Ecommerce is continuing to grow in popularity, and with that comes the need to keep up with the latest trends in order to keep your customers. In fact, customers in 2017 spent an incredible 2.3 trillion dollars on ecommerce purchases worldwide. Better yet, that number is expected to reach almost 5 trillion by 2021. That’s right. Trillion.
If you hadn’t noticed, ecommerce is pretty popular. Scratch that, it is very popular. There is a lot of competition and if your brand is not able to keep up, you won’t be getting your piece of the sales pie.
How can ecommerce brands stay current and keep their customers engaged and happy? While there’s no short or easy answer to that question, there are several tips and marketing trends you can look to for help.
In fact, these 5 main marketing trends are having their moment in the ecommerce arena and are helping brands from all industries boost sales. Not only will these trends help boost revenue, they’ll help keep your customers coming back.
Ecommerce Trends Bonus Tip: Customer Retention
Customer retention is not a new trend for 2018, but no article discussing ecommerce marketing and sales is complete without mentioning the importance of customer retention. It is 5 times more costly to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.
That is a huge difference! With that in mind, by ensuring you keep your customers happy (in part by following our tips below), you have the best chance of keeping them for life. The result? More revenue!
Let’s discuss the 5 latest ecommerce marketing trends you should be aware of. Not only will we discuss the trends, but also the main tools and platforms that will make implementing these trends a breeze.
#1: Web Push Notifications
How many times have you missed an email in your inbox or scrolled past a post on your social media? Probably quite frequently. After all, we are bombarded with messages every day. The average worker receives just over 120 emails per day. Fighting through the noise in a crowded inbox is becoming harder and harder for marketers.
Thankfully, that is where web push comes in. Web push notifications are the latest and greatest way for marketers to engage their audience both on desktop and mobile devices. Best of all, web push notifications deliver in real time and have a much higher visibility rate than other marketing methods.
Web push also allows you to engage your audience quickly – perfect in today’s world of shrinking attention spans. Running a sale? Send out a push notification. New products available? Blog post published? Order shipped? No matter the message, you can utilize web push to send it out to your audience.
The path to becoming a web push subscriber is also much easier than email. The above image shows the standard opt-in prompt as seen at ecommerce brand Princess Polly. If a user wants to subscribe, they hit allow. That’s it.
Gone are the days of filling out a form, checking your email, and clicking a confirmation link. One click and you’re done with web push.
Recommended Tool: Aimtell
Getting started with web push is easy. There are several web push providers to choose from, Aimtell being one of them. Our installation process is very straightforward (either download our WordPress or Shopify app or install a few lines of code for all other websites).
Once you have signed up, you can start sending campaigns right away. You have the power to control who you send your messages to. Send campaigns to all of your subscribers, to just one, or to anyone in between.
What we really like about web push is how much info you can track and use to help you send smarter campaigns.
Retargeting abandoned carts has long been a top choice for marketers looking to increase conversions, but web push gives you a new way to do so. They work in largely the same way as other abandoned cart initiatives, but the increased visibility is a major plus. You also don’t miss out on targeting users who have not provided you with their email address.
Web push is a great marketing trend that is becoming more popular for a very good reason. Cut through the noise and speak directly to your audience with web push.
#2: Native Buying on Social Media
If you can’t beat them, join them. You are not going to get more visitors to your website than you’ll get on social platforms like Facebook or Instagram. And that’s okay! Instead, bring your store to social media. Instagram just recently hit 1 billion monthly active users. That is a lot of potential customers!
Native buying has become very popular in the last year and is only expected to keep growing. Instead of having your customers leave social media to search for products at your website, native buying allows them to see your items and click to purchase them all within the social platform they are using. Talk about convenient!
With convenience comes more sales. And like we’ve already mentioned, there is a lot of competition out there for ecommerce brands. The more steps a customer has to take, the higher the chances are they walk away before converting. Native buying makes it quick and easy for customers to purchase items that catch their eye.
Did you know that Instagram users are 70% more likely to make a purchase on a mobile device? These are users that are active, engaged, and ready to buy.
