eCommerce revenues are expected to reach $460+ billion by the end of 2018. But you may have to work harder to get your share of that big, juicy pie. That’s because eCommerce also promises to be more competitive than ever before. All indications point to 2018 being the year customers will be focused on the user experience—and will abandon brands that don’t give them what they’re looking for.

With a dizzying array of channels and marketing tools, it can be hard to know what to focus on. We here at Yeoman recommend you focus on the following end user initiatives in 2018.

Accommodate the omni-device consumer

According to Google, “about 85% of online shoppers start a purchase on one device and finish on another.” So, in 2018, it won’t be enough to simply have a presence on multiple channels—you’ll need to offer an integrated and brand-consistent presence that interacts seamlessly between platforms.   The not only means a functional mobile site, it also means you should be exploring app options as well as cleaning up the content you provide to your retail and distribution partners.

Voice-enabled purchases are going to explode

We called it last year. Digital assistants were just starting to trend at the beginning of 2017, but already approximately 40% of millennials have used a voice assistant to make a purchase. To capitalize on this growing trend, start by optimizing your Google My Business listings and all of your core product data.  It's amazing how many brands still miss the basics when it comes to online search.  Check your online presence.  For example, if you make scissors, your product title should have that word in it!  20-40% of brands don't have the generic product name in the title!  

Why?  Blame the old catalog team.  It didn't make sense to add 'scissors' to a product title in a catalog; the user saw the picture and knew it was a scissor catalog.  A voice search online?   No descriptor = no traffic.

Video, video and more video

We talked about this last year as well. As shopping moves online, video is the closest you can get to a face-to-face conversation with your customers. That may be why video marketing can boost click-through rates by as much as 300% and purchase intent by 97%. So, start creating videos—and remember that live videos are both more affordable and more effective than pre-recorded ones.

Messenger apps and chatbots

Today you need to provide an instant connection with customers 24/7. Enter the chatbot.  Chatbots are software programs that interact with customers and simulate human conversation using AI. You can use chatbots to walk customers through a purchase, push out personalized content, suggest alternate/complimentary items, and offer special deals. In short, chatbots allow you to deliver controlled, high-quality customer service at a much lower cost.

Augmented reality

Virtual reality is sooooo 2017. Today, Augmented Reality (AR) is all the rage. In 2018 most social channels are expected to provide ways to integrate AR, following in the footsteps of IKEA, whose “Place” app enables customers to project IKEA products into their own homes.

While we realize many brands are still struggling with the basics, like fulfillment, Amazon, and channel conflict so these may seem like lower priority tasks.  However, this is a good opportunity to get ahead for once; Adopting these trends in 2018 will help you succeed digitally.   Want help?  Contact Yeoman today!

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