Top 5 Changing Trends in eCommerce Marketing
Change is the only thing that is constant in today’s digital world. When change happens, it can be disruptive, and there is no industry that is immune. The digital landscape is ever-evolving and the rules are being redefined by technology. If we were to go back even a decade ago, we’d find a few people shopping online. Now, with the rapid spread of technology, online shopping is becoming the norm.
Marketers need to stay ahead of the curve by keeping an eye on eCommerce marketing trends. And why wouldn’t they? The future for eCommerce is brighter than ever. In 2018, we saw eCommerce sales reach $2.84 trillion globally– by 2021, they will reach $4.88 trillion.
With that said, here are five trends to look out for in 2019 and beyond.
1. eCommerce vs. Retail: Two Worlds Combine
For far too long, it seemed that online and retail shops were in direct competition. Considering the recent store closures, analysts predicted that retail would give way to eCommerce. In fact, retail closures in 2019 will reach 4,810 in the US.
This doesn’t mean that retail is going away anytime soon. eCommerce sales still only make up one-tenth of total retail sales. And even though we are seeing positive growth in eCommerce, it is growing at a declining rate. As a result, retail sales still continue to dwarf eCommerce sales by a significant margin.
Now this does not spell bad news for eCommerce brands. They can still use retail stores to drive sales. Pop-up shops and adding products in physical locations can create demand for products both online and offline.
This combination of retail and eCommerce is the next big trend. You’ll continue to see more brand like Allbirds opening physical stores in new cities. While also taking advantage of increased traffic on their site in those regions.
2. Brand Building is the Future of eCommerce
With rising competition for eCommerce brands, achieving growth can be difficult. Facebook ad costs continue to rise, while it’s difficult to keep up with the latest Facebook ads strategies. The key lies in brands setting themselves apart by power of recognition. Focusing on building brand equity is the way to achieve this.
Brand equity refers to the value that is inherent in a brand’s name. If a brand is well-known, customers will gravitate towards it. This results in more revenue from both new and existing customers.
There are many ways to build brand equity in eCommerce, such as customer loyalty programs. Yet, if they decide to build brand equity, the following components must exist:
Brand awareness is about letting people know that a brand exists. This increases the chance of people will buy from you. Brand awareness involves using top-of-funnel channels like SEO and social media marketing. Resulting in bringing potential customers to your digital storefront.
Aldo Shoes uses social media digital marketing by sharing engaging photos. This content appears in your feed and generates brand awareness.
Loyal customers are valuable when it comes to brand equity. This is because they spread positive word of mouth that can lead others to also make purchases.
Sephora’s rewards program keeps customers coming back for more.
Brand compliance is about making sure that the customer experience remains consistent. They should aim to meet (and exceed) customer expectations. This will develop stronger relationships with customers and increase brand loyalty.
Rothy’s offers free shipping. This enhances the customer experience and increase brand loyalty.
3. Content Becomes King
Did you know that 94% of internet users ignore paid Google ads? The days when all brands needed were paid advertising are long gone. The best way to get traffic is through organic reach, and that is best achieved with a content strategy.
There are various types of content that one can use. These include:
- Blogs: Blogs are a great way to use content (and keywords) to target a brand’s customer audience. With a blog, you offer value for free before selling to customers. Brands establish themselves as thought-leaders and build trust with their target audience.
- Video: It’s important to keep your audience engaged. Video content has more engagement than text or audio. When you consider 4 times the amount of people would prefer a product video to reading a description. Creating video content becomes a no-brainer.
- Infographics: Infographics condense large chunks of information into a single image. This condensed form makes them more engaging and digestible.
- Podcasts: Podcasts have risen in demand lately. These are audio files uploaded onto the internet. Users can download and listen to podcasts on their own time. They are usually part of a series that provides relevant information to listeners.
- Case studies: Case studies can be in-depth research into different use cases of a brand’s products. They establish credibility and provide valuable information about your product.
Net-a-Porter has an effective content strategy. The brand showcases and editorial-style homepage filled with engaging blog posts.
The key thing to keep in mind here is that content is not meant to replace paid advertising. Rather, it is there to supplement it. Content marketing is a long-term solution, that requires time and dedication.While paid advertising can help you get fast and reliable sales.
This means that, while a brand waits to reap the long-term benefits of its content strategy, such as improved search engine rankings, brand awareness and industry authority, paid advertising can help speed up the process.
4. Social Media Advertising Evolves
For years, marketers discussed the idea of “going native”. This means selling to users through social media channels rather than traditional websites. Everything seems to show that eCommerce and social media are perfect for each other. Across the board: ad spend, time spent, and daily active users are all up.
Yet, reality seems to paint a different picture. Especially when it comes to factors that significantly impact the decisions of buyers.In fact, social media is 50% less effective than user reviews, as well as being one of the least important factors. Despite some new social purchasing features – one thing has is certain. Many people aren’t buying on social media.
Rumors are circulating that eCommerce platforms are being developed by Facebook and Instagram. Meanwhile, revenue of Amazon’s advertising platform continues to grow 122% each year. Even in Amazon marketplace, ads provide the highest margins compared to products.
You can drive more cost-effective user acquisition by focusing on:
- content generated by users,
- micro-influencers and influencers,
- emotion or entertainment
When it comes to promotions, you can target visitors and existing customers who respond to your engagement campaigns. This includes subscriptions, discount tiers and bundles to grow average order size. Axe Bat achieved this using their Black Friday Facebook strategy. They were able to increase AOV by 18% during Black Friday – despite reducing prices. In the end, this increased ROI on their ad spend by ~400% compared.
Retargeting is another point to consider. It needs to be cross-platform, individualized and sequential. You can create campaigns that target users based on:
- when they last viewed your products,
- abandoned carts, or
- interacted with your brand.
Moreover, it is about incorporating social media onto your site. Take for example brands like Fashion Nova, Lululemon, Gymshark, Kate Spade and MVMT. They have implemented this by integrating social content into product and Instagram feeds.
5. Mobile Shopping Experiences are the Default
Today mobile traffic has surpassed desktop. Now eCommerce faces a major problem: bridging the browser-to-buyer gap. This is not much of a concern in North America since 50% of people complete purchases on smartphones. Yet, mobile purchase rates are 50% lower than desktop conversion rates globally. Global desktop sales still trump mobile sales by more than a trillion dollars.
To close the gap, mobile design needs to take the lead. This includes:
- Providing mobile-friendly payment methods like PayPal, Amazon Pay, etc.
- Allowing people to use social logins for checkout, rather than email addresses
- Embedding tailored content in mobile design. This includes placing “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” buttons in prominent locations. Or replacing grid-based layouts for single columns, and using device-specific videos and visuals.
- Website optimization for mobile – with device-specific tests for onsite funnels, creative and offers.
Rothy’s, a brand that makes women’s shoes from recycled plastics, accomplished these goals when relaunching their mobile site. They achieved this with a progressive web app (PWA). PWA is a mobile site with all the functionality of a standalone store. Their site uses push notifications, offline browsing for slow connections, and caching user data for faster load times.
Brands Must Follow the Latest E-Commerce Trends
When it comes to today’s eCommerce marketing tips, brands need to pay attention to trends.
These includes the merging of retail and eCommerce, building brand equity, incorporating content marketing, the evolution of social media advertising, and improving mobile experiences. By following these trends, brand can gain a competitive edge and continue to grow revenue in the long run.