Recommended Platform(s): Instagram and Pinterest
Not a big surprise that Instagram is our top suggestion! However, Pinterest is another platform to keep in mind. While they don’t have the same monster number of users that Instagram has, they do have a very engaged audience that is looking to buy.
66% of users buy something after seeing a brand’s Pins! If that stat doesn’t make you want to head to Pinterest right away, we don’t know what will.
To get started selling on Instagram and Pinterest, create accounts with both platforms. For Instagram, you need to have a business Facebook account as well as a business Instagram account. Once you upload your product catalog to your Facebook Shop, Instagram will notice and shortly after you will see the option to tag products.
For Pinterest, you must first apply for approval to use buyable pins. Your store must run on a platform such as Shopify or BigCommerce. Once approved, Pinterest will automatically convert existing product pins into buyable pins based on your store data.
Going forward, you can create new buyable pins by pinning a product and including the link to the product page. Pinterest will automatically convert it to a buyable pin! It couldn’t be easier.
#3: AI Chatbots
While artificial intelligence (AI) used to be out of reach for most ecommerce brands, it has recently become more accessible. In particular, the last year has seen the rise of chatbots. These bots can interact with customers, answer frequently asked questions, give product recommendations, and in some cases even place orders.
Quality, fast customer service is a top concern for most customers. When done well, it really pays off. In fact, companies with good customer service have retention rates around 92%. Chatbots can help you scale your customer service efforts, ensuring you are responding to everyone in a timely manner.
Nearly 50% of organizations have said they are planning to include chatbots as part of their customer service. This is a trend that is only going to get more popular in the coming years. Getting on board now ensures your brand is keeping up with customer expectations and delivering a great experience.
If a customer has a question, chances are they won’t place their order until they get an answer. Having a frequently asked questions page is an easy way to answer common questions, but you need more. A chatbot is an easy way to allow your customers to ask questions 24/7. The quicker they can get an answer, the more likely they are to go through with their order. That means more sales for you!
Recommended Tool: It’s Alive
Remember what we talked about earlier regarding social media? It is where people are spending the majority of their time online – so take advantage! Chatbots existing within Facebook Messenger are growing in popularity and are a great choice if you want to get started with AI.
Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about coding your own AI bot. Companies like It’s Alive do all the hard work for you. Creating a bot is easy. Let them know what you want your bot to be able to do, give them the necessary info, and they do the rest. Their bots can do things like answer questions, alert users of special offers, and even host games that unlock special content.
Make sure you let people at your website know about your chatbot. Place info on your customer service page, or let them know in a pop-up or exit intent screen from Hello Bar.
#4: Product Videos and Gifs
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that quality visuals are needed for ecommerce success. Because your customers cannot come into a physical store to see your items in person, you need to do a great job of displaying them.
Lately, there has been a trend towards product videos and GIFs as a top way to display your products. And it makes sense! Stats on video are always fantastic – people love them. In fact, users are up to 85% more likely to purchase something after viewing a product video.
While it is more work to put together video (and especially high quality video), it is work that is sure to pay off – literally. Above is one of the best product and homepage GIFs we have seen. The total focus is on the product itself and all of its great features. The interactive slider element is also a neat touch that gets users involved. They easily score an A+, and you can too!
Did you know you can also incorporate GIFs into your Hello Bar content? Include them in your pop ups or page takeovers to help better capture your audience’s attention before they leave.
Recommended Tool: Powtoon
If you don’t have a team of video producers in house, you’re in luck. There are plenty of tools out there that can help you put together stellar video content. Powtoon is one such company. With an easy to use interface and different video type templates, you can easily put together whatever you need for your brand.
As with any type of marketing, make sure you have a clear goal before getting started. Map out your ideas and come up with a clear plan. Say you wish to create a series of product videos. First, think about how you are going to display your products. Which features are important to show off? What is really going to sell the product to your customers? What sets you apart from your competition?
Next, make sure you have a clear goal in mind for your videos – most likely that would be increased conversions, but you may have another goal in mind, such as increased brand awareness. Pick a clear goal and stick with it. Use a tool such as Powtoon to help bring your ideas to life.
