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Four ecommerce trends that will boost your sales in 2019

By Alexandra Gavril - January 10, 2019

In this day and age, your customers have more options available to them than ever before. This also means they can afford to be more selective when it comes to which online shops they choose to buy products and services from.

So if you want to keep attracting and retaining customers in 2019, you’ll need to find new ways to engage them online and to set your brand apart from competitors.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at what are expected to be some of the biggest ecommerce trends heading into 2019 so you can work out where exactly to place your focus in the coming year.

1. Customer experience

Customer experience (CX) is a concept that seems to crop up time and time again. If you’re not familiar with it or if you only associate it with good customer service or quickly answered queries, then you’d better read on. That’s because the success of your ecommerce business in 2019 depends on providing a wow customer experience.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience encapsulates the entire lifecycle of your customers, from the moment they first learn about your business and their first visit on your site to the moment they buy from you, recommend you to others and come back to your store.

In the past, customer experience was almost like an optional extra. But in 2019 businesses will need to provide a stellar experience as standard.

How? By putting yourself into the mind of your customer and finding ways to make their interactions with your brand enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing.

Since customer experience is such a broad topic, here are a few key areas you should consider improving on your ecommerce website:

On-site user experience

People are impatient. They want something and they want it now. So review your website and take the steps that a first-time visitor would take to buy a product from you.

Does your website load quickly? Are your product descriptions clear and your images of high quality? How many clicks does it take to make a purchase? How many fields do you need to fill in to sign up for an account? Can you buy without signing up for an account? Are there any broken pages that are preventing you from finalising an order?

Now, even if you’ve checked everything, it’s possible that your first-time visitors won’t find your site’s setup to be as clear and logical as you do.

The solution here is user testing. This will help you to get an insight into the minds of your existing and potential customers so you can improve your website.

This guide can help you to get started with user testing. However, if you’re serious about it, you may want to seek out the help of a specialist agency.

Personalised recommendations

The big thing in 2019 will be all about collecting data on each person interacting with your online shop and then using it to serve them more relevant content, products and offers.

That’s because people today are looking for products that reflect their personality, needs and desires or products that can help them solve a problem or achieve a goal.

Amazon has been doing this for years by tracking what you browse, add to your wishlist or cart and buy so they can then recommend further products suited to you.

So if you want to offer better and more personalised products and offers to your customers, start by tracking things like:

  • Location and demographics
  • Purchasing history
  • Items currently in or previously added to shopping cart and wishlist.

Shipping and returns

When someone buys from your online shop, how quickly is the order processed and ready for delivery? Is it clear how long it takes and how much it costs to deliver a product? Do you provide order tracking so that customers can receive shipment updates and know when they can expect their product to be delivered to their door? Is your return policy visible and jargon-free so that anyone can understand how they can return a product?

These are critical elements of customer satisfaction that should not be neglected. Constantly reviewing and improving them can help to create a positive customer experience and promote repeat purchases.

Customer service

Are you trying your best to keep customers happy? If they’re not reaching out to you to leave feedback or if they’re not leaving reviews and testimonials on social media sites or other platforms, that doesn’t mean they don’t have an opinion about their experience with you.

Want to understand how our customers feel about your business, and what they do and don’t like about their experience on your ecommerce site? Ask them.

Use surveys, emails and phone calls to gain more insightful feedback. It’s the only way to find out if you’re delivering a wow customer experience and if not, then what you can do next to improve it.

Trust

If people don’t feel like they can trust you with their personal information or credit card details, they won’t buy from you.

In 2019, this is more important than ever, which means you’ll need to be completely transparent about nearly everything, including but not limited to policies (shipping costs, refunds and exchanges), the use of SSL certificates to ensure a safe and secure experience on your site, the way you collect and use customers’ data, to name a few.

There are lots of other things that contribute to an epic customer experience. To learn more, check out these extra resources:

Why customer experience is the ultimate marketing tool

What a great digital customer experience looks like

Major brands reveal their secrets on improving customer experience online

2. Chatbots

While chatbots and live chat aren’t new, they will become hugely popular in 2019 and not just for customer service purposes but for marketing purposes as well.

Up until recently, chatbots have mostly been used to quickly answer customers’ queries. And they proved to be very effective. In fact, according to the 2018 State of Chatbots Report, speed and availability are perceived as the most valuable chatbot factors – with 64% of respondents citing “24-hour service” as a benefit.

We can see why since most often customers prefer to type a question to a chatbot and get an answer in seconds than pick up the phone and wait for a support agent to become available to answer their question.

But chatbots can also help to boost sales. How? Start by using one of these tactics:

  • Make personalised product recommendations or offer coupons and special discounts via chat
  • Run Facebook ads straight to Messenger
  • Add item-specific chat prompts on product pages.

Lots of big brands are already taking advantage of social media messenger apps as well as on-site and in-app chatbots to provide better support and to sell more products.

You should consider using this technology on your ecommerce site and social media pages as well, if you’re not already doing so.

Need some inspiration? Here are a few examples of how big brands are using chatbots to help improve operations, connect with customers, and increase sales.

If you’re ready to give it a try, check out our guide to learn how to create a Facebook Messenger chatbot for your small business.

3. Community building

Influencer marketing is a mainstay in the marketing world, but the model is shifting. It’s no longer about paying an influencer a flat fee to spread the word about your business or products.

There’s another tactic that’s more effective and brings in more buzz and sales. That’s community building.

More and more businesses have started to invest time and effort into building active communities among the users of their brands. Why? Because it’s easier to transform customers into your extended marketing team whose mission is to spread word of mouth when you take the time to engage with them, to answer their questions and concerns, to educate and to delight them.

So, in 2019, make it your mission to build an active community around your brand. Position yourself as more than a seller of products. Join their conversation, offer exclusive discounts and promotions, free resources, helpful content and guides.

The idea is to provide engaging content and social activity first, and then to sell products off the back of it.

4. Voice search

One final ecommerce trend to think about in 2019 is Google’s move towards voice search.

With more people using tools and voice assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Home to perform searches on Google, you need to consider how your customers are searching for your business and products.

People speak differently to the way they type. While they may type “best vinyl record shop London” to search for vinyl shops in London, when using a voice assistant, they’re more likely to say “where is the best vinyl record shop in London?”

In other words, you might want to take a look at your product descriptions and see how you can better optimise them for voice search.

Read this article for more tips and advice on how to optimise your website for voice search.

Wrapping up

Hopefully you’ve been inspired to try out at least one of these tactics to boost your sales in the year to come. And remember, no matter how you’re planning to grow your business in 2019, 123 Reg will be with you every step of the way.