More than 96% of digitally connected Americans have made an online purchase during their lifetime; 80% have done so in just the past month. These numbers offer big opportunities for businesses that are looking to launch online stores or expand their physical presence into a virtual marketplace.
As consumers increasingly turn to e-commerce as their preferred shopping platform, they expect the virtual shopping experience to be convenient, safe and personalized. E-commerce merchants can exceed expectations — and elevate their customers’ online shopping experience — by incorporating the latest online shopping trends into their strategic sales strategies.
The Top 8 Online Shopping Trends for 2018
Scaling an online business is challenging for even the most seasoned experts; success requires smart and strategic growth efforts. Try implementing these eight trends to drive brand engagement and capitalize on consumers’ desires for a unique online shopping experience.
1. Increasing Delivery Options
If expedited shipping weren’t enough, some retailers are stepping up their delivery game by offering “click and collect” options that offers customers same-day pickup after placing their online orders. Amazon is even researching the “Prime Air” delivery option, which would deliver purchases by drone within 30 minutes of order placement.
2. Expanding Payment Options
As mobile transactions increase, the number of alternative payment options (like PayPal, Apple Pay and Android Pay) has also increased. Store-specific payment apps like Starbucks make it even easier for merchants to accept the payment methods their customers prefer.
3. Improving Loyalty Programs
Customers are no longer satisfied with “one size fits all” rewards for being a loyal customer. They expect merchants to deliver customized rewards based on what they buy. Consider delivering these rewards via a mobile app to make it easy for the customer to view, save and redeem rewards.
4. Creating Omnichannel Experiences
Whether merchants started with a physical shop or an online-only presence, creating and merging omnichannel systems allows them to serve their customers however they prefer to shop. E-commerce retailers might look at pop-up shops to evaluate their brand’s in-person shopping experience; brick-and-mortar retailers are testing the digital waters by establishing a presence on digital marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy and eBay.
5. Harnessing the Power of Social Media
Smart merchants are using social media to curate and promote user-generated photos, videos and reviews to entice browsers to make purchases. Other e-commerce retailers use online shopping technology like Soldsie to let customers make purchases simply by commenting “Sold” on a social media post. Strategies like this can build engagement, attract new customers and increase sales.
6. Replenishing Products Automatically
Imagine technology that ensures customers never run out of a product again. New HP printers can monitor ink levels and request new cartridges before the old ones are empty. Amazon lets consumers quickly reorder any number of hundreds of products, simply by pressing an Amazon Dash button. This “just in time” delivery effectively removes the number of consumer steps from the purchase process by having the product itself place replenishment orders.
7. Building a Curated Brand
The prevalence of dropshippers means that online retailers aren’t restricted to carrying a limited number of brands or products. Instead, they can curate a wide-ranging collection that’s consistent with their brand and that appeals to a variety of customer demographics.
8. Using Avatars to Increase Sales
Buying clothing online from an unfamiliar retailer is a challenge. Despite offering clear descriptions and customer reviews, merchants can’t describe how clothing will fit on individual body types — and that results in lost sales. But online merchants who include virtual fitting rooms or avatars can recommend products, suggest sizes and give customers a view of how an item will fit — resulting in increased sales and fewer returns.
Fraud Is Also Transforming. Are You Prepared?
The way retailers do business — and how consumers browse and buy — is continuously changing. So are the ways fraudsters compromise unprotected businesses. That’s why it’s critical for expanding retailers to invest in a comprehensive fraud management solution that protects their revenue across every channel.
But most retailers aren’t. In fact, a study by Forrester Consulting reported that 65% of retailers believe they lack the tools to effectively manage omnichannel fraud. And that makes merchants increasingly vulnerable to fraud.
By consolidating fraud management efforts into a single solution, e-commerce retailers are better positioned to detect and stop fraud — regardless of where it’s happening — and offer customers safe shopping experiences. ClearSale’s comprehensive fraud prevention solution combines the best of our proprietary machine learning technology with our high-tech manual review process. In turn, this reduces the false declines and fraud attacks that cost sales and customer relationships. Download our free white paper, “Is a Fraud Managed Services Solution Right for Your Business,” to learn how our solution positions growing businesses for success in 2018 and beyond.