Autumn has descended upon North America in very chilly weather patterns across many regions this week, but things are starting to heat up in the eCommerce world. Cyber Week is quickly approaching, and while 2 months feels like enough time to prep, eCommerce veterans know that the days will slip by quicker and quicker as Thanksgiving approaches.
Thinkwrap, Tenzing, and Spark::red are working tirelessly to ensure our clients reach new heights this holiday season. If you’re interested in our Holiday Prep services, you can check out the list of services here. This is our first Cyber Week as a merged organization, so make sure to take advantage of this expanded catalogue of services.
With that in mind, we’d like to continue our tradition of keeping you informed on the ins and outs of each year’s eCommerce trends so you can try new things, stay on trend, and have your most successful Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Cyber Week, ever.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO has been important for many years as search engines are a primary tool for customers looking to purchase items online. As much as 71% of buyers start their journey with an unbranded, generic search. This means your ranking in organic searches when customers are searching to buy a product online is important - of course, we know that. But did you know it was also important for your brick and mortar stores? The number of searches including the keywords “near me” have increased by 600% since 2015, meaning you also need to be catering to those shoppers who want to know that there is a physical location nearby where they can buy their desired item now, and bring it home with them. Master this and you’ll see your online and offline sales grow.
Mobile has become table stakes for companies to succeed in capturing the attention of the modern day shopper. Last year’s mobile sales broke all its previous records, exceeding $2 billion. Not only is it important to have an eCommerce website designed with mobile UX in mind (and you can contact us if that’s something you’re interested in), but some companies also create their own apps. That’s an option if you want to offer special experiences that a mobile site can’t, such as HTML3 capabilities, but it’s not necessary to increase sales. In fact, 63% of those surveyed said they’d delete a brand’s app after making a purchase. The most important thing to note is that for the mobile experience, according to Google, a poorly designed mobile site will encourage up to 73% of consumers to switch to an alternative with an easier purchasing experience. Push mobile-first design on your eCommerce experience and prevent this loss with style.
Shopping with Voice
32% of Americans now have a smart speaker in their home. Of those, 1 in 9 make voice shopping a monthly habit. 1 in 5 have at least tried voice shopping. It’s not as impactful yet as mobile commerce - but we’re watching it. Voice search is hugely impactful for digital commerce, and we see the same trends happening with voice shopping. For those organizations looking to beat the competition with early adoption of new technologies, this would be an area to focus on. We’ll be looking out for the results of this voice shopping in this year’s Cyber Week sales.
Personalization with AI
Personalization is a key tool in an eCommerce business’ repertoire for attracting and engaging customers and closing sales. From B2C to B2B, customers want to feel special when visiting your site and are more likely to buy from you if their experience is personalized. In 2018 however, personalization is going beyond simply using the customer’s name on their shopping cart. Some companies have been recommending products based on the item you’re looking at. For instance, a company might recommend similar styles or a complimentary handbag on the item page for a particular pair of shoes. With AI, however, you can recommend products not just based on the average user’s experience (many people looking for shoes might be tempted to buy a matching handbag), but on the individual’s experience. The system knows every item they have been looking at and based on patterns developed from thousands of customers, can tailor a recommendation list for the individual customer. We predict for Cyber Week 2018 many brands will use this type of recommendation engine to ensure customers are shown the products and sales that will most likely lead to purchasing.
AR for the next generation of brick-and-mortar and at-home shopping
Think “Pokemon Go, but for fashion”. AR is the next frontier in Commerce, providing consumers with the opportunity to interact with products in a modern, digital format. The two major industries playing with AR are furniture and fashion - and they’re playing in different ways. For furniture outlets, AR provides customers with the ability to see if a certain piece will fit with their current home decor by viewing it on their smartphone, using the camera to scan the room. For fashion brands, AR offers the opportunity to view different outfits on mannequins rapidly, or to reduce the amount of storage space needed in a store by only “stocking” the item virtually. This is a very modern area of commerce - but we’re looking towards this year’s holiday shopping season for more innovation in this area.
While we continue to see similar trends that drove the highest eCommerce sales ever in 2017, this year’s Cyber Week will be a fascinating intro to the technologies that will shape our buying experiences in the future.
Want to set up a meeting and talk about your eCommerce strategy for Cyber Week, or any time of the year?
Aisling is our Demand Marketing Specialist, and loves working with both technology and humans. She studied International Business (concentrating in Marketing) and has spent several years living and working in China, mostly in Shanghai, where she became passionate about global innovation and how the use of social media changes in different cultures. Aisling likes to keep up on internet trends - from business to memes - and is always looking for new ways to learn or entertain herself.