With virtual trolleys being filled with groceries, and voice shopping growing in popularity, now is the perfect time to take a close look at the e-commerce crystal ball and discover the technology-driven trends that will drive online shopping in 2019. But before exploring the trends online, note an interesting change in the opposite direction. According to Alice Fournier, vice president of eCommerce and Digital Insights at Kantar Consulting, the coming year will see further integration between physical retail and e-commerce. We will see a lot of digital brands digitally either building a strong retail presence or opening ephemeral showrooms in big cities. Increasingly, companies will seek out connections between online and offline, with brands using retail for more engagement. In addition, to compete in the e-commerce-dominated landscape, retailers are striving to integrate. Big names like Ikea and Nordstrom launch micro-concept stores, while others like Target, Sephora and even Taco Bell set to follow. Fournier cited a recent collaboration between Facebook and Macy’s to bring small brands born online in retail.
Top Trends to watch out for in 2019:
Supermarket E-commerce Boom
The most exciting development of e-commerce in 2019 is likely to come from the collapse of the big-box retail trade. It will be fascinating to see who will do most of the holiday business this year and beyond, added Fournier. Some companies belonging to this category will definitely generate additional sales online. Toys “R” Us is certainly not the only retailer to face challenges. Best Buy closes more stores; Sam’s Club shut down stores earlier this year without warning; Bon-Ton Stores Inc. sold all of its stores this year; Gymboree announced in 2017 its intention to close 350 stores, and Gap / Banana Republic will close 200 stores in the next few years. With these big names in financial difficulty, we can expect this trend to continue.
Social Media Based Purchases
According to 2017 statistics, there are 209 million social network users in the US. Despite these numbers, many social media users still do not support the buy button in their social feeds.
But that could be about to change in 2019, said Meaghan Werle, the Chief e-commerce Analyst at Kantar. Many platforms such as Snapchat and Pinterest having been rolling out retail experiences over the past year, with Facebook and Instagram ads connecting you directly to consumer or retail sites. But the catalyst for shopping via social networks will be the ability to load your credit card information into your Instagram or Snapchat account. It’s all about ways to make the payment experience even easier, added to Werle, who also noted that 2019 would continue to see challenger brands developing on social platforms. According to Werle, the main hurdle is that many people do not associate social media with shopping.
The Dawn of Voice Assisted Shopping
Millennials and Generation Z members are often in the spotlight for online shopping, but older people are a neglected demographic. Although they are not usually early adopters, seniors are coming to understand new technologies. Older customers are more interested in their voice devices for entertainment and music, but it could become a trend for shopping. The voice is a much easier way for them to engage with online technologies. And regardless of demographic change, the key innovation for voice devices in 2019 will be the technology’s ability to interact with smart speaker screens. Research predicts that visuals from products such as Amazon Echo Show and Google Home Hub will help overcome obstacles to online shopping with voice assistants and eliminate the current uncertainty of using voice for ordering products without being able to display products on the screen.