7 E-Commerce Trends To Look Forward In 2018 | RankWatch Blog

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7 E-Commerce Trends To Look Forward In 2018

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E-Commerce

Even though I am quite certain that you must be aware what eCommerce is (unless you have been living under a rock), I am still going to satisfy the pretentious inner child that I have and provide you all with a basic definition.

According to Investopedia (my go-to guide for all those fancy financial terms), “Electronic commerce (eCommerce) is a type of business model, or segment of a larger business model, that enables a firm or individual to conduct business over an electronic network, typically the internet. Electronic commerce operates in all four of the major market segments: business to business, business to consumer, consumer to consumer and consumer to business. It can be thought of as a more advanced form of mail-order purchasing through a catalog.”

E-Commerce

Almost any product or service can be offered via eCommerce, from books and music to financial services. Even your toothbrush can be provided via eCommerce.

In the last twenty years, e-commerce has entirely revolutionized retail. It went from being an essentially non-existent business model to becoming a significant threat to the traditional brick & mortar business setups as we know it. Over the years eCommerce has seen some radical improvements.

1. Social Shopping

E-Commerce

Social media has taken up the world by a storm, so much so that even after repeated scandals of information mismanagement by giants like Facebook people absolutely cannot stop posting their lives online. Of course by no means am I not saying that social media is a bad thing or advocating it plus points but simply trying to make a point about how intrinsically woven it has become in all our lives.

E-commerce on its growth towards superiority in retail is most certainly going to bank on this golden goose. Social media platforms like Instagram & Facebook are a marketer’s wet dream come true. Why because it is free of cost and offers the best return on interest.

The same logic applies to social media marketplaces. You can list your products free of cost and market them across every square inch of this blue and green ball of ours. What’s more is you can control every aspect as to who gets to view it and how they all perceive it.

2. AR and VR

E-Commerce

Ask any techie, nerd, and geek to explain to you how AR/VR actually works and you will realize that they are just as baffled as you. This, however, does mean anyone is an any less fascinated by it. And why would they, it is a technology worth every drop of fascination it receives. Every major tech company from Apple to Google to Samsung want a piece of the AR/VR pie.

Most recently eCommerce has joined the ranks of these core tech companies. Major brands like Ikea, Sephora and eBay are trying AR tools to show their customers how a product will actually look on them and around them. From placing virtual furniture in your house to trying new makeup or sunglasses you can try these products first hand. Well not try exactly but as close as it gets to try in reality.

3. Automation

E-Commerce

Another trend that is steadfastly becoming more and more common with eCommerce companies is automation. So how does automation figure into eCommerce?

Well, imagine a scenario where your customers check some products in their shopping cart but do not actually buy. With the help of automated services, you can send them a push notification about items left in their shopping cart or an email. You can also send them emails about new offers, sales, and discounts, greetings on their birthdays and anniversaries to make a more personal connection with them.

Basically, all tangible manual tasks will no longer have to be done manually. Doesn’t that sound like a peach?

4. Machine learning & AI

E-Commerce

A few days ago Google in it’s Google I/O 2018, which is an annual developer conference held by Google in Mountain View, California displayed a phone call made by its AI assistant and booked an appointment a local salon. (insert aghast emoticon)

That is how far development in the field of AI & machine learning has come. Another one it’s marvelous feats involved an app called Google Lens that enables people to simply take a photograph of an object, say a beautiful dress and learn about its retailer, designer and even buy it.

So yeah in very near future customers will simply be able to take a picture of any and everything they like and proceed to command their smartphone to make a purchase and Bob’s your uncle, the product is delivered to their doorstep.

Who knows maybe the AI will also be able to bargain better than you.

All of this, however, is a little down the road in the future. At present, however, AI and machine learning are being used to better understand the customers, to find the right patterns in product sales and shopping behavior and with that knowledge provide optimized experiences that drive sales and increase revenue.

5. Voice search

E-Commerce

This is one of the fastest growing trends in smartphones nowadays. With the astonishing growth in smartphones and their assistants, it is only a matter of time before you simply ask your phone to make a purchase for you.

I know I mentioned pretty much the same thing in the paragraph I dedicated to AI but unlike AI voice assistants are already here and people (read customers) are already getting hinged on them.

6. Blockchain and cryptocurrency

E-Commerce

Well, this is a term that has been flying around like crazy for a while even though very few people understand what it is primarily because of the mad rates of Bitcoin.

What is a cryptocurrency? Here is a quick explanation: ‘a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.

By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet. Originally devised for the digital currency, Bitcoin, the tech community is now finding other potential uses for the technology.

One of those uses is in the domain of eCommerce. Unfortunately, the anonymity offered by cryptocurrency can also be used for deleterious purposes like Silk Road marketplace (where Ross William Ulbricht fell to the dark side).

Irrespective of the pros and cons that arrive with cryptocurrency it is quite well established and here to stay and increasingly being incorporated into eCommerce.

7. More delivery options

E-Commerce

When Amazon first made a delivery using drones it was almost the same as Henri Matisse painting ‘Woman With The Hat’ and Pablo Picasso creating ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ they completely bent and shattered all of the rules created by the masters.

Now major are delivering products like coffee and pizzas via drones in a matter of minutes. Sure the service is only limited to select few cities across the globe but in the coming years, it is going to spread like wildfire because let’s face it everyone is in such horrendous hurry nowadays.

Conclusion

These are only some of the eCommerce trends that almost certain to be a part of our lives in 2018. There are bound to be more groundbreaking and disruptive trends and technology that will shape retail and eCommerce in some and I’ll be sure to keep you abreast with all of them. Until then may the force be with you.

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Pranjal Kaushiley
Pranjal Kaushiley is a content writer at Infibeam& BuildaBazaar. An introverted soul with a passion for all things great and beautiful be it literature, art, music, science or technology. Has an enormous interest in creating thoughtful compositions of ideas and thoughts.
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