We’re already 3 months into 2019 and Spring is starting to be sprung. With this change in season comes time for another observation of this year’s e-commerce trends, this time for the month of March. We’ve got some interesting trendservations to cover this month, namely in the areas of technology, persisting trends, and some useful newer trends. Let’s jump in!
First off we’ll discuss a few technologies that are putting retailers ahead of their competition. In a recent study, 5-10% of retailers actually offer their customers a shared cart across shopping channels. That’s a really small percentage, so you could definitely think about how taking advantage of this would help propel your business ahead. This is especially important because in the same study over 50% of shoppers said they would prefer to shop with retailers who offered this technology.
It makes sense, wouldn’t you want your cart information to be carried over to different channels you may be buying from? Offering this technology would also remind shoppers of products they previously left in the shopping cart, reminding them to buy. Of course, this would help with the common retailer horror of shopping cart abandonment as well. It’s all a matter of personalization and making sure that you carry over a shopper’s interests across all platforms.
In other technology news, Bold Metrics has just released a Smart Size chart. Using machine learning, this size chart helps shoppers figure out how exactly their clothes will fit before they buy them. Thus, this will reduce online returns and the costs retailers have to incur in order to handle them. This is a fantastic use in AI, as it replicates some previous endeavors to predict how items will fit customers.
In the past, there have been attempts to use technology such as generating 3D models based on the customer’s measurements to predict sizing. However, this ended up being unfeasible due to the incredible efficiency in inventory management it would require. Since its release, this technology has proven to reduce online returns by as much as 50%! As we all know, in business, time is money. So the less time you need to spend accommodating returns, the better.
Persisting trendservation | BOPIS and visual Search
We covered advances in visual search last month’s trendservation but it looks like this trend is only continuing to grow. In particular, Google announced some pretty cool visual search news this week. Using Google’s renowned search engine, you will now have access to fully shoppable ads on Google Images. While they’re only testing out for a limited number of markets such as “home offices” or “art”, it’s still a pretty cool development in visual search. Shoppable ads will appear with a small price tag icon, and viewers can hover over this icon to see the item’s details, like brand and price.
This becomes extra relevant to you as a retailer because Google is also allowing for your specific marketing input. That’s right, marketers and retailers will be able to promote their own products and brands in Google Images. How awesome would it be if you product could be in the top search results for “modern table”? It’s just another way that visual search is reshaping the way consumers buy products online.
In other news, more retailers like Rue21, a teen apparel brand, are launching their own BOPIS systems. I know I sound like a broken record, but that’s just because this is such an important system to have in your retail business! Over 60% of shoppers have used a BOPIS system multiple times. It makes sense, if the customer is willing to pick up their products at their own convenience, then why would they pay the extra cash to have it shipped? This not only saves money for them but also time for you. I’ll preach it once more: give customers the flexibility that they want, and they’ll take care of the rest.
Instagram checkout and destructive bugs
Instagram just released the news that they will be offering in-app checkout for a number of brands, which is huge news. Until recently, brands would often look at the in-app shopping experience in one way. Brands would publish photos of their product and include the link to that product in the post or in their Instagram bio.
While this certainly does the job and dramatically helps a lot of digitally native vertical brands do business, it still takes a few too many steps. Now, with in-app purchases, customers can buy directly within the app, allowing for a more streamlined shopping experience than ever before. If this move produces the expected results, then it won’t be long before other social media platforms start embracing this concept.
This next item isn’t necessarily big news, but something to be wary of for sure. It’s become apparent that while online checkout has been an established concept for years, there are still a lot of retailers that don’t quite have this process airtight. Truly, checkout is just as important, if not more important, than any part of the buying process. What’s the point of streamlining production, marketing, or distribution if your customer isn’t doesn’t buy at the end?
Lately, there has been a rise in cart abandonment due to online checkout systems having significant bugs that pushed them to give up on their purchases completely. In fact, 90% of online shoppers, over 55% have reported bugs in online checkout that caused them to abandon their carts. Really? Please aim to avoid being a part of this trend, as it’s really one of the easier things you can do. If you spend all of this time getting your product to market, then you must invest in finishing the job Don’t disappoint your customers with a wonky and out of date checkout system.
Follow this year’s Trendservation with Luminos Labs
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