Top 5 eCommerce Predictions For 2018 that you must know

What is E-Commerce? Definition, differences with other terms and first steps to follow if you want to launch your e-commerce

2018 is with us already and it’s important in the current competitive market that eCommerce businesses don’t standstill. In this post, we are going to take a close look at five eCommerce predictions for 2018 and explain why online businesses need to take heed of these shifting trends in order to stay ahead of their competitors.

1. Mobile sales will begin to dominate

Mobile phones to dominate online sales medium in India: report

We’ve been talking a lot about the shift towards mobile shopping over the last few years. In the UK, we already spend twice as much time surfing on a mobile as we do on computers and now we are set to see mobile sales forging ahead too. It is predicted that mobile purchases will massively increase during 2018, accounting for almost 50% of all e-commerce revenue by the end of the year.

There are several reasons which have contributed towards this shift. Mobile technology continues to improve: we have better phones and better networks, both of which make it easier to shop whilst we’re out and about. For many, it’s also more convenient to use a phone at home than it is to use a laptop.

In addition to phone technology, we have also seen an increasing effort by online businesses to give customers a better mobile shopping experience. Businesses are creating websites and apps which make it far easier to search for, find, look at and order products on the small screen. Improved website design and navigation have removed many of the barriers that used to make us switch to a computer when making a purchase.

Improved payment options also make mobile more attractive. Mobile phones are seen as very secure; with apps such as Apple Pay, we can even use them to pay for goods instead of a bankcard. This means customers now trust mobile payments much more than they once did.

To take advantage of the shift towards mobile, try to do the following:

  • Use a website theme that makes it simple and easy for customers to find your products when using a mobile phone.
  • Make sure your site loads quickly. You can do this by optimising your site and ensuring your web host provides the performance you need.
  • Start using accelerated mobile pages so even those with older phones or poor connections can access your shop quickly.
  • Offer a wider range of payment options that make online purchasing simpler for customers.

2. Sites that offer personalised shopping will grow more

7 Ways Brands Delight Customers with Personalized Shopping Experiences (2021)

Online retailers have realised that they make a lot more money when they are able to offer customers a personalised shopping experience. Indeed, sites which use personalisation techniques typically see a 5-10% resulting growth in sales.

These stores use a range of ways to give a customer-centric shopping experience. By employing data analysis and automation, they can provide suggested items based on a shopper’s wish lists, recent searches or purchase histories. These suggestions can be provided on screen during browsing, as upsells during checkout or be remarketed using emails.

The technology needed to provide these services to customers can often be acquired through simple plugins and extensions.

3. Augmented reality shopping is the future

The Future Of Augmented Reality For Retailers And Brands

One of the major problems with online shopping is that customers only get to view a picture of a product before buying. This means a significant proportion of products sold online get sent back because, once opened, the customer doesn’t like them. This is frustrating for the customer and costly for the retailer.

Over the years, online stores have done their utmost to provide the best shopping experience they can: image galleries, large images, videos, customer reviews, etc, have all been helpful. Now, however, retailers are beginning to use augmented reality to give users a much better understanding of how their products will look.

Augmented reality apps can be used to show customers what clothes will look like when worn or how furniture or decorations will appear in their homes. This year will see augmented reality becoming an integral element of many online stores.

4. Packaging to have increased impact on purchasing

Product Packaging: Design Examples + Unboxing Tips (2021)

Packaging has a number of effects on eCommerce customers. Firstly, it needs to protect your product as it is shipped to the customer. This is important as over half of all customers who receive a product damaged because of poor packaging would be reluctant to use that store again.

The way you package your goods also has an effect on your brand. Those selling ‘high-end’ goods need to make sure that the presentation of their packages meets the high standards that customers expect. Even with less valuable products, a well-presented package shows you have a respect for your customers.

The other consideration you need to think about is the eco-friendliness of your packaging. Do you use recycled and recyclable materials? Do you use overlarge containers when smaller ones will do? Do you overfill your packages with protective materials (bubble-wrap, polystyrene, tissue paper, etc)?  Many customers are increasingly concerned with the environmental waste produced in eCommerce shipping and are also annoyed at the amount of recycling it forces them to do.

Getting your packaging right can lead to increased customer satisfaction and this can help with developing long-term relationships with customers.

5. 2018 will see a need to improve shipping

Improve Customer Service with Better Ecommerce Shipping | ShipStation

Shipping is a big deal in eCommerce and can often be the reason why a customer chooses one retailer over another. Thanks to the lead taken by Amazon and eBay, online buyers have much higher expectations about how they want their products delivered and now expect other eCommerce sites to provide similar levels of service.

In general, customers want their products delivered for free, to arrive quickly and at a time and place which is convenient for them. This means companies need to provide a range of different shipping options, for example, you could offer a free delivery within two days or a charged for, next day delivery. For customers who work, you may need to offer convenient delivery times or enable them to collect the package from another location, such as a post office.

