It’s a brave new world in eCommerce marketing, and 2019 is shaping up to be a year for the record books. From the expansion of AI strategies to the omnipresence of audio devices in our homes, offices, and vehicles, there are a number of new ways to reach new prospects and customers with the story of what we have available for sale online. We’re predicting that these 4 trends are the ones to watch in the coming year.
1. Rise of the Machines
You may bemoan the fact that there are a lot of technologies involved in marketing today, but it’s hard to deny the impact that they’ve had on shopping habits around the world. Predictive analytics are available to help us upsell a variety of products, while real-time reporting lets us keep track of inventory and plot sales and staffing expectations for the future. It’s hard to find an aspect of eCommerce that hasn’t been revolutionized by digital marketing in the past few years, and 2019 is set to accelerate development that will include reasonably-priced options for smaller businesses. Even so, it will take years before AI solutions are truly ready to scale and be fully usable.
2. Mobile Search and User Experience
While smartphone conversion rates on eCommerce sites were nearly half those of desktop sessions in 2017, we suspect that this trend will look dramatically different in 2019 and beyond. Commerce websites can be notoriously difficult to navigate with mobile, with poor layouts, slow-loading images, and navigation that leaves a lot to be desired. Savvy retailers will see these trends and kickstart projects to improve the user experience on mobile devices — driving a new wave of sales dollars that are moving away from desktops and towards handheld devices.
3. Tighter Integration with Social Media
Instagram is the latest social media platform to relax their rules around linking to help aid eCommerce marketing — and their advertising revenue. As social media continues to evolve as an advertising platform, expect to see more opportunities to sell your wares to a ready-made audience of brand fanatics. New partnerships with eCommerce stores BigCommerce and Shopify will allow merchants to set up shop directly within the popular social media platform. While the shopper interaction is still a bit buggy and basic, expect retailers to take full advantage of new functionality that social media giants push out in 2019.
4. Audio Explosion
Audio devices and voice interactions are hitting all-time highs, as millions of popular devices that feature Amazon Alexa and Google AI are delivered to homes in late 2018. Much of this furor was driven by Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals that provided major discounts on what some analysts dubbed “smart home spies“. Regardless of whether you believe these devices are the best thing since sliced bread or the devil in a red dress, consumers have spoken and the audio devices are flying off shelves. This means your business’s digital fingerprints need to be structured in such a way that they allow for easy voice search — and purchase on major outlets.