E-COMMERCE TRENDS OF 2018

Today, eCommerce/digital influences up to 56% of in-store purchases, while eCommerce itself represents almost 10% of U.S. retail sales and that figure is growing by nearly 15% annually. Digital commerce has gone beyond “buying something on a website” to a series of interactions that rely on technology to move goods.

 

As these figures suggest, stores can no longer survive without being present on their customers’ preferred channels; retailers need to fully integrate digital commerce in order to thrive. Similarly, B2B is nearing the eCommerce tipping point and disruption will become more frequent in 2018.

 

As one of North America’s leading eCommerce agencies with retail and B2B clients such as Fujifilm, Structube, Grimco, Stokes, Garneau, La Vie en Rose, Birks and SAIL – to name but a few – Absolunet has a front row seat when it comes to eCommerce trends. Here are 10 eCommerce trends to watch for in 2018—important developments that companies need to take into consideration to ensure their online and in-store sales growth.

Table of contents

1. THE REBIRTH OF BRICK AND MORTAR

 

2. THE CONSUMERIZATION OF B2B

 

3. AR IN YOUR HOUSE

 

4. “ROPO”: THE NEW MEASURE OF A RETAILER’S DIGITAL SUCCESS

 

5. MOBILE CHECKOUT OVERTAKES DESKTOP CHECKOUT

6. MACHINE LEARNING X ECOMMERCE

 

7. AMAZON & THE YEAR OF MARKETPLACE MATURITY

 

8. VOICE WILL CHANGE GOOGLE/SEO/ECOMMERCE FOREVER

 

9. PHOTO SHOPPING

 

10. REACHING PEAK BROWSER

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A new breed of retail stores and in-person experiences, rooted in digital, will begin to replace outgoing retailers.

« Shop retail is not dying, but a painful transformation has begun »

Brick and mortar experiences – physical, on site interactions – are more important than ever. Merchants will have to master the combination of showrooming and webrooming, events, product demos, in-store experiences and more.

 

Online (“pureplay”) merchants will grow their physical footprint as consumers continue to place a premium on both the versatility and depth of online shopping and the convenience of buying, picking up and returning items locally.

 

Brick and mortar players will digitize their physical infrastructure and begin rolling out new store features and formats based on customer experience and convenience, with a strong digital flavor.

Online menswear brand Frank And Oak has opened 16 physical stores in North America. The in-store experience includes premium coffee and barbershop services.

Nordstrom opened a 3,000 sq/ft store with no merchandise in order to focus on services and brand experience such as tailoring, try-ons, stylists and more, including fresh juice and manicures. The space doubles as a pickup and return point for online purchases.

Online box-mattress pioneer Casper has opened 15 pop-up shops in cities around the US in 2017.

Portland’s Velo Cult stands out in a city with 80 bike shops by blending culture with retail. They carry a selection of new, custom and vintage bicycles, serve at least 12 craft beers on tap, roast and serve coffee on site and have a stage for local musicians.

Home Depot makes $5 Billion online, but its top priority remains a stellar store experience. Stores and staff support the customer journey for both DIY homeowners and professional contractors.

The IRL (In Real Life) pop-up shop in Chicago’s Water Tower Place is a showroom for online-only brands to display their products.

Iconic Canadian parka brand Kanuk‘s unique in-store experience includes a -25˚C (-13˚F) cold room to test jackets in real winter conditions.

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The Disruption of B2B eCommerce.

 

The perfect storm is about to hit the nearly 1 Trillion $ B2B eCommerce sector.

 

Changing B2B Buyers’ expectations are pushing the need for B2C-like functionalities, at a time where B2B investment in commerce capability is a priority for a majority of B2B CEOs. The growth of the digital-savvy millennial workforce, mobile ubiquity and relentless optimization of eCommerce technology is forcing the hand and pace of the traditionally slow-moving B2B sector.

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