The digital revolution and the rise of social media has disrupted the marketing landscape and redefined the rules of the game. The ecommerce landscape is also evolving at a very fast pace. A few years ago, online shopping was an exception, but today it has become a norm. Marketers need to be proactive in adapting to the systemic trends constructing the future of ecommerce marketing.
Changing consumer behaviors and evolving marketing trends are forcing ecommerce brands to rediscover the way they sell and communicate with today’s tech-savvy consumers. In today’s article, we will discuss some of the most critical marketing drifts that ecommerce marketers should watch out for in 2018 and beyond.
1. Mobile Marketing
In today’s mobile-first culture, more people are spending time online on their portable devices as opposed to on personal computers. According to a study conducted by Flurry, US consumers spend an average of five hours per day on mobile devices. And smartphones take up about 86% of that time. This means they spend about four hours and 15 minutes on their smartphones every day.
Smartphones haven’t just occupied people’s lives in the US, but they have become the center stage of consumer life around the globe. Look at the image below to learn how much time people spend online on their smartphones, globally.
It means that ecommerce marketers have to ensure their marketing campaigns are optimized for mobile. Why? A mobile responsive design and messaging allows users to scan emails and posts on-the-go. A seamless digital experience was never so important for customers as it is now.
In fact, mobile marketing, and the bigger opportunities that come with it, will guide the future of ecommerce marketing. A mobile-optimized marketing strategy can help you tap new relevant customers, connect with existing ones, and retain loyal customers. For marketers, it means adopting an ever-ready conversational approach to assist your customers to provide product information or recommendations on demand. And this does not just end here.
Future ecommerce marketersare faced with the pressure of exceeding their customers’ expectations and giving them personalized experiences, just like Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” playlist, or Netflix’s “Recommendations.” So brands should optimize their ecommerce websites to deliver customized experiences to make your customers feel appreciated and valued.
2. Voice Search
The smart home assistants like Google Home, Siri, and Alexa are expected to change the future of ecommerceforever. Customers are already slowly retreating from keyword-based search on ecommerce sites and opting for voice search. So it is anticipated that voice search will only get stronger in 2018 and beyond as more customers around the globe buy smart home assistants.
Artificial intelligence, native language understanding, and the Internet of Things will further boost voice-based online transactions. Now this can be both a challenge and an opportunity for future ecommerce businesses. They must meet this challenge and grab this opportunity head-on to serve customer voice commands and increase their online sales.
For example, if you are running an online store, it should be able to comprehend long-tailed voice commands that mention the service or product name.
3. Influencer Platforms
Today, brands use big names in different industries to help promote their products. But getting the attention of these powerful industry influencers can be tough..
What if I tell you that you can get even better results by working with hundreds of micro-influencers than seek big celebrities with a huge fan following?
Don’t believe me? Check out the following stats by a Twitter study that illustrate why brands really need micro-influencers.
49% of people say they rely on influencer recommendations when it comes to making purchase decisions.
40% of people say they’ve bought an item from an online store after seeing an influencer using it on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, or YouTube.
Twitter users have observed a 5.2X increase in purchase intent when they are exposed to promotional content from influencers.
Look at how many people have reacted and liked the below Instagram post by a micro-influencer promoting the brand Loreal.
Generally speaking, micro-influencers are social media users or bloggers with 100k or fewer followers.
Now you must be thinking: How can micro-influencers promote your product better than renowned celebrities? Well, think of it this way. Let’s say you are running an online store that sells tennis equipment. You somehow managed to get Novak Djokovic or Serena Williams to endorse your products.
Most of their followers would take it with a grain of salt.
In contrast, if you choose to employ a few hundred micro-influencers or regular tennis enthusiasts, who can mention your equipment on social media, their followers are more likely to listen.
And no, it won’t take you ages to reach a few hundred micro-influencers. Not if you take advantage of marketing automation. Marketing automation can prove really helpful to find relevant influencers for your ecommerce marketing campaign.
A reliable influencer marketing platform can provide you a large database of influencers that can be filtered by social platforms, location, industry, and many other search categories.
Grin is one such influencer marketing platform that helps you drill deep down into influencers’ reach and engagement rates. This helps you track your campaign performance. So you will know what you are getting for your money.
The best thing about influencer platforms is that they are virtually all-inclusive, with features that assist at every stage of the ecommerce marketing process. Once you are able to find ideal influencers, you can easily manage multiple tasks, monitor influencers, and measure marketing campaigns through these platforms.
So, it’s time that marketers realize the power of social influencers and start building strong relationships with them. Influencer collaborations can go a long way to ensure long-term success to the future ecommerce market.
4. ECommerce Automation
You heard it right. Ecommerce automation is now a reality. Wondering why you never got to hear about it before? Well, if your company had a secret to lower costs, sell more, and save time, would you tell anyone? I am sure you won’t.
Similarly, a decade ago, enterprises like Walmart, Costco, and Amazon had a secret. That was marketing automation. It enabled them to build retail empires. Today, there is an emerging new secret for the future of ecommerceand that’s again automation.
Therefore, it is no surprise that enterprises at the ecommerce forefront are staying quiet about it. Here’s the search data from Google Trends that reflects the true picture.
Shopify Flow, Launchpad, and Shopify Scripts are few of the tools that ecommerce big shots are using to automate their online marketing processes.
With Shopify Flow, you can automate any back-office or customer-facing process one can think of. By specifying actions, triggers, and conditions, an entrepreneur can create his or her own processes. Or they can simply download and install ready-made workflows from the ever-increasing collection. That too without coding.
Launchpad, on the other hand, is a command center for popular commerce events such as flash sales, special celebrations, and product releases. With this amazing tool, you can schedule nearly everything on your to-do list days before the big event to take the heavy-lifting and guesswork out of the equation.
Shopify Scripts empower you to add specialized shipping options, automatic discounts, and relevant payment options to create a tailored checkout experience for each customer.
In brief, together, all these tools save time, lower cost, and allow you to sell more by automating the processes without any hassle.
The end goal for ecommerce retailers in light of the above four marketing trends should be to build enduring consumer relationships. This can be achieved by providing more personalized and improved online shopping experiences. And the future of ecommerce marketing depends on how marketers adapt and evolve with these dynamic marketing forces.
Do you have any other thoughts on what else can impact thefuture of ecommerce? Let us know in the comments section below.
Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.