Trends come and go, but there are a few recent trends that every online company should consider adopting. Here’s our picks for the top five trends to watch.
1. Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)
With its September 2019 rollout date, the SCA requirement from the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) is set to make significant changes in Europe. The directive requires two-factor authentication on nearly every online purchase, which could lengthen and change the checkout process.
Businesses in the EU may already be preparing for these changes, but ecommerce companies and other online businesses around the world should be watching their rollout carefully. There have been instances where changes made to the payment industry in Europe led to worldwide adoption (think EMV chips). If SCA is proven to reduce fraud, it is likely that other regions will follow suit with similar requirements.
2. Integrated Social Selling
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms around the world continue to gain momentum online. These platforms are constantly finding new ways to integrate selling experiences directly into their site. As social selling experiences become more common, consumers have begun to trust them more. In the coming years, any brand that wants to succeed online will need to expand to multichannel sales.
3. Rise of Voice Assistants
While Siri, Google, and Alexa have considerably changed the way we search online, many companies still have not begun optimizing for voice search or sales. The way someone types a search request might differ significantly from what they would say to a voice assistant. That means product descriptions, meta data, and tags need to be more comprehensive and robust to capture this audience.
As voice assistant technology continues to rise in popularity and innovation, this particular trend will only become more important over time. By preparing your business for these changes now, you’ll be in a better position to pivot and adapt to further advances once they become available.
4. Personalization of the Purchase Process
Personalization has become a hot topic in recent years. While debates have sparked about who owns collected data and what privacy should look like in the golden age of technology, most shoppers actually prefer a personalized online experience. From ads that are relevant to their interests to shopping aids that anticipate their needs, most customers want experiences that make things easier on them.
The key is to both communicate how you use data and to create an experience that is pleasant rather than intrusive. Look specifically for ways to make shopping more efficient for your customers, like suggested sizing information based on recent purchases or reorder suggestions for items that are purchased regularly. Try finding ways to utilize your own data to better your customers’ experience rather than relying on the purchase of third-party data.
5. Continued Growth of Subscriptions
Subscription services have become extremely common in a variety of industries. Netflix, Adobe, Skillshare, and Birchbox all sell very different products — but each profits from subscriptions. The benefit of the subscription model is that it suits multiple industries and products. Consider anything you can offer to your customers that would be useful to receive on a regular basis.
If you do decide to offer a subscription model, be sure to clearly state the terms and conditions of your service as well as your cancellation policies. This will help cut down on potential problems with dissatisfied customers.