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According to a report published by eMarketer in 2016, the trade and commerce sector will experience double-digit growth until 2020. During this period sales are expected to increase by over $4 trillion.
It’s clear that only a handful of industries can boast about such a beaming future. To make sense of our rapidly changing industry, we’ve compiled for you some of the most disruptive and potentially beneficial trends in e-commerce that marketers and consumers can expect to see in the very near future.
Greater Integration of Machine Learning and AI
Given the increase in marketing and business automation, it is inevitable that the commercial sector will continue to be influenced by a deeper level of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the years ahead.
In fact, machine learning is already integrated into today’s leading e-commerce retailers. In the upcoming years, however, additional e-commerce retailers will increasingly utilize the many benefits that machine learning offers in order to maintain their competitive edge.

Additionally, product recommendations, upsells, product bundles, as well as inventory forecasts, are also poised to become even more accurate and helpful. As a move away from keyword and human-based recommendations occur, merchants with a wider range of signals for product purchases history will become evident. In essence, retailers will have the power to know what the customer wants, before the customer does.

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Voice search
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to talk about retail search without mentioning the advent of voice search. In the near future voice will be one of the leading drivers of online sales innovation, specifically with consumers on the go.

With an increase in the adoption of smart home appliances such as amazons echo and Googles Home, retail purchases are witnessing the incorporation of voice search,
Voice search, particularly in the smart speaker market, is not just a matter for convenience and neatness anymore, but it is the next stage for customer loyalty. For instance, the sales completed via Amazon Echo units also provided retailers with many new selling opportunities, with upsell rates of more than 60% for some product lines.
Faster shipping and better delivery logistics
One of the very few remaining differentiators when it comes to e-commerce sectors is the time and quality of delivery logistics that a retailer carries out. As we all know, Amazon is the indisputable king of e-commerce delivery and seems to remain firm on its throne for the coming future. Even more intriguing is the data on Amazon’s fastest deliveries- just eight minutes for a forehead thermometer and a mere nine minutes for 5 pints of ice cream.
We’re not too far away from a time when we can expect Amazon and other e-commerce retailers to step up their logistics game and offer their customers lower delivery times and better services.
Unprecedented growth in mobile checkout systems and IoT
These days, without mentioning the use of mobile checkouts and payment systems, anticipated e-commerce trends would not be complete. Mobile payment has been one of the most brilliant changes to the way people shop since e-commerce has skyrocketed. The mobile payment market has increased steadily since 2015, and now there are ten different systems available today. These also include Apple pay and Google pay as well as proprietary offerings from different banks including Chase and Softbank.
With ongoing innovations and new technologies being introduced daily, the e-commerce sector has and will continue to witness one of the fastest evolutionary shifts that the industry has ever seen.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past year it’s that customer demands are constantly changing. Online shopping has become more accessible than ever, customer expectations are increasing, which means that online merchants need to be smarter about the industry. So we thought now would be a perfect time to share a few global eCommerce trends to keep an eye on this year.

AUGMENTED REALITY IS CHANGING THE GAME

Long, boring product descriptions have taken a backseat to much more visual experiences. These days, consumers prefer eye-catching visuals that give them a look into their products. Physical stores give you the liberty of viewing a product that interests you. The same can be said about online shopping as well. However, it does not end there. We’re not talking images and videos of your product. We mean high-quality visuals that are backed by artificial intelligence. This year we’re bound to start seeing more augmented reality experiences being baked into the shopping experience.  

Sounds cool, but how does it work? Let’s say you want to buy a lamp for your bedroom. You’ve decided on the one you like, but how do you know if it will look good in your bedroom? Integrating AR helps give your customer a sense of what the product will look like in a real-world environment. It allows consumers to zoom in, turn around, and view every part of a product that they are interested in. All in all augmented experiences and innovative visualizations are definitely on the list for 2019.

BRICK AND MORTAR BACK WITH A BANG

Yes, online shopping is starting to overtake physical stores, but it looks like the latter has resurrected from its grave. Amazon, the world’s largest and strongest eCommerce giant put up a very real, very physical, brick and mortar store at the big apple, New York. But why would a benchmark performer in the eCommerce industry put up a physical store? Kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think? You would be wrong. Consumers flocked to this outlet, and Alibaba, Amazon’s competition from the east followed suit by setting up an Alibaba store as well. In fact, these stores are a sight to behold. They are architected the same way that it looks on the website or app. For example, the Amazon store has categorized the aisle according to various headings that you find on the website, like “trending now”, “most relevant”, etc.

