do not want to enter their cards manually now. The fewer clicks, the more chances of conversions. Along with adding the multiple payment options, stores would make the process of purchasing as simple as possible.
Jessica Chase, Premier Title Loans