The ecommerce industry has been experiencing steady growth over the past few years.
In fact, Statista predicts that global retail ecommerce revenue will amount to $4.88 trillion by 2021.
So, in the coming years, we should expect to see continuing growth with more businesses joining the market.
This, however, translates to more competition. And for ecommerce merchants, this means staying on your toes to get ahead.
You need to be well-versed in the latest ecommerce trends, which are often a result of advancements in technology and changes in consumer preferences and behavior.
In this post, we’ll discuss the top emerging ecommerce trends you should follow in 2019 to beat your competition.
Ecommerce Trends in 2019
Trend #1: Dropshipping
Dropshipping can be a profitable business model for ecommerce businesses that don’t have much capital to start with. It involves acting as the middleman between the manufacturer or supplier and the customer.
You process the purchase, but the product gets shipped directly to the buyer without you actually handling the physical product.
This business model is easy to start, involves less risk and has many advantages:
- You’re only going to buy the product after a customer places an order
- You don’t have to spend money on storing inventory
- You’ll have lower overhead costs
The 2018 State of the Merchant eCommerce Report found that out of 450 online stores, 16.4% were using dropshipping.
Businesses using this model experienced an average revenue growth of 32.7% and had an average conversion rate of 1.74%.
Due to these obvious benefits, we are likely to see a lot more of dropshipping in the future.
Dropshipping is particularly useful for selling bulky items that can take up a lot of space in warehouses and stores. That’s exactly why leading stores like Home Depot and Macy’s have adopted the business model to broaden their online reach, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But as profitable as it is, there are a few challenges involved with dropshipping:
- Since you have no control over when and how the seller ships the product, the shipping duration may be much longer than desired.
- Plus, unprofessional or unethical sellers could negatively affect the customer experience. So it’s crucial that you properly vet your sellers and set up proper shipping and service rules.
Another solution is to use platforms like Oberlo to run your dropshipping store with ease.
This platform connects you with verified suppliers from all over the world, making it much easier to find products to sell.
The best part is that you can ship the product straight from the warehouse to the customer in a single click.
For instance, Ashley Banks set up his store, Roasted Boutique, on Shopify to sell coffee-making products.
He then used Oberlo to find suppliers for products that would be ideal for a home barista.
All the products he listed were available elsewhere; even on Amazon. To tackle this challenge, he brainstormed and found a penguin thermos whose design stood out.
He then added it to his store and started running ads on Facebook for different products.
The penguin thermos started getting people’s attention and got him his first sale in just two weeks.
He ordered a piece to photograph when his nieces visited him and found the product extremely attractive. This is when he realized that this product was meant for kids.
He created short videos with his nieces and posted them on Facebook. He then promoted the videos with ads and noticed that 90% of people commenting were mothers.
The video jumped to 22,000 views in just three months. Eventually, he also used a Facebook Messenger bot to send viewers an offer when they interacted with the video.
This helped him achieve $6,140 in revenue with just $600 spent on marketing in three months. From starting a business with no inventory, he managed to sell 272 penguins during this period.
Trend #2: Multi-Channel Selling
People aren’t using just one channel to make their purchases online.
According to The 2018 Omnichannel Buying Report, 87% of consumers in the US shop offline. 78% of the survey respondents reported making a purchase on Amazon, 45% in a branded store online, 65% in a brick-and-mortar store, 34% on eBay, and 11% on Facebook.
According to the same report, consumers spend 69% of their discretionary income to shop in-store. Also, 56% of Gen Z makes purchases from brick-and-mortar stores.
These numbers show just how profitable it can be for ecommerce merchants to cater to the needs of omni-channel shoppers. So we should expect to see a rise in multi-channel selling in the coming year.
To grow your business as an online merchant, you need to make yourself available across all of the channels that your shoppers use. Aside from your own website, this could be on social media and brick-and-mortar stores as well as other online stores.
Consider using popular channels like eBay, Amazon, Google Shopping, and Jet. And don’t forget about popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, which also support direct sales.
One of the main reasons why ecommerce merchants shy away from multi-channel selling is that they have difficulty managing all of these channels.
But ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce can provide a highly effective solution to this.
You can use it to sync your inventory with the popular channels that your customers frequent, and process every order from a uniform location.
BeachRC, for instance, started off as a brick-and-mortar shop in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
As they grew in popularity, the team was forced to move to a bigger facility to manage inventory for higher demand.
This is when they started using BigCommerce, which was the only platform that allowed seamless inventory integration.
Using the platform, they integrated both their web store and physical store through Square. The plug-and-play design made it easy for BeachRC to start selling without any coding required.
They also started listing their products on Amazon, which helped them reach more people. With this increased visibility, they were also able to grow their revenue exponentially.
After they began multi-channel selling, their revenue grew 171% year-over-year and earned $15,944 through Amazon. Overall, BeachRC synced 7,507 products across all of their channels and managed them through BigCommerce.
Trend #3: Smarter Payment Processing
The payment process is the final step in the customer journey, and it is a vital stage that could make or break a conversion.
The customer has gone through multiple stages, including awareness and consideration, and has finally made the decision to buy your product.
But if the experience at this stage isn’t effortless and smooth, you could still end up losing the potential customer.
According to the Baymard Institute, almost 70% of shoppers abandon their carts. This suggests that even after researching and considering products thoroughly and adding them to their cart, a majority of shoppers still don’t complete the payment process.