Digital kiosks are newly trending as well. A digital kiosk works pretty much like digital signage, by offering product details and visualization. However, these kiosks are more than just a platform to advertise your product. Customers can view products that are not available on the store, click on the purchase code, and opt for home delivery of the same. Just like your online shopping experience, but in a physical store.

AI & MACHINE LEARNING, REDEFINING THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

In 2019 machine learning will propel the shopping experience to a whole other level. Picture this. Online shoppers are given smart product bundle recommendations that fit their purchase behavior, while on the merchant’s side, machine learning delivers accurate forecasts of sales trends, by location, timeframes and down to individual product SKUs. Machine learning delivers a win-win solution for both merchants and shoppers. Machine Learning solutions such as Curve’s will also be of utmost importance as far as driving data insights are concerned.

Combining these trends can prove to be extremely beneficial for your e-Commerce business. The year has already started, so plan out your business strategies with these new trends.

Today’s leading Shopify merchants know that having a great looking eCommerce site and traffic is no longer enough to stay competitive. Even with a good amount of traffic, you need to ensure it’s optimized for maximum conversions.
To help give Shopify online business owners an advantage, we’ve put together a sales optimization guide. Even for the most experienced online retailers, it never hurts to review if you’ve missed out on any of the essential optimization tips. Getting these right will also assist in improving your search rank. Bonus!
#1: PRODUCT HEADLINES & TITLES
Your headline or title is the first chance to grab the audience’s attention. It also tells people what they can expect from the page and the products it includes. This is why your headline should be attention-grabbing. However, don’t forget to use your main keyword in the title. We’re going for a little extra search engine rank after all.
#2: HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCT IMAGES
Having low-quality images or unprofessional product shots almost always leads to lower sales. Invest in professional product images. If required, hire a professional photographer and editor who will take care of your images.

#3: CONSTANTLY REVIEW YOUR ANALYTICS
One of the biggest advantages online retailers have is access to analytics tools and services. Sure, Shopify comes bake in with its own analytics dashboard and Google Analytics is usually the ‘GO TO’ analytics solution, but it still only delivers part of the information you need. HotJar, for example, is an amazing solution that delivers visual recordings of your site visitors is another solution you should already be using. Additionally, Curve is rolling our predictive analytics for Shopify owners. If you use BigCommerce, you can also go for BigCommerce analytics.
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#4: KEEP YOUR MENU EASY TO NAVIGATE
This may sound like a fairly basic point, but we still see far too many online merchants create confusing links and navigation menus that frustrate online shoppers.  In addition to the header links, you should also include footer links, which will help your audience to scroll through the pages.

#5: PERFECT YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION
Why should people buy from you instead of your competitors? Understanding and communicating what sets you apart will not only help your business in the long run, but also create deeper engagement with your visitors, Competing on price isn’t always the best solution, and it’s certainly not the most cost-effective. There should be value in your product and your audience should know that. Include value proposition in the product copy on the product page.
#6: TARGETED ON SITE SEARCH
How would you feel if there is no search bar on a website? ProbablyDoubtful or frustrated, correct? Always take a step back and put yourself in your customer’s place and try to identify issues that may doubt your site during any part of the sales funnel. That includes a clean and easy to find on-site search.
#7: EMAIL COLLECTION POP UP
Emails are the best way to connect with your audience. However, if you don’t collect emails, how will you contact them. In your website, there should be a pop up to collect the email of the visitors.
#8: LIVE CHAT
Everyone loves a support staff clearing out their doubts, even if it is an online store. Having a live chat platform will help your audience to connect with you. They will feel that you are attending them in person, which plays a big role in the conversion of visitors to buyers.

#9: CALL TO ACTION
Well, you wanted users to visit your website, and they did. Now, what do you want them to do? Obviously, you’d want them to buy from you. This should reflect in your call to action. Your home page should also have a clear call to action, which will help your users decide on what they want to buy.
#10: SHIPPING & RETURN POLICY
One of the biggest fears online shoppers have is being unsure about shipping and return policies, set their fears to ease by putting your policies front and center (as long as they’re good policies). This will not only help your customers but also you in case of a legal dispute. Having a defined policy in place will show your customers that you are a reliable and trustworthy brand.
Now that you have these tips and checklist ready, it’s time for you to start putting it to work. Run through each of the points and carefully assess how well your Shopify site rankS for each of these points.