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Last year, around the same time around, data privacy was not a big deal as such. As habitual Internet users, we were used to giving away our browsing habits to the world at large.
Come 2018, data privacy has surfaced to the top as a matter of grave intensity. Marketers are now under the scanner as their strategies are alleged to cross the limits of user privacy.
Nevertheless, as marketers, we cannot stop what we are doing. We have to reach our target audience somehow and shout out the message of a product or service with all the might we have.
Luckily, there are ways to do it without being a peeping Tom at your customer’s browsing privacy. Here are some such trends that are proving that it is possible to do marketing ethically and still reach your business goals.
Social media marketing
According to 4CInsights, social media marketing spend in 2017 exceeded 2016 figures by 60%. The same trend would continue in 2018 too. In fact, Snapchat has entered the social scene with a renewed force that will take away a small size of Facebook’s and Twitter’s market share.
A point worth noting is that social media is no longer an option that businesses used to consider to market themselves. It has become ingrained as a vital marketing channel with proven success rates. For eCommerce businesses, Facebook and Instagram still remain a powerful platform to showcase their products to the world in a cost-effective fashion.
Mobile-first web designing
What does mobile web designing and eCommerce have in common? Well, both of them are two sides of the same coin. eCommerce designing and the whole Internet as such is slowly moving towards a mobile-first web design medium.
Designers are first designing the mobile responsive pages first before proceeding to create the rest of the designs. This comes as no surprise since mobile devices continue to dominate the traffic scene. In 2016, it also rose to ranks as the most revenue originating medium. A recent study revealed that revenue from mobile devices amounts to 63% of the eCommerce industry.
Personalized ad targeting using Machine Learning
Machine learning is paving new inroads into industries that were previously thought complex and impossible for robots and software programs to handle. But, machine learning is crushing all those misconceptions and setting new benchmarks in performance.
Its feats are giving hope to eCommerce business owners who have always struggled with the challenges caused by manual processes. One of the biggest problems in running an eCommerce business was marketing the right product at the right time to the right customer.
Thanks to machine learning, eCommerce business owners would now have several features to their aid like collaborative filtering, market-driven pricing, personalized product recommendations, and so on. All of these ML-led features would empower eCommerce business owners to drive more conversions without breaking their bank.
User Generated Content (UGC) to take center stage
Thanks to abundant Internet bandwidth, mobile devices and an endless array of productivity tools, even users are now turning into content churning machines. They are able to create a vast amount of blogs, user reviews, blurbs, and even live videos about product reviews.
These product reviews, in turn, provide the business with word-of-mouth marketing which is more powerful than any other marketing medium. User-generated content like tips left by customers on Foursquare, customer reviews on Yelp or Google Reviews, Facebook Official Pages, customer success stories/testimonials on Instagram, etc. helps the business gain quick market traction.
Along with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, chatbots have also come to the forefront as effective marketing mediums. 2018 would be the year when chatbots would gain prominence as conversational commerce mediums. In fact, HubSpot’s 2017 Research found that “48% of consumers would rather connect with a company via live chat than any other mean of contact.” This further asserts the fact that chatbots are slowly taking over the job of human customer support executives.
Voice search is another tipping point for the eCommerce industry. Incidentally, Amazon – the eCommerce pioneer is also spearheading the voice search domain. Search assistants like Alexa, Google Home, Siri, Cortana, etc. are being used by more than 3.9 Billion people from all over the world.
Voice search is predominantly used to search for products online, make purchases, play music, run quick online searches, set reminders and so on. Needless to say, it is a perfect match for eCommerce since it takes away the difficulty that customers face in finding the right products without spending too much time on the Internet.
Content + Commerce – A new way of selling
Content has long since been hailed as the foundation upon which the online marketing is being built. But, monetizing content often took time and was a tedious process too. Moreover, not all types of content were effective in connecting with customers instantly to effect a purchase.
Thus came the concept of content + commerce. In Content and commerce, both the elements are played in equal proportions to drive the customer to conversion. Content is used to attract, engage and delight the customer. Useful tips about the product, popular choices, etc. are some common forms of content.
The content so created is punctuated with commerce that is “call to actions” that are like baits for the customers to click on. They are often targeted to convert impulsive shoppers or create a curiosity in customers so that they turn paying customers sooner or later.
Security as a mandate
Payment security concerns have always ranked as a prime reason why customers used to abandon their shopping carts. But, in the recent years, even the business as a whole is exposed to cybersecurity threats. At least 5 out of 6 small businesses are expected to have fallen victim to cybersecurity attacks in the recent years. Security is no longer an option but a mandate that can help the business immunize itself from security concerns.
SSL certificates are the best bet when it comes to securing your online store from cybersecurity threats. They encrypt the information that is shared between the user and the store thus preventing unauthorized third-parties from intercepting the data. The bottom line is, security will rise to the top as a major positive influence for eCommerce businesses.
These are some of the few trends that you have to keep your eyes open to take your eCommerce business to new heights. While some of them are inventive are hardly introduced technologies, some others are already mainstream and surging ahead with better possibilities. They are all a must-have for eCommerce businesses that want to stay competitive.
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