Current Ecommerce Trends: Stay ahead of the Competition
Unlike trends in other more slow-paced industries that can be anticipated easily, e-commerce trends change more frequently than the weather in London.
And following or setting new trends for shopping online is like trying to hit a moving target while riding a unicycle on a tightrope.
Why? Because they are very much tied to the internet's (and its users) volatile nature,
How social media platforms are working with and developing new ways to engage with their users, and other circumstances that seem to change hourly.
And sure, it might seem like online shoppers have the attention span of a goldfish on caffeine, but there's a method to their madness. And we're here to help you figure it out.
To stop following trends and become a trendsetter, here's the question you need to answer:
How can you make your online store stand out in an E-commerce landscape where CPA is through the roof and ROAS is plummeting across all major platforms?
The key is to give your customers something they never knew they needed. Something that will make them stop scrolling through Instagram and actually pay attention to what you're selling.
And we're not just talking about cute cat videos (although those are always a crowd-pleaser).
You need to show shoppers a different kind of attention that captures them with a personal connection.
And that may sound cheesy, but think of it like a game of Mario Kart - you can either keep using the same old power-ups as everyone else or find your own way to the finish line.
It's time to ditch those tired old trends and blaze your own trail in the ecommerce industry.
So, ready to become a trendsetter?
Ecommerce businesses: get in on the chatbot game
How can ecommerce stores achieve that personal connection with those online customers, and do so at scale?
By understanding their hopes and desires and helping them achieve them while they shop online. Yeah I know, sounds vague, but bear with me.
You need to be able to check in with every single shopper at the right time, ask them how they're finding a specific product, and then design an experience catered to their personalized shopping experience and needs, based on the answers they give you inside every conversation.
So riddle me this, Batman:
How can I talk to my potential customers so that they don't tune me out with the rest of the noise they get from all the other brands?
And How can I have 5000+ personalized conversations with customers at-the-same-time?
Glad you asked. You already read it in the subtitle, but here's the shocking answer to your problems: USE CHATBOTS.
Both rule-based and AI-powered can do that massive check-in at scale with however many customers you have, having actual, meaningful personal conversations with them, that educate them and lead with value to make them shop with you again and again.
And chatbots have a unique ability that other tools don't.
They hit customers where they least expect to: Instagram DMs and Facebook Messenger.
Channels that most brands don't use because they don't even know it's doable or they don't know how to convert them into sales channels.
Are rule-based chatbots worth it?
I promise we're gonna talk about AI chatbots in a sec, but first let's give rule-based chatbots the recognition they deserve.
They're like the underdog of the chatbot world, no one bets on them at first but they end up winning the championship for online retailers.
These chatbots may not have flashy AI capabilities, but they get the job done and do it reliably. They're real MVPs of the chatbot world, and we're here to give them their moment in the spotlight.
Rule-based are also called "decision tree" chatbots because you, as the developer, have to create a flow chart that helps these bots map out conversations to anticipate what customers will ask and respond with the built-in rules that you gave them.
They can be as complicated or as simple as you like but they don't use machine learning or NLP/NLU so they don't generate their answers like AI-powered bots can do.
These rule "guard rails" can be an advantage though.
Why? Because they can help you guarantee the kind of experience they'll deliver to customers, being more reliable and predictable than their AI counterparts.
Some additional advantages that can convince you that rule-based really do rule:
They're faster to train and therefore less expensive
They streamline the handover to a human agent when needed
They're highly accountable and secure
They can include interactive elements and media
Sure, they're not as famous as their viral AI big brothers, but they might just be perfect for a lot of businesses that don't have the bandwidth to deal with artificial intelligence but still want the benefits of a chatbot that drives retail sales like crazy.
Want more ecommerce sales? Retarget like never before!
So what's the current trend e-commerce businesses are following when a potential customer fills up their cart but fails to checkout?
Bring them back with an email follow-up (if you have their email)
Or pay to chase them around the internet (with no guarantee of talking to them directly)
Believe it or not, there is a third option: you can follow up on customers for FREE without paying for retargeting ads or needing an email address.
AI Chat funnels on FB and IG are the solution, and they're becoming trendier by the minute, so you want to jump on right now! If customers enter these and then drop off:
You now have a GUARANTEED line of communication with them.
You can automate answering FAQs and handling objections
You can automate pivoting the conversation to offer a different product/expiring coupon or even down-sell.
And we go back to our cheesy blog introduction: capture customers with a personal connection, we're serious that it works!
You combine this new kind of retargeting with high levels of personalization when you're not only selling to them but also learning about them, and you'll have an audience that feels heard and understood.
PLUS you keep people inside the DMs, not sending them off the platform, which both Instagram and Facebook consider the most powerful way to engage, so the more conversations you have with followers the more they'll show your content to people.
I hear you asking though, does this mean the reach of my chatbot funnel ends at the borders of IG and FB? That's a negative, partner.
The beautiful thing about these chatbot funnels is they help you keep all your bases covered, so you can sync them with both your email and SMS services, perfect for mobile shopping users, and to keep nurturing customers beyond the infinite scrolling feeds where they're most comfortable.
Once you start doing it, you'll wonder how this isn't the most known ecommerce trend!
Artificial intelligence keeps you at the top!
We promised we would circle back to the coolest, shiniest and most talked about chatbots out there, and here we are.
To answer the most burning questions: is AI overrated? Is it just a fad that will go away shortly? Yeah, we're gonna go with no on both.
AI is awesome, it's here to stay and you can put it to work as your #1 salesperson as of right now.
AI chatbots use Natural Language Processing and Natural Language Understanding to read the context of a question before answering it.
These chatbots generate their answers, so no need to write their entire "decision trees", and they can answer more complicated queries with that capability.
And here's the deal, the more you use and "train" these bots, the more they learn and the better they'll interact with customers, that's called machine learning, baby.
They work well for an ecommerce brand that handles a lot of data, and although they take longer to train initially, AI chatbots save a lot of time in the long run.
Learn from the information gathered
Continuously improve as more data comes in
Understand patterns of behavior
Have a broader range of decision-making skills
Understand multiple languages
Verdict: Ecommerce trends? More like ecommerce necessities
The world of e-commerce is just like my hair - constantly changing!
But unlike my hair, businesses can't just let their e-commerce strategy grow out and hope for the best.
They need to keep up and go beyond the top ecommerce trends, or else they'll end up looking like they just stepped out of a 90s sitcom, along with the rest of the brands still stuck in the past.
These AI chatbot funnels might seem like unnecessary trinkets you can try for kicks, but they're already showing their ability to set the new direction in which ecommerce trends are moving.
Their rule-based cousins are also here to stay and have shown incredible results in driving online sales and creating the best possible customer journey for a multitude of brands and customers.
And let's not forget their ability to go on multiple channels and keep nurturing your customers with awesome offers and discounts.
We've been saying this the whole time but it's worth repeating: on the internet, either you swim ahead into newly discovered success or follow in everybody else's wake.