It’s that time of year where eCommerce forecasters are looking the future. Let’s take a look into our crystal ball to see what are the emerging trends for the year.

In 2019, you’ll most likely hear about the expansion of online marketplaces,  virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and voice search. Let’s take a look at each one.

Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces have boomed in recent years and are sure to increase this year. Big names like Amazon, Google Shopping Actions, and Facebook Marketplace have grown in this category but third-party online marketplaces have increased as well, for both retail products and services such as short-term rentals (Airbnb), childcare (UrbanSitter), food delivery (Postmates) and car services (Uber and Lyft).

According to a report from Coresight Research and data by Juniper Research, revenues for marketplace platform providers across the globe are predicted to more than double “from $18.7 billion in 2017 to $40.1 billion in 2022, driven by the sharing economy.”

This increase creates an opportunity for all businesses. It’s crucial that you optimize your product feeds to get an edge over your competitors. Need help with figuring out Google Merchant Center? Let Feedonomics be your partner!

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality and/or augmented reality is becoming increasingly important to help convert those who are browsing your online storefront into an actual sale. Take for instance interior design companies or furniture retailers who are utilizing virtual reality (VR) to create an immersive shopping experience. By having a virtual showroom, consumers can visualize the products that they want to buy for their home or office.

Sephora’s Virtual Artist is a prime example of how shoppers use augmented reality (AR) to try on different make-up products, take virtual tutorials so they know how to apply the make-up, and do color matches, so they can match the shade of their outfit or accessory to their make-up. There are augmented reality ecommerce features that allow consumers to try and then buy the makeup that looks best on their face.

Sephora Virtual Artist

Artificial Intelligence

How is artificial intelligence (AI) used in eCommerce? AI is used to create a personalized shopping experience. Amazon and Google collect and store information about each user. These platforms know how much time you spend on each page, what you are interacting with, which links you click on and what products you are hovering over. This results in dynamic product ads, personalized messaging, alerts and other visuals that are specific to that person.

AI can also provide a personal touch via chatbots. Chatbots can automate order processing and be an inexpensive way of providing customer service. Consider the statistic from e-Residency, “AI has been able to handle 45% of customer questions from live chat on its own in 2018.”

Furthermore, if you want to create better relationships with your customers and refined messaging, look no further than chatbots, which can give you insight into what your audience members are looking for at exactly the right time. Plus you can take the data that you collect from those insights to hone your messaging for future use.

 

Voice Search

This past year has seen a rise in the usage of AI-powered personal assistants – Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri and Cortana. These voice-controlled virtual assistants can recommend products or services to consumers, as well as provide answers to questions. Therefore, you’ll want to optimize your content so that relevant keywords are located in the page URL, title and H1 tag.

The trends in 2019 are a continuation of developments from 2018. It would be wise for eCommerce businesses to invest in these areas so that they can gain an edge over their competitors.

 

 

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Brian Roizen is the Cofounder and Chief Architect of Feedonomics, a full-service feed optimization platform that optimizes product data for hundreds of channels. He has been featured on numerous podcasts and eCommerce webinars, and regularly contributes to Search Engine Land and other industry-leading blogs. Brian graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.