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Top Ecommerce Trends For 2019

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Top Ecommerce Trends For 2019

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Catch Up With These Ecommerce Trends
Things change fast on the internet, and ecommerce, in particular, is one of the fastest evolving areas. Each day, it seems, something new pops up. If it’s not a new way to reach shoppers on Instagram or Google Ads, then it’s a platform change at Amazon. 
If you blink, you might well miss it.
This is precisely why we now bring you, in one accessible place, the top ecommerce trends that matter for 2019 and beyond. Take stock of these, and prepare your retail or manufacturing business accordingly.
Consumer Activists 
A rising phenomena that brands in ecommerce need to watch out for is the “consumer activist.” Few retailers are even aware of them, but their importance has become something of a trend recently. 
There are reasons to be somewhat nervous about consumer activists in 2019 and going on into 2020. Their role and behaviour has been covered in media outlets like Forbes in the past. Among their drives, consumer activists want to interact with brands according to their personal values. 
Consumer activists pose risks for brands, such as when they have boycotted Starbucks or Uber in the past. As an ecommerce brand, you must now pay attention to both business and values such as caring for the environment or other causes.
Pushback Against Serial Returners
The retail world has long been exposed to “serial returners.” For 2019 and 2020, there have already been signs that the blowback against serial returners is gathering steam.
Serial returners are shoppers who routinely buy, typically online, then either use the items or hold onto them before returning them to the retailer. As you can imagine, if a retailer’s customer base starts engaging in this behaviour en masse, it can stress the retailer’s operations.
British fashion retailer Asos has already indicated it plans to block the accounts of serial returners.
Enter The Online Sales Tax
Taxation in ecommerce has always been a contested area. After all, when ecommerce began, regulators were not familiar with the new technology. Regulatory frameworks are now just catching up with the market, and that includes sales tax.
A number of US states, in particular, have moved to enact a previously nonexistent “online sales tax” in 2019. The states of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are among the states enacting the tax since a Supreme Court ruling in 2018.
Retailers will now have to comply with the ruling, which allowed individual US states to collect sales tax from online sales transactions regardless of the retailer’s location.
Ditch Mobile Apps For Progressive Web Apps
Tech businesses on the cutting edge are now de-emphasizing mobile applications for another new technology. This could eventually see retailers following suit.
As reported by VentureBeat, Pinterest is among the tech businesses rolling out “progressive web applications” in areas previously dedicated to mobile apps. 
A progressive web app (PWA) is a web app that can function even when the internet is inaccessible. This helps create a consistent user experience across both mobile and desktop devices. 
Checkout Carts On Social Media Platforms
Another trend that could change the way your buyers shop is the spreading of transactional social media experiences.
In March 2019, TheVerge covered Instagram’s new social media checkout for selected brands. These included Nike, Zara, and others. 
You can expect other platforms like Snapchat and possibly Facebook Messenger to also start allowing buyers to buy right within the platform.
More AI “Workers” In Retail
The use cases for artificial intelligence (AI) in the retail industry are numerous. They include:
  • Chatbots - for customer support
  • Shopping assistants - for intelligent product recommendations
  • Product marketing digital robots - they use analytics to nurture leads until they become buyers
As a result, retailers are adopting AI at breakneck speed. These include Alibaba, which debuted a retail copywriting AI that can write 20,000 lines of copy per second.
In-Store Product Discovery With QR Codes
Physical stores may be losing their lustre but it looks like their role has not been entirely eliminated. Some retailers have turned to using QR codes on their merchandize to accommodate shoppers who like to browse items in store then buy online.
As reported by NaturalInsight, retailers like Zara now tag their clothing with QR codes so that a shopper can quickly look up the item while browsing in a store. Using the QR code, the shopper can then buy online at a convenient time.
Marketplaces Grow In Importance 
While a range of traditional retailers have struggled in the UK, Europe, and North America, marketplaces have proven remarkably resilient.
In fact, marketplaces like Amazon have thrived, thanks to being able to offer the widest selection of products possible in one place. 
In the US alone, Amazon now accounts for 40% of all online retail sales and its share could continue to grow.
Car-Based Ecommerce Shopping
Consumers around the world spend countless hours in their cars, whether commuting for work or recreational purposes. Now, retailers and tech platforms are making strides in integrating the car into the shopping experience.
According to VoiceBot, voice search companies like Amazon and Google are already competing for market share in commute-based search. This will likely play out to include product searches and buying. 
A great amount of contextual data is also available which could aid car-based ecommerce. This data includes GPS systems data and information from other tech that car manufacturers are building into cars.
Product Content Syndication 
As Google discovered so many years ago, in a digital world, information is power. Now, retailers that have moved to digital tools for selling their products are discovering that product information is key for sales.
Shoppers now want easy access to product information across all the channels a retailer’s products may occupy. 
To help make this information consistent and useful, retailers like Walmart are using product content syndication. This is a strategy that distributes product content from a central repository to a variety of channels while maintaining strict consistency.
Bridging The Ecommerce Information Gap
Catching ecommerce trends early can make all the difference between benefitting from it or being wrong-footed. At a time when many retailers are facing intense competitive pressure, operating with an information gap could prove fatal. 
Whether it’s the growing influence of consumer activists or the disruptive appeal of marketplaces, retailers need to be aware of these trends. You can then factor them into your plans for growing your retail business in 2019, 2020, and beyond.
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