Ten trends that will disrupt the e-commerce industry in 2018

Today, about 56% of in-store purchases are influenced by e-commerce strategies. In the United States (US), e-commerce accounts for 10% of retail sales, and this figure is soaring by approximately 15% per annum. As a result, digital commerce can no longer be considered as a simple purchase on a website; instead, it has morphed into a series of interactions largely based on customer satisfaction and stores cannot survive anymore without marking their presence of multiple channels.


Ten e-commerce trends to follow in 2018

To stay ahead of the curve and in line with the demands of the market, companies, and brands need to consider the trends pervading the industry. Following are ten crucial developments expected to disrupt the e-commerce industry.

Revamping brick and mortar experiences

Despite the upsurge of e-commerce, physical and in-store interactions have not lost their importance. On the contrary, they are more important than ever as consumers seek seamless online and offline purchasing experience.  Online merchants will have to expand their footprint physically to offer the versatility of online shopping and the convenience of in-store shopping boosted by fresh digital infrastructure.

B2B buyers are becoming increasingly demanding

If some years ago B2B buyers and B2C buyers were two distinct groups, the demarcation line is becoming increasingly blurry today in the sense that B2B buyers are becoming as demanding as B2C buyers. They expect B2C-like frictionless functionalities and services. This shift is expected to impact on the whole B2B e-commerce sector evaluated at $ 1 trillion.

Augmented Reality will be an integral feature of the shopping experience

Incorporating Augmented Reality (AR) into their marketing strategies will become a crucial element for brands to distinguish themselves in the competitive landscape. They will compete to roll out innovative features to help consumers visualize items such as furniture in their home or office before ordering. AR should also curb returns- an e-commerce issue evaluated at $260 billion.

Tracking in-store ROI of digital ads will become possible

Measuring the ROI of digital ads has always proven to be ambiguous. However, this fact is about to witness a change as 82% of mobile users look for local businesses and 18% of these local searches end up in a sale within 24 hours. By blending mobile-friendly services, social media, personalization, geolocation, and analytics tools, real-time inventory becomes fully possible. Merchants will be able to know which ads and site visits led to in-store visits and sales.

Mobile checkout will become an indispensable feature in retail

Often seen as one of the biggest challenges in e-commerce, mobile e-commerce is poised to become a great asset. It will prove advantageous for both merchants and consumers who can buy products or services on-the-go and actually check out in the same manner in sheer convenience.

Artificial Intelligence will enhance the customer experience

This year, customer experience will be dramatically enhanced thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Experience will be intensely personalized with clear targets such as Millennials and baby boomers.

Amazon will stay on the throne

Amazon, the leading marketplace, will continue its relentless growth. Alibaba will follow closely and almost every e-commerce business will have to think of using these two marketplaces as part of their plan.

Voice interaction will become a key feature

It is expected that this year, consumers will use voice features with their devices and conversational AI. As such, merchants and brands will have to consider this in their strategy.

Image search will have the upper hand

An increasing number of consumers will try using image-based search instead of usual word typing. It is expected that by 2020, image and a voice-activated search will represent 50% of all searches.

Browsers will evolve

Amidst an Internet of Things landscape, browsers will have to be adapted to cater for multiple channels to allow seamless interactions.

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