Emerging trends in the e-commerce sector expected from 2018

A number of prominent innovations this year are expected to set cruising speed of the e-commerce sector.  These fresh shifts should define the consumer lifecycle and enhance conversion rate and customer engagement. In this light, several industries based on e-commerce should have a bright future in 2018 and beyond. The new trends are also predicted to give a considerable boost to the e-commerce industry, making it surpass $4 trillion in terms of global sales by 2020, according to research by eMarketer.

Upcoming trends that will bring up new opportunities

A number of innovations and trends are expected to define the e-commerce industry as from 2018.

Quick Shipping and Improved Delivery Logistics

Shipping times and delivery logistics are two key differentiators in the e-commerce market. Amazon, an acknowledged leader in the e-commerce market and delivery, has time and again remained on its throne and it is expected to maintain its position in 2018 as well as in the next years. The king of e-commerce is reputed for its unrivaled logistic deliveries; a study reveals that it took only 8 minutes for the delivery of a forehead thermometer and 9 minutes for 5 pints of ice cream. A study on e-commerce revealed that it shipped more than 5 billion product worldwide through Amazon Prime’s free one/ two-day shipping last year. What are the secrets of this giant? Unfortunately, Amazon is also renowned to be very secretive about its strategies and maybe, herein lays its strategy to stand out of the competition.

For 2018, it is expected that Amazon will step up its logistic delivery game. Other major e-commerce players are also predicted to improve their services. It will, however, still be hard to outrun the established giant: presently, over 8,000 Amazon Prime members reside in those regions where the company offers its one-hour delivery service. Amazon is not sitting idle with its current achievement. Instead, it is arming itself with innovative strategies to further reduce the time between click and delivery on the e-commerce battlefield and make it even more difficult for competitors to challenge it. Some of its plans consist of adopting emerging technologies like driverless freight being devised by automotive giants such as Mercedes Benz.

Integration of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are increasingly replacing manual work traditionally carried out by merchandisers in terms of product recommendations notably. These new technologies have already permeated various industries. This year, it is expected that they will disrupt the retail e-commerce industry and by 2020, AI should position itself in the top 5 investment priorities, according to Gartner. ML has been adopted by a number of tech giants and other businesses. ML and AI have been incorporated into a large array of e-commerce systems, ranging from product recommendation to enhanced search functionality. With a higher rate of adoption of these technologies this year, e-commerce merchants will be in a position to enhance the customer experience by responding to their needs in minimum time and with minimal effort. Indeed, AI has the capability of enhancing the customer experience by offering personalized product recommendations at an unprecedented level of accuracy. AI-powered tools should also gain much traction this year, making use of natural language to understand and respond to voice as well as live chat interactions.

Augmented Reality will make a step nearer to becoming mainstream

Augmented reality (AR) technology has morphed from a nascent technology into a novel one with the advent of Pokemon Go. Last year, it has been leveraged by several gaming and enterprise apps, evolving from GPS and AR-based Pokemon Go to Snapchat filters.  This year, AR tech is expected to take a giant leap towards a mainstream adoption with a drastic boost on behalf of e-commerce businesses. For instance, IKEA, the renowned Swedish furniture retailer, launched its Place app in 2017. It has been designed to allow customers to virtually place IKE products in their home environment to have an idea how they would actually fit and look in their house. Even if the initial app encountered certain bugs, it was rapidly rectified to be more stable and intuitive. In the same endeavor, several leading retail companies are expected to adopt or refine AR technology to offer striking results to hook customers.

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