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2018 Ecommerce New Year’s Resolutions for Success

What have your New Year’s resolutions been in the past? To ditch carbs? Exercise every day? To be teetotal for a month?

All good aims for sure. But 80% of these pledges for personal improvement are largely ditched by February. In business though, it’s essential to have goals, and the new year brings the perfect opportunity to reflect and assess what these should be. To make resolutions stick, and to join the elite 8% who actually achieve them, Psychologist Dr Paul Marciano, says they need to:

Have clearly defined goals, and be less about arbitrary visions
Be easily trackable, so you can take stock of where you are in terms of achieving them along the way
Be void of an “all or nothing” approach. So that if you fail to meet a goal or target, you don’t just give up
Be scheduled formally, added into your calendar and planning, so that they’re a priority rather than something you’ll try and find time for

2017 has been a great year for eCommerce, for those of us in the Magento landscape, so many of the additions to the platform have already had a great impact for our clients, B2C and B2B included. And as 2018 approaches, the innovative advancements in the industry – and the opportunities inherent within them – are proceeding to greater levels, bringing potentially huge gains for the early adopters, but big risks for those less eager to adapt.

# 1 Get (even more) personal

More refined personalisation and a better customer experience will be the holy grail for eCommerce businesses in 2018. In fact, early on in 2017 33% of retailers said that personalisation is a priority for them. Customers expect you to know them, in 2017 they’ve become used to this, and we’re now at a point where retailers who fail to show they do so stick out as old hat!

Micro-moments are going to become a more important part of personalisation in 2018. When customers research around a product or look for instructions, there are certain touch points they lean on, these are called “micro-moments”. Devised by Think with Google, micro-moments are set to be amongst the hottest trends for 2018.

In order to fulfil customer needs, retailers will have to learn to reflexively take relevant actions based on their customers micro-moments. They’ll help them to accurately anticipate customers’ actions and tendencies, and meet them where they go to next.
Emails will need to be even more personalised in order to convert. Setting up automated behavioral trigger emails will become widespread, even for smaller retailers – these are emails that remind your customers, for example, that they haven’t been active in a number of days, or that they were viewing a certain product and didn’t add into their shopping cart. Triggered emails have a 152 percent higher open rate when compared to traditional, generic emails.

# 2 Be a Packaging Perfectionist and deliver today

Whilst shopping online offers convenience impossible to replicate with high street stores, what it sometimes lacks is the personal and tangible aspects. We wrote a blog for Shipper HQ, on the difference premium packaging can make to a customer’s experience. At it’s best, packaging is a marketing channel in itself, propelling your brand’s loyalty and turning your customers into advocates, that’ll go online, share pictures of your beautifully wrapped present, as soon as they have their delivery.

Once packaged, delivery is the vital next step on your product’s journey to the anticipating customer. More and more, consumers are increasingly becoming impatient. The time it takes to receive a product once the transaction has been completed is critical in terms of customer satisfaction, and therefore the likelihood of them buying from you again. According to a Forrester report, nearly 30% of consumers would pay an additional fee for a same-day delivery option option.
2018 will likely see the addition of these options from an increasing number of retailers, especially with the emergence of more localised delivery centres that will reduce waiting periods. Merchants that demonstrate this kind of flexibility will likely see improved brand loyalty and customer retention.

# 3 Change your social media plan

If you’re still sticking to your same social media plans and priorities as you were a couple of years ago, you really need to step this up, and the language you’re using should be one of your first priorities. A recent report disclosed that businesses doing social best for brand awareness are using human language. Copy that reached out to people’s emotional side, and avoided particularly functional words and phrases, tended to perform better on brand metrics, such as aided brand awareness, ad awareness, and product awareness.

You’ll need also to rethink what you think you know about social when it comes to age demographics. 72% of 50-64 year olds are now using Facebook, for instance – so if you still think social media belongs to your millennial audience, in 2018 you’ll need to make definite steps away from this, and show that you’re doing so, by providing content right for all your customers.

#4 Keep moving with mobile

It may sound like old news to have a resolution on mobile growth, but it shows no sign of slowing. Back in 2014, mobile eCommerce made up 11.6% of the US total eCommerce sales. By 2020, this is expected to progressively climb to 45%. Google is now indexing mobile-friendly sites and pages first, and mobile traffic has overtaken desktop – so even when your customers don’t buy from you on their mobile devices, chances are research on them formed a part of their journey.

According to GlobalData, Smartphone sales are expected to account for 51.5% of the total mobile and tablet market in 2018, and so having a streamlined, user-friendly mobile site that drives conversions has never been more important. Remember,
innovation is what marks the difference between market leaders and everyone else in this industry.

Due partly to our Imagine Award wins in Mobile Experience, we’ve become known for our expertise in transforming business results through mobile experiences, and we continually advise our clients on the best strategies for mobile, based on current trends, and trend forecasting too. Some considerations for 2018 include:

To App or not? Making the choice between a responsive app or a mobile site will be one faced by many companies. It’s not an either/or decision for sure
Improve search. Afterall it’s the discovery tool for your customers – if it’s hidden or complex, users will get frustrated and hop over to your competitors. Make it prominent, bold, and setup defaults based on analytics that are right for each customer
Make checkout easy. Guest Checkouts for newcomers, Touch ID for account holders will both become absolutely expected in 2018

#5 Prepare for voice search

The progress made in the last 2 years with digital voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Now is empowering a new shift in eCommerce. It’s only a matter of time that almost everyone will discover the convenience, speed and ease of voice commerce, and many will come to totally rely on it for online shopping. A survey this year found that 1 in 5 Americans had made a purchase on Amazon Echo or another voice assistant.
Despite the fact that voice search now accounts for around a fifth of all mobile searches, two-thirds of marketers are failing to plan for its implementation. In a survey by Brightedge of 252 digital marketers, 31% said they think voice search will be the next important trend, however, two thirds have no plans to start properly preparing for it. Similarly, 32% cited AI as a burgeoning trend, yet 57% were ‘not likely’ to implement anything related to it. Brands run the risk of failing to meet customer expectations without it.

To sum up

At JH, we couldn’t be more excited to be in this industry right now. We’ve always felt that innovative new technologies are an opportunity rather than a threat, and we’re looking forward to helping our clients determine, refine and then smash their goals once more in 2018. If you’re looking for an agency who’ll help with strategy and planning for meeting the trends and challenges of 2018, just give us a call.