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What is disrupting eCommerce in 2018?

5 trends which will shape the future of online retail

According to a recent report, global E-commerce retail sales increased 23.2% to hit a whopping high of $2.3 trillion in 2017. E-commerce sales accounted for one-tenth of the global retail sales last year and this number continues to grow. While the decline of offline brick and mortar store continues, retailers are investing in an omnichannel presence to boost sales.

Mobile commerce, AI, image search are some of the trends that are propelling the industry into next gear. Here’s a look at some of them:

1) Smarter, faster AI

Going beyond recommendations, chatbots are powering deep identification of customer purchase patterns and is presenting real opportunities for innovation. Machine learning has also refined fraud detection algorithms, which is a huge problem in retail e-commerce.

Solving retail image editing issues, ImageEdit is using Artificial Intelligence to provide retailers with high-quality images, eliminating the need for time-consuming photo-editing. In 2018, retail E-commerce will be defined by the ability to influence customer purchase decisions with minimum effort.

2) Personalisation

A frequently used buzzword, personalisation will be even more connected in 2018. Powered by AI, machine learning and blockchain technology, the time is ripe for personalised stylists and bespoke experiences. 2018 will also be the year where personalisation will become individualised and retailers will extend customisation to their offline in-store mediums too.

3) Image search automation

Today, image search counts for approximately 10% of searches online and is on the steady rise. Combined with AI and machine learning, retailers will be able to leverage image analysis automation and generate profitable digital strategies.

Amazon Spark is another example of the focus on images to sell!

Pinterest recently launched a visual search tool that lets users not only know the origins of images, but also find similar products, patterns and more for purchase. With image search, the product discovery scope is widened as language and product names will no longer be barriers.

4) Rise of the marketplace

The growth of the shared economy model is expected to reach a record high of $40Bn by 2022 (source). Marketplaces are on the rise as it creates a low-cost entry opportunity for emerging retailers. While brick and mortar store numbers continue to drop, brands are turning to marketplaces to boost their sales and increase customer reach.

5) Mobile Commerce

The low cost of smartphones and a high percentage of penetration is a major driver for mobile sales growth. Native social selling, mobile-friendly purchase experiences and generating a symbiotic mobile relationship with the customer will take center stage in 2018. Capturing the screen via recommendation engines and