The Digital Space is in a constant state of flux and my clients often ask me about the latest trends and how their business can benefit for them. Below is a list of the most commonly reported e-commerce trends set to take over 2019. Artificial intelligence, niche marketing, native social selling, influencer authenticity and subscription services seem to be the stand outs that are set to transform the digital space as technology continues to improve and be manipulated in ways not previously thought possible. For companies to stand out they not only need to be aware of and incorporating the trends listed below, they need to ensure consistency in their messages, products, services and imagery in order to stand out in the crowd. Your brand needs to be clear and identifiable to truly take advantage of the features listed below, should you choose to do so.
- Artificial Intelligence
We are already seeing a big shift to video, with top Facebook executives predicting that the site will be 100% video in less than 4 years. Currently they are putting their time and money into developing AI such as chatbots so that their customers can have an in-depth resolution-based conversation without realising they are not speaking to a human being. Voice search is another form of AI currently being fine-tuned as companies hope that AI will be able to personalise interactions with consumers and therefore be able to provide invaluable information relating to customer’s shopping habits and untapped markets. Expect to see big changes in this space in 2019.
- Native Social Selling
When it comes to online shopping, we are currently seeing a big shift from websites to social networks. Why visit a website when you can swipe up to purchase a product on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and even YouTube all while just ‘barely’ lifting a finger.
Social selling really started to get noticed at the very beginning of 2018 and a large number of consumers hopped on the bandwagon. Originally social media selling consisted of spotting a product you liked on Instagram, leaving the app, googling the brand, finding the website, searching for the specific product you spotted in the beginning and then completing the usual online checkout routine. We have since seen huge improvements, now not only can you be taken directly to the company’s website whilst still in the app, you can swipe up on a specific product and be taken directly to checkout, that’s a shift from 6 steps in the purchasing process down to 2-3 max and you should expect that to be reduced to down 1 within the next 6 months to a year.
- Niche Marketing
Niche products are experiencing phenomenal growth with niche marketing on the rise and brands like Supreme are reaping the benefits. Producing limited edition products while intentionally targeting one very specific, often small demographic. Once size fits all are no longer acceptable, people today want to feel special, with a message and a product targeted specifically to them, if no one else understands it, even better! Producing small batches of limited-edition products regularly allows companies to charge more while at the same time rapidly increasing demand for the products.
- Authenticity in Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has been a huge part of e-commerce since around 2012 when brands saw the potential in everyday people on Instagram and YouTube with very large and very dedicated audiences of people, who had the power to produce thousands of dollars in sales for a brand in a matter of minutes. However, with this boom in influencer marketing, consumers have started to become sceptical. Does this person they follow really like the product? Or are they just making money? People became hesitant and as a result slowed down their purchasing. This led to a push for authenticity resulting in many influencers going out of their way to make it clear they only promote products they 100% use and believe in, re-starting sales and further increasing their power and reach.
- Subscription Services
As consumers trust in online transactions has grown so has their love for subscription services. Providing a constant stream of content for a fixed monthly fee that you don’t have to think about, what more could you want? As competition grows so does the quality. Whether its streaming services such as Stan, Netflix, Spotify, Apple Music and Hulu or fitness programs such as Sweat and clothing services like Rent the Runway the field is growing rapidly. No lock in contracts means less commitment is required from consumers and less guilt is experienced when a services stops being used, as you simply unsubscribe. It also means you are holding onto less physical and digital objects as the product or service disappears when your subscription ends, something that is of increasingly high value to people who travel regularly, which in 2019 is a large number of people.
It will be interesting to see these developments unfold in the coming year and the impacts they will have on businesses big and small alike.