While 2018 is coming to a close, there are a lot of e-commerce trends that have gained traction over this year that will only continue to grow going into 2019. I’d like to take a moment to highlight a few of these trends so that our readers can have them top of mind when things pick back up in January. Not only are they downright interesting, they also mesh well with the previous insights I had about retail technology a few weeks ago. More information leads to smarter investments, the ones we like to help our clients make at Luminos Labs.
AR development in 2019
In 2018, the use of augmented reality in retail became more popular than ever before. As technology has advanced, more companies are able to use AR to provide a clear expression of how their customers will experience their product post-purchase.
In a festive light, Target had a pretty creative go at this. Using AR, Target was able to give customers the ability to view Christmas trees in their own homes before buying. Offering a “see it in your space” feature, customers can shop through the various trees and see exactly how they’ll fit in their spaces at home. Not only has this drastically increased Target’s Christmas tree sales, but it has also risen the bar for how these sorts of AR features should perform in the year to come.
In fact, many other companies have been following suit, and some even aim to offer full-service VR shopping rooms, so that customers will be able to assess the size and look of products they intend to buy. Personally, I’m most excited to see how this technology will grow in 2019.
Further growth of social media in sales
This one may not surprise you, but I thought it was worth mentioning. The incorporation of social media into online sales strategies is still growing.
Just recently, it was reported that almost 70% of marketers use Instagram to market their products. While social media platforms still have strong influence in general, Instagram seems to take the lead as far as non-professional platforms go. For example, as opposed to LinkedIn – a platform created for business and professional development particularly – Instagram offers a more B2C connection in that companies can engage directly with their customers via pictures, videos, and promotional posts.
Most attractively, businesses of any size can leverage Instagram effectively, with no need to spend on advertising. However, despite this fact, there are still a lot of companies that take advantage of these platforms’ ad space. To get a picture of how all social media platforms are doing in terms of gaining ad revenue, here’s a list of some of the most popular platforms:
- Instagram. Expected to double its current ad revenues, eventually reaching over $6 billion.
- Snapchat. Expected to generate over $650 million in ad revenues.
- Facebook. Generated over $14 billion in ad revenue in the US specifically.
- LinkedIn. Expected to have achieved $2 billion – nearly half of Microsoft’s amount – in ad revenue by the end of the year.
So, if you’re still hesitant about investing in social media for your e-commerce pursuits, think again. Social media is thriving in the retail space, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Humans vs. bots, the ongoing battle
Contrary to my most recent post on retail technology, a recent article cites that over 70% of customers still prefer human customer service rather than talking to bots. Particularly, one of the most frustrating things for customers is the general communication with these bots.
Despite bots being able to answer calls and help, they’re too slow and are easily confused. However, while 28% of customers prefer to call a person directly for help, there still lies a big problem. Human customer service networks are slow too! And they often have to make a few transfers to get you to the right department too.
While this is the general feeling going into 2019, it may change as AI customer service gets more advanced. Simply put, as bots become more skilled at solving our specific issues, people will become more open to their assistance. This is why this technology has a relatively low priority for investment right now. However, companies are still working diligently to improve the capabilities of bot assistance. At this rate, it’s no longer a matter of “if” – it’s a matter of “when”.
Stay on top of these trends with Luminos Labs
Luminos Labs has helped a number of retailers transform their shopping experiences online. For this reason, we’re always staying on top of the latest retail technology trends and news to make our clients stay as competitive as possible.
Is your business gearing up for a big shift in e-commerce strategy? Looking to move from an on-premise e-commerce solution to a flexible and powerful platform? Luminos is here to help. Our team of experts works 24/7 to provide you with the smoothest implementation and most reliable maintenance when it comes to your e-commerce platform and experience.
We’re always interested in doing the best for our clients, and we’ve helped many achieve increases in AOV, some by as much as 22%! If you’re looking for help with e-commerce implementation, Azure cloud services, or general digital strategy, please don’t hesitate to reach out.