The same report found that 28% of cart abandonment occurs because of a long or complicated checkout process.
If you’re planning to get ahead of the competition, this is one aspect that you must tackle in 2019. You will need to offer a smoother checkout process with an easy payment option that will ensure quick conversions.
Additionally, 13% of shoppers will abandon their purchases if there’s no local payment option.
So if you’re planning to expand your business globally, you will need to offer a better payment solution for shoppers in other countries.
Consolidating your payments into a single platform can be an excellent solution to these two problems. This makes it easier for you to manage all your payments regardless of currency and platform.
However, compliance and regulatory challenges could make it difficult for you to create a single payment platform. That’s why 84% of European retailers are considering the use of third-party service providers.
Payoneer, for instance, allows you to receive payments from all the top ecommerce marketplaces in one account.
You can accept payments from the US, EU, Japan, China, Canada, and Australia with multiple currency options. So it’s particularly useful if you’re expanding your business to other countries.
Hothaat Marketplace, based in India, exports textile goods to the USA. All of their business is through exports, so it was critical for them to get paid on time.
All of the payments they received were through wire transfers, which took about a week to reach them. And they were charged higher exchange rates.
Through Payoneer, they were able to consolidate their payments onto a single platform. It also helped them reduce their payment realization time significantly. In just a few months of using Payoneer, they were saving 2-3% on exchange rates. Through this integration, they were able to handle payments of about $100K every month as well.
Trend #4: Omni-Channel Personalization
We previously mentioned that omni-channel selling will become more popular in 2019.
However, it’s not enough to just be available on multiple channels.
You will also need to provide a cohesive brand experience by personalizing your interactions for each customer across all of those channels. In other words, you need to recognize the customer as the very same person across all your channels.
Otherwise, you could end up offering irrelevant experiences, which can be too intrusive or annoying. And it’s a well-known fact that personalization is imperative for the success of businesses today.
In fact, 80% of respondents in an Epsilon study said that personalized experiences make them more likely to do business with a company. And 90% find personalization appealing.
Additionally, an Evergage study found that personalization has advanced customer relationships for 98% of marketers. 88% believe that their customers and prospects expect to get a personalized experience.
However, there is still a huge challenge when it comes to offering a seamless personalized experience across all channels:
- Only 27% of marketers in the study are syncing half or more of their channels.
- 46% have managed to connect only a few channels.
- And 27% don’t have any of their channels connected.
So, we should expect to see more marketers focusing on omni-channel personalization in the coming years.
There’s a huge opportunity for you to get ahead of your competitors by personalizing customer experiences across all channels.
A great way to do this is using AI-driven targeting. Predictive targeting can help you identify a visitor and then match the right experience for them. This optimizes the customer experience on various channels.
Dynamic Yield lets you easily personalize customer interactions in real-time. You can combine omni-channel personalization, content recommendations, and real-time messaging to deliver exceptional customer experience.
BILD Shop, an online sports retailer in Germany, used Dynamic Yield to build unique experiences for their customers.
They integrated data from their tag management platform into Dynamic Yield and then used it to build audiences.
They then began optimizing their homepage by A/B testing creative variations based on the user segments.
For instance, Bayern Munich fans were shown different products that featured their favorite club. It worked the same way for other segments as well. This helped them boost their CTR by 69%.
After that, they used Dynamic Yield to create a hybrid strategy to increase their average order value.
The recommendations came through similar products, items bought together, and popular products. This recommendation strategy helped them increase their ROI by five times.
Using Dynamic Yield’s page curl template, they also displayed targeted offers to mobile users.
They showed the offer at the bottom left corner of the mobile phone so as not to be too intrusive, but still visible. These targeted offers helped them increase their revenue per user by 27%.
They even generated excitement for their Black Friday sale by displaying a countdown timer for it.
A pre-defined template from Dynamic Yield helped them execute this campaign in just a few clicks.
By showing the timer, they were able to boost their revenue per user by 14% and increase their conversion rate by 20%..
Trend #5: Custom Packaging
Customers tend to perceive packaging as a part of the product.
In fact, according to a Dotcom Distribution study, 68% of shoppers felt that a brand became more upscale due to its packaging.
Additionally, 61% of the shoppers even claimed that seeing unique packaging made them more excited about the product.
Based on this study, there seems to be a growing interest in customized packaging among consumers.
So, any ecommerce business that wants to set itself apart in 2019 should be creating custom packaging to make their brand or store more recognizable.
Third-party solutions such as Packhelp can make this job easier for you.
They offer durable packaging that can be customized for businesses of all sizes. You can easily customize your packaging on their web app and check out the prices.
Their 3D visualization tool will give you a better idea of how your packaging will look even before you finally place the order.
Coffee Republic is a coffee roasting plant that sells their blends both online and offline.
In either case, their coffee comes in eco-friendly boxes inspired by gunny bags. They used Packhelp to customize their boxes with a black imprint.
The carton has coffee symbols on all the sides of the box, and their logo on the top. This packaging print echoes the minimalist brand identity they’ve created.
The ecommerce industry is transforming dynamically every year.
With the advent of AI, it’s further moving towards personalization and creating new experiences for consumers.
Through omni-channel marketing and consolidation of payments, you can manage your ecommerce business more effectively while reaching more people.