Product videos are great because they show a customer so much more than an image ever could. Show off the product in action and highlight all of its features. The more info, the more confidence a customer will have when buying. Confidence is key!
#5: One-Click Purchasing
Thanks, Amazon! One of the biggest shifts we are seeing in ecommerce is faster checkouts. Simply put, customers are impatient. If your checkout process involves inputting a lot of information, you may be turning customers away, regardless of how great your products are.
While Amazon used to have control over one-click technology, their patent expired in September of 2017. Now, other retailers are jumping on board and giving their customers easier, faster options for checkout.
In addition to one-click purchasing, another great way to speed up your checkout process is to offer a guest check out option. We would be so bold as to say this is a must have feature for all ecommerce sites. If not, you could be losing some serious sales. Nearly 30% of ecommerce shoppers will abandon their purchase if they are asked to register.
Allow users to check out as a guest. Keep in mind you can always follow up with them later and ask them to register (once they have already completed their purchase).
Recommended Tool: One-Click Checkout
If you are looking to speed up your checkout process, consider an app such as the One-Click Checkout app for Shopify stores. Set up is quick and easy and is sure to make your customers happy.
More than likely, your customers are shopping at Amazon, meaning they are used to the convenience of one-click buying. In order to stay competitive with the retail giant, you need to be able to offer some of the same convenient services they do.
Simply install the app from the Shopify App Store to get started. They offer multiple customization options and work with any Shopify theme. Complete with free technical support that is available 24/7, this is a no-brainer to implement at your store.
Once installed and active on your site, One-Click Checkout can also be used within your other marketing efforts in order to set yourself apart from your competition.
Not running your store on Shopify? No problem. Other ecommerce platforms have released similar plugins as well. Consider the YITH One-Click Checkout plugin if you run your store on WooCommerce, or One Click Checkout if you run on Magento.
Bonus Tip: Exit Intent Popups
One last bonus tip before you go – exit intent page takeovers! These are one of the biggest eCommerce marketing trends, stemming from the concept of cart abandonment, but coming from a page abandonment angle instead.
What does exit intent mean? Well, when someone comes to your site, they always have the option to leave. In fact, 98% of visitors leave your website without taking action. No matter whether they’re on your site for 30 seconds or 30 minutes, visitors will always exit – and usually, they do so by clicking up to the url bar to type in a new site to visit. This is the exit intent’s time to shine!
With Hello Bar, you can set up your page takeover to occur right when your visitor goes to leave your site. You’ll get one last chance to reel your customer in by offering a last minute discount or simply collecting their email address so you can invite them to visit once again using a follow up email campaign. It’s genius.
Here’s an example of the Hello Bar exit intent in action:
It’s easy to see why an exit intent page takeover works. Placing an awesome deal in front of a customer right as you’re starting to lose their interest works. It lowers your site’s bounce rate, increases your chance of making a sale, and worst case scenario, if your exit intent doesn’t work, there’s nothing to lose – your visitor is already leaving.
Exit intent page takeovers are certainly a marketing trend to try. No sales funnel is complete without one. Here’s some ideas on how to create your own exit intent page takeover.
Standing out in a crowded sea of ecommerce brands can feel impossible, but by staying up-to-date with the latest trends and tools, you can market your brand effectively and engage your customers better than ever before.
Reach out to users off of your site by utilizing web push notifications. Deliver your campaigns to both mobile and desktop users, ensuring you are reaching everyone, not just some of your users.
Head to social media and bring your products with you. Make it even easier for your customers to discover your products and buy them as well. Add your products to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest and watch your conversions soar.
Answer common questions and boost sales through the use of AI chatbots. Integrate your chatbot with social media to reach all of your customers and answer their questions in a timely manner.
Take the time to create or improve the quality of your product videos, or create GIFs that show off all of your products’ great features. The more info you can show, the better.
Finally, speed up your checkout process by enabling one-click purchasing, or at the very least, allowing customers to checkout as guests. A long checkout process equates to fewer conversions. Reduce your number of steps and increase your number of sales.
What is your favorite method of engaging your ecommerce customers?