Whilst customers like to be able to track delivery of their products, they also hate signing for them. If they are not in when the delivery arrives, they often have to go through the hassle of rearranging the delivery themselves or having to collect it from a depot – all of which can put them off using your services again.

In 2018, delivery options will continue to impact upon your business. The more options you can offer, the better placed you will be to serve the differing needs of your customers.


As you can see, there are some surprising predictions for eCommerce in 2018 and not in the areas that most online retailers would expect. Whilst increased mobile shopping and personalisation have been promising to have an impact for some time, the effects of packaging, the way we ship our products and the rise of augmented reality are, perhaps, less expected.

Emerging trends expected to impact eCommerce Businesses

The Future Of E-Commerce

While the rise of internet shopping has led to the slow decline of the high street, last year also saw a reduction in online sales. With trading conditions likely to remain challenging during 2019, eCommerce businesses will need to be at the top of their game if they are to make headway. Doing this means keeping abreast of the latest developments in eCommerce businesses and taking advantage of those which are likely to bring the greatest benefits. In this post, we’ll look at the new trends set to have an impact this year.

Improving the customer experience

15 Proven Techniques to Improve Customer Experience (CX)

Social media and review sites give consumers enormous power to influence each other in their buying decisions and one of the things they are increasingly making judgements about is the experience they have when shopping with a business. This experience covers every aspect of their interactions with you, from their first encounter (e.g., seeing an advert) to after sales and beyond.

What are they looking for? In short, quite a lot. They want brands whose values they can identify with; websites that load quickly, are easy to navigate and work on any device; and purchasing processes that are simple, secure and fast.

In addition, customers prefer ecommerce sites that provide personalised recommendations and offers based on their previous interactions and this means businesses will need to collect more data and do more analyses in order to make recommendations that actually appeal.

Following the purchase, they want a speedy delivery and an easy, no-quibble returns process. Ideally, they want standard delivery to be free and to have all this backed up by easy to contact, friendly, customer service.

Developing trust

Developing Trust on Your Team

The consumers’ concept of trust has developed over recent years and businesses need to take these changes on board. Yes, this still means they need to trust you with their banking details when making purchases – so things like SSL certificates remain essential. However, with so many data breaches taking place, they want guarantees that any personal data you hold on them is going to remain secure and not end up being sold on the dark net. Following on from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, trust also means not having their data sold or used by third parties – particularly for use by political analysts or by insurance companies.

Trust is also increasingly linked to a company’s values and this means having moral integrity. The recent case of the clothing brand that sold fake fur coats which turned out to be made from real fur, is a prime example of something that can damage trust. The high-profile cases of people dying from allergic reactions because food retailers didn’t adequately label their foods is another example. Indeed, the online demonisation of those companies perceived to be at odds with today’s shifting values means, in order to gain the trust of the general public, all businesses need to do the right thing, whether it concerns LGBT rights, race and gender equality or supporting the more vulnerable members of society.

Using AI

Companies are using AI to hit business goals, even though they can't explain how it works - TechRepublic

Live chat is a key tool for enhancing the customer experience, however, it can be an expensive service to offer. Having staff available 24 hours a day to deal with customer queries isn’t cheap and the more successful your business gets, the more agents you will need.

Thankfully, there is now an alternative and cheaper solution that is expected to take eCommerce businesses by storm over the next couple of years and that is the AI chatbot. AI chatbots are essentially computer programs that can understand a customer’s questions and provide human-like responses about your products and services. Unlike humans, they can deal with unlimited customer enquiries at once and operate at all hours of the day.

The other advantage of a chatbot is that it can be used to generate sales. It can do this by sending automated prompts to get users chatting about a product they are interested in, it can offer them discounts or even make personalised recommendations based on their session data.

The progressive web app

What are Progressive Web Apps and How Do They Work?

With 60% of internet surfing taking place on mobile phones, the key focus over the last few years has been to develop responsive websites. However, the majority of our mobile surfing time is spent on apps, not websites. Rather than developing their own apps, many businesses are using a new format to tempt app-loving mobile surfers – the progressive web app.

The progressive web app is a website that uses APIs to let it function and appear just like an app. It works on all types of devices but, unlike a website, doesn’t need to be downloaded on a phone as it is cached and stored on the home screen. It also gets rid of the issues that businesses with separate apps and websites have, such as when a customer puts an item in a basket on the app but finds its not there on the website.

The use of progressive web apps will enable businesses to provide a multipurpose web portal that better suits our preferences of surfing on mobiles and computers but which works seamlessly between the two.


Hopefully, this post will have given you an insight into the emerging trends set to develop eCommerce over the next year. With the trading challenges facing online business, adopting some of these trends can be a way to keep your company ahead of the competition and help you meet your targets for the coming year.

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