Hottest Digital Marketing Trends of 2019

In 2018, the E-commerce sector saw a massive increase in mobile sales by up to 55%. Simultaneously, experts have determined that by the year 2022, purchases through a smartphone are set to account for up to $175.4 billion USD in retail sales. The E-commerce sector is facing a rapidly changing environment with shifting consumer tastes and higher expectations for the services provided.

Consumers are hungry for on-demand service that makes online shopping easier and gets them their desired purchases as soon as possible. Many companies understand this and are preparing their workforce to accommodate for these new logistical challenges. But for many smaller companies, it is important to understand what the E-commerce trends are going to be in 2019 so that they can prepare and adapt for the changing ways of doing business.

Micro Markets and Web Payments

With the continual success and popularity of large internet-based companies like Facebook and Google, we are expecting to see further efforts to consolidate business-wide ecosystems through the influence and integration of micro-markets and web payments on their respective platforms.

For instance, even though Amazon dominates in the E-commerce space, Google also has their own online delivery operation going with Google Express, where they have partnered with retailers such as Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, Costco and their own Google Store to provide scheduled delivery services for their users. This service is very similar to Amazon Prime Now or Prime Fresh, making them a direct competitor in this space.

Faster and Leaner E-Commerce operations

When technology advances, so too do the expectations and demands of your customer base. Visiting a website that is not optimized with up-to-date frameworks will usually leave you feeling frustrated with the long loading times, or end up not loading the page at all due to poor latency. Year after year, the patience consumers have for poorly optimized products and websites gets less and less. So we are expecting to see a strong move by small and mid-sized businesses to optimize their websites with faster and leaner E-commerce operations in the future.

Many larger companies in the past and present have been using the more complex Magento framework for their E-commerce operations. However, as leaner and more scalable services like Shopify rise to prominence, we expect to see a big increase in brands moving to these types of platforms. The reasons for doing so include the need for greater control and efficiency in management of the back-and-front end of websites.

This also allows brands to more easily scale without the need for reliance on highly skilled developers to do so. Shopify’s rise in popularity is also attributable to the ease of use in process and task automation through the Shopify Flow E-commerce plugin. In 2019, being lean and efficiently operating in the E-commerce space could be the make or break moment for many brands.

Facebook also has a service that is known as Marketplace, which is a diversified interests and trading platform similar to Craigslist. The social media giant has been working on integrating a money and payments service similar to Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, Android Pay or Google Pay. These moves are aimed at consolidating their user base and keeping them on their platforms as much as possible. So expect to see a strong move towards further integration of platform-based services this next year.

Continued Personalization

Efforts to further personalize the shopping and website experience for consumers are expected to see significant growth over this next year. This means that we will likely see an increase in companies utilizing customer data to better cater to their needs. By utilizing this data from customers, businesses can personalize and design an experience that will help meet the increasing expectations that customers have for faster, more personal and more efficient service.

We have already been seeing this trend come to fruition as recommendation systems have been used for years to suggest other items based on past purchases for consumers purchase on e-commerce storefronts such as Amazon. Other efforts to further personalization can be seen in the increasing popularity of personalized products and clothing, often backed up by mobile applications that will help you figure out your clothing size and other information. Expect to see more and more efforts at personalizing the shopping experience in 2019.  

Voice Search

The rise of voice search and AI for search queries is a major aspect of the 2019 E-commerce trends. In 2018, nearly 20%, or ⅕ of all search queries were performed through voice assistants.  Experts predict that by 2020, 50% of all search queries will be performed through a voice assistant. There is no denying the rising power and convenience of voice recognition technology.

One of the newer trends in voice allows people to order and reorder items from online services like Prime Now. Voice assistants like Google Home and Alexa are set to see a big increase in the amount of purchases made through both platforms. This means that Investing in the development of Alexa skills for your brand or other forms of voice applications is a good move for businesses to consider. Without it, you are missing out on a huge piece of the market share.

Augmented Reality

Voice is not the only trend that will be rising to prominence in the next few years. Augmented Reality (AR) is a growing technology focus that will play a larger part with home decoration and clothing outfitters this next year. With major online services such as Shopify AR utilizing the power of what is known as the 3D Warehouse, consumers are going to have a much easier time trying out different products either on their person with clothing or in their room before making a purchase.

Many E-commerce stores have even begun implementing AR into their online and mobile storefronts, which has led to a richer and more satisfying shopping experience. Though we are seeing a decline in brick-and-mortar stores, we are also seeing an increase in online shopping, with AR bridging the gap between digital and in-person fulfillment that physical stores have always provided. The ability to test new items out with your smartphone is a major trend that we expect to see more of in 2019.

Focus on Environmental Impact

Running a lean, green business machine is becoming the new norm in E-commerce operations, as more and more consumers are choosing to shun brands that are not friendly towards the environment in favor of those that are. The need to be environmentally conscious can be viewed as an effort to reduce the wasteful size and impact of a number of problematic business practices.

These include the unnecessary use of large boxes for packaging, or using environmentally harmful and toxic ingredients in beauty and fashion products. We expect to see more brands actively working to reduce the amount of cardboard and plastic packaging that they use in favor of smaller packaging labeled with messages promoting a brand’s devotion to being green and environmentally friendly.

Consumers are becoming more aware of when a brand is being wasteful with their packaging, and they are taking action in choosing to not do business with them. A focus on being green and environmentally friendly will become more common in this new year.

Of course, these are only a few of the trends we can expect to see in the 2019 E-commerce space, but there will certainly be more and newer developments. For instance, their is currently a legislative battle going on by lawmakers in Washington on whether or not goods purchased through online domains should be subject to the payment of sales tax like physical retailers are. If a law is passed making it a necessity to pay sales tax, then we can expect to see the increased costs passed off onto the consumer. This would obviously lead to higher priced items through online shopping.

But it doesn’t stop there. Another trend that we may see is the elimination of retailer friendliness with free returns. Back in 2017, the physical and online retail spaces had to pay out a grand total of $400 billion in refunds due to customer’s returning items. This is the equivalent of 1 month’s worth of US based E-commerce sales. Generous return policies are clearly hurting the bottom lines of many brands, and the problem has gotten so bad that in 2018 Amazon even announced that there may be lifetime bans for some serial returners.

In 2019, expect to see many positive developments in the online shopping sector, with a few negative developments that could end up making products harder to return for free and more expensive due to taxation.

Piece Contributed By Brian Glassanos