The world of e-commerce is both lucrative and perilous for brands. Algorithms—both in search engines and on retailer’s websites—can change overnight. A single bad review in the wrong place at the wrong time can ripple across the web. And new contenders can emerge seemingly out of nowhere.
Brands that want to remain competitive in the world of e-commerce need to stay ahead of changes and pay attention to trends. And as new tech offers consumers better ways to shop, you need to capitalize on it.
Here are four shopping trends to watch in 2019.
1. Buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) is becoming more popular
Also known as “click and collect,” BOPIS has been growing in popularity. According to Business Insider, 68 percent of US consumers have used a BOPIS option multiple times—and 50 percent of shoppers reported that they decided where to buy a product online based on which stores allowed them to pick it up in store.
For brands, this increases the pressure to not only highlight online retailers on your own website, but to let consumers see which of those retailers have stores nearby. You need a where to buy tool that incorporates location data from your website visitors and gives them the ability to search for local stores based on their zip code, city, etc.
Brands that don’t acknowledge the influence of BOPIS are going to find that more consumers will choose their competitors—not because they prefer the brand or they discover a superior product, but because they would rather click and collect than wait several days for shipping.
2. Consumers preview products with augmented reality
Sometimes it’s hard to picture what 4’ x 3’ x 6’ looks like, or how colors go together. Instead of breaking out the measuring tape and imagining how a product will look in your living room, or holding a picture of it next to the colors you need it to match, augmented reality (AR) lets consumers see how products will actually look when they arrive.
Years ago, AR was experimental. Now, for many product categories, it’s simply part of the shopping experience. Consumers want to trust that they’re making the right choice, so they don’t have to deal with returning an item because it didn’t fit well or didn’t match their decor. It’s so much more helpful when they can hold their phone or tablet up and see a 3D rendering of their environment with the chair or shelf they’re thinking of purchasing.
Many of your retail partners likely support AR functionality on their product pages or in their shopping apps. Adding enhanced features like this to your product pages used to give you an edge over competitors by providing a better shopping experience—but in the near future, brands will need functionality like AR just to keep up and meet consumer expectations.
3. More social media platforms are facilitating shopping
Billions of people around the world use apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to interact with friends and family and explore content.
For years, brands have been finding ways to leverage these social platforms to drive consumers to their websites. Now, more and more social media platforms are bypassing that process and facilitating the shopping experience directly in their apps and on their sites. Once consumers connect a credit card to the app—or third party accounts like PayPal and VenMo—the social app becomes one of the fastest paths from interest to purchase, because people can buy products with a tap.
This will have huge ramifications for advertising, where brands will no longer pay to drive consumers to their websites, but to keep consumers in the app, where they can effortlessly buy your products. As social platforms continue to optimize how they facilitate shopping, you can expect that they’ll develop this into the most effective purchase path—making it the one you prefer to advertise.
Influencers may also be more motivated to promote products, because they don’t have to ask their audience to leave the platform. Shopping directly in the app is less disruptive, and it makes it easy for their audience to get back to their content.
Every platform has a different process for getting your store and products approved. If you’re proactive about getting your products available on social media, you’ll gain an edge over your competitors. Even if you never build a massive following on that platform, it will be invaluable for advertising your brand.
4. New product categories are seeing online sales
Even as online shopping continued to grow each year, there used to be some product categories you could assume people would never buy online. Surely people wouldn’t buy groceries online, because they couldn’t inspect their food, and some items need to be refrigerated or frozen. And why would people order live plants or animals online and risk them dying during transport? And before mattress-in-a-box companies took off, people never would’ve imagined ordering a mattress online.
The reality is that there are solutions for consumers to buy nearly everything online (BOPIS being a big one). And increasingly, the convenience of buying online outweighs other deciding factors. Brands that don’t find solutions to shipping their product categories are going to lose sales to brands that do.
Provide a modern online shopping experience
At PriceSpider, our world-class conversion optimization platform gives you the tools to streamline the path to purchase. Show your website visitors every place they can buy your product, which stores have it in stock, what your ratings and reviews are at each retailer, and which local stores let them get your product right now.
With a combination of the functionality your customers want and the data you need to evaluate marketing campaigns and enforce your brand, PriceSpider helps you stay ahead of the trends in online shopping and reduce the frequency of e-commerce mistakes.
Contact us to schedule a demo today, and see what PriceSpider can do for you.