State of Digital Retail: Trends for 2018

Competing in the retail space in 2018 requires capitalizing on all that eCommerce has to offer your business. Enterprise organizations, medium-sized retailers, and small business owners alike must have a strategic and well-executed omnichannel eCommerce strategy to maximize profitability. In this article, we’ll highlight four trends that point to this necessity.
 
Unprecedented Growth in eCommerce Sales
 
A Forrester report projects that Competing in the retail space in 2018 requires capitalizing on all that eCommerce has to offer your business. Enterprise organizations, medium-sized retailers, and small business owners alike must have a strategic and well-executed omnichannel eCommerce strategy to maximize profitability. In this article, we’ll highlight four trends that point to this necessity. will constitute 17% of all retail sales by 2022. That’s up nearly 5% from 2017’s benchmark of 12.9%. It’s no secret that the world is becoming more interconnected and consumers are utilizing online shopping experiences more and more. This digitization translates to increased adoption of internet technologies around the world.
 
The same study reports that, on average, the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000 grew sales by an average of 15.5% year over year in 2016. Top retail brands are experiencing consistent growth as a result of consumers around the world purchasing more products online. It’s pretty simple and straightforward for enterprises to start capitalizing on this trend. Make sure your products are offered online, in as many marketplaces and stores as is conceivable with your resources. Listing your products for sale on websites like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy offer built-in promotion and an opportunity to sell to new customers.
 
Consumers’ Approach to Conducting Product Research
 
A UK-based digital agency reports that more than 80% of shoppers conduct research online before purchasing a product. The shift towards a more informed consumer has affected many industries and changed both marketing and sales professionals’ responsibilities greatly in recent years. It’s a natural conclusion from a customer experience perspective to buy the product online, where you found all the information that convinced you to make the purchase.
 
In addition to guaranteeing your products are made available to consumers online, it’s important for online retailers to make sure products are well described with all relevant information listed in their store or in product descriptions on marketplaces. Consumers today don’t click “Buy Now” without having their questions answered. Meet your customers where they are with the information they need and you’ll see an increase in sales and eCommerce’s impact on your business.
 
Omnichannel eCommerce: Emphasis on Customer-Centric Shopping and Experiences
 
Jimmy Duvall, Chief Product Officer at Bigcommerce, is quoted as saying “[In 2018,]...it's likely consumers will increasingly choose to shop with brands that demonstrate customer centricity across all facets of their business, from personalized, customer-aware marketing to shopper-friendly shipping and return policies.” It won’t be good enough to just sell your products online. Brands that find true success will emphasize the customer’s experience shopping with them online.
 
That’s the difference between multichannel and omnichannel eCommerce. Omnichannel accounts for the customer’s experience across marketplaces and stores. When a customer orders the final product available on Amazon and a different customer orders that same final product on eBay minutes later, the eBay consumer is going to need a refund. No customer wants to experience fulfillment errors like this, and instances of inventory management problems greatly affects a brands’ ability to generate and maintain happy customers. To learn more about how to prepare your organization for omnichannel success, download our free eBook. 

Duvall went on to say that personalization in 2018 goes beyond making product recommendations based on what everyone else is buying or what is popular in the marketplace depending on demographic, age, and other customer characteristics. True personalization occurs when recommendations are made depending on that customer’s unique habits and preferences.
 
Omnichannel eCommerce and Mobile Responsiveness
 
Nchannel (reports that mobile payment users are projected to grow from 450+ million in 2014 to over 2 billion in 2019. That's more than quadrupling the total number of mobile eCommerce users in half a decade. Usage of mobile technologies and devices across the globe will have a big impact on eCommerce and online retail strategy. Most importantly, your proprietary online store has to be mobile responsive.
 
In order for a customer to purchase a product from their phone or tablet, your store has to be easily navigable and intuitive to use regardless of their device. If a user gets to your store on their iPhone or Android device and the menu isn’t optimized for mobile, or product descriptions are being cut off due to a lack of mobile design, you’re going to lose that sale and probably that customer forever.
 

Is your retail business prepared to succeed online in 2018? Consider booking a demo of our holistic eCommerce software built to future-proof online retailers.

Sources: 

  1. Barsby, Adam. “Connected Ecommerce Trends for 2018: Voice Purchases, Messengers & Blending In-Store and Digital.” Xanthos Blog, www.e-xanthos.co.uk/blog/connected-eCommerce-trends-2018-voice-purchases-messengers-blending-store-digital/.

  2. Popomaronis, Tom. “E-Commerce In 2018: Here's What The Experts Are Predicting.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 15 Dec. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/tompopomaronis/2017/12/15/e-commerce-in-2018-heres-what-the-experts-are-predicting/#4fba79c56deb.

  3. Hufford, Jillian. “ECommerce Statistics: 100 Stats and Trends about Online Shopping.” Amazon Statistics Need To Know Numbers about Amazon Infographic Comments, 15 June 2017, www.nchannel.com/blog/ecommerce-stats-trends-online-shopping/.