Zoom calls, online school, and virtual fitness classes have all been a big part of our lives over the last few years. As we cautiously move away from that nervous way of living, a lot of entrepreneurs might wonder what’s next.
Entrepreneurs tend to live relatively isolated professional lives. Many Amazon sellers work from home with only a laptop to keep them company. Although some of you have by now gotten back into the habit of attending Amazon sellers conferences, webinars, and master classes, many of you might still feel a little out of the loop. That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity to detail 10 top e-commerce trends that are probably going to have a major impact on how you run your own business in the coming 12 months.
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Entrepreneurs tend to live relatively isolated professional lives. Many Amazon sellers work from home with only a laptop to keep them company.
Although some of you have by now gotten back into the habit of attending Amazon sellers conferences, webinars, and master classes, many of you might still feel a little out of the loop.
That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity to detail 10 top e-commerce trends that are probably going to have a major impact on how you run your own business in the coming 12 months.
1. Augmented Reality is Changing How We Shop
Augmented reality (AR) technology allows shoppers to “see” the item they’re shopping for from the comfort of their own home. AR has dramatically changed the shopping experience in a number of industries, such as fashion, beauty, and home decor.
JD.com is a Chinese e-commerce company headquartered in Beijing that has invested in high tech and AI delivery through drones, autonomous technology and robots. Both JD.com and Nike have incorporated virtual try-on features such as AI and AR, which highlight additional ways that a shopping trip has more similarities with a video game than a trip to a brick and mortar store.
Don’t like the idea of balancing awkwardly one one leg in a tiny changing room? Snapchat users can now try on clothing and accessories virtually with technology that responds to your own specific physical dimensions.
As Amazon continues to upgrade its Premium A+ content, how long will it be before Amazon tales the next big step and optimizes its platform for augmented reality?
2. Voice Search is Speaking to Buyers
Voice Search, using “speech” to search questions or give commands on the internet has exploded in the last few years. The rapid growth has been fueled by the advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. For example, Google search stats show that in 2013, its AI could recognize 77% of spoken words. Today, that figure is 97%.
That’s not only made the platform more intuitive for users, it’s also exponentially increased the value and marketability of voice search for advertisers.
According to eMarketer, last year over 40% of shoppers took advantage of voice search. With over 70% of respondents preferring voice-based queries over typed, the future seems clear.
3. Personalized Shopping Through AI
The constant improvements to AI and machine learning have also been behind the rise of automated, personalized shopping experiences.
This exciting (if occasionally troubling) technology has made it possible to continuously collect data about the way customers interact with websites or platforms. How the customer shops, what they buy, and how, and when they make their purchases are all collected and made visible to the marketers. It’s really a hallmark of this technology that’s simply not possible when shopping in a brick and mortar store.
For example, the Brinks Home Security company has generated a huge amount of historical customer-level transaction data. Brinks wanted to find a way to use this information to drive growth. In just 24 months Brinks was able to increase their rate of A/B testing from a few tests a day to over 50,000 by taking advantage of AI-driven daily tests.
This ability to personalize customer touchpoints helped them to double their sales figures in just six months.
4. The Rise of Live and Social Platforms
With livestream selling, a host demonstrates a product in a live online video either through a social media platform, or direct video calls with groups of customers.
In addition to prospective customers being able to “shop” (watch the feed) from wherever they want, with live commerce, they can interact with the personalities in real time, and seek the answers to any questions they might have. Then, they can make their purchase directly from the live stream shopping platform.
Last year, TikTok announced a new partnership to assist US merchants with advertising on the app, giving them access to core functions of the TikTok For Business Ads Manager without requiring them to leave their own business platform.
Now, Amazon’s own “Live” feature is catching fire. Amazon says that its Live feature allows sellers to, “Engage with shoppers in real-time and drive sales with interactive livestreams.” Using Amazon Live, sellers can bring products to life by featuring them in their product carousel. To engage with their audience during the streams, sellers can take advantage of features such as product highlighting, live promotions, and interactive chat.
5. More Payment Options for 2023
In 2021, 49% of total e-commerce purchases were made with digital and mobile wallets. Although it was the most popular way to pay, there are more than a few other new options available for online shoppers.
Everything from credit card payments, digital wallets, direct debits, and flexible payment plans are changing the way online sellers and entrepreneurs can get paid.
Flexible point of sale financing options are on the upswing. McKinsey’s POS Financing Survey, shows that approximately 60% of US consumers say they are likely to use POS financing over the next 12 months. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is an increasingly popular type of short-term financing that allows consumers to make purchases and pay for them incrementally, at a future date, and often interest-free.
There is steady momentum in the direction of a “super app,” similar to large China-based platforms. Apps such as China’s AliPay, India’s Paytm, Singapore’s Grab, Indonesia’s GoTo, Vietnam’s Zalo, and South Korea’s Kakao are combining shopping, payments, financing, and banking products together and making smartphones the nexus not just of social media and communication, but every aspect of a person’s life.
6. Keep the Sales Coming with Subscriptions
A new report from PipeCandy and Rodeo predicts that as many as 75% of DTC brands will have a subscription-based offering by 2023. It makes perfect sense. Once you’ve captured a single sale, why not streamline the process for yourself AND the buyer? Subscription programs are more convenient for buyers and save time. They’re also a great way for sellers to plan for inventory and sales. With “committed” sales already in the pipeline, a portion of your inventory forecasting becomes much easier.
Amazon has been paying attention!
With Amazon’s popular Subscribe and Save, sellers enjoy free standard shipping on auto-deliveries and the option to schedule deliveries on a specific Subscribe & Save delivery day. Eligible products often come at a discounted price on the Amazon and Amazon Marketplace price.
7. Sustainability Matters
I think that most of us can see that the climate is changing. Because of that, there’s a new, growing awareness that sustainability isn’t just a fashionable stance for environmentalists to take, it’s now a key consideration in consumer purchases.
According to research from Forrester, over half of U.S. consumers consider their values when making shopping choices. It seems that across multiple generations, consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products.
Increasingly, business owners are taking a strong position on climate change. Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard just gave away a 3 billion-dollar company to combat climate change and protect undeveloped land around the globe. While it’s clear that not everyone will follow such a high path, more than ever before, buyers increasingly want their purchases to mean something.
With differentiation such an important aspect of making sales on Amazon, sustainability might just be a great way to make your product stand out.
8. Blurring the Line Between UGC and Micro Influencers
User-generated content (UGC) continues to grow in importance with 41% of US consumers claiming that they stream more user-generated content than TV shows or movies.
One of the easiest ways to do this is through influencer marketing. It’s become so prevalent that there are a number of companies such as Grin, Creator.co, Aspire, or Upfluence that are specifically designed to help entrepreneurs manage their partnerships with relevant, authentic influencers.
Often overlooked by larger, celebrity-focused brands, micro influencers blur the line between user generated content and affiliate marketing. Most importantly, they have a very high engagement with their fan-base.
Smaller, niche-aware influencers combine an established relationship AND a knowledge of a specific niche or area of expertise. That’s why “niche-influencers” have become an increasingly valuable component of an Amazon sellers’ marketing strategy.
9. Multichannel Selling is the Future
Multi-channel marketing blends multiple distribution and marketing channels in order to attract customers and stand out in the marketplace. The channels might include email, direct mail, websites, social media, live streams, and/or a retail storefront.
By doing this, not only do marketers and entrepreneurs expand their reach and increase engagement, the benefits of combining two or more of these channels creates exponential benefits.
Take selling on Amazon for example. Recently Amazon has reacted to the influx of e-commerce sellers away from their marketplace and towards a number of off-Amazon platforms. According to many expert Amazon sellers, Amazon’s algorithm is now adjusting all-important rankings upwards for sellers with a substantial off-Amazon presence.
Additionally, For sellers enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry and selling in Amazon’s US store, Amazon has rolled out a bonus for sales generated from non-Amazon marketing efforts. Amazon’s Brand Referral Bonus is an opportunity to earn, on average, a 10% bonus of the sales price on sales generated from sales originating OFF of Amazon.
10. Zero-Party Data for the Win
Marketers know that to increase conversions, understanding a customer’s motivations and actions is where you need to start. For a long time, that has happened through the collection of third-party data.
When Apple rolled out its IOS 14 update limiting easy access to third-party data it sent ripples throughout the e-commerce marketing and media buying community. Just this month, Google announced its own privacy restrictions that will cut tracking across apps on its Android devices.
That’s why when it comes to digital marketing, sellers are going to have to be more proactive in gathering customer data through a variety of practices. Increasingly, marketers are dependent on what’s referred to as zero-party data.
Zero-party data is information from customers that they voluntarily and deliberately share with you. Essentially, zero-party data has been volunteered. You can source zero-party data from quizzes, pop ups, surveys, social media polls, product onboarding, contests, and account creation.
Sure, it’s different than we’re used to and involves a few more steps, but as with most things requiring a little extra effort, it’s worth it. It’s also a process that will separate those sellers truly determined to succeed from the rest.
How CANOPY Management Can Help
CANOPY Management is a “full service” Amazon Marketing Agency. When you take a look at the list of the ways in which CANOPY Management is able to help you grow your Amazon business, you’ll know why.
- Strategic Growth Planning
- Listing Copywriting Optimization
- Listing Photography
- Product Videography
- Amazon Advertising Management
- Customer Service
- Demand Side Platform (Amazon DSP)
- Amazon Posts
- Full Service Amazon Management
- Amazon Review Aggregation
Are you looking to expand your income stream, or transition away from your primary career? With the growth of e-commerce, now is a great time to reap some benefits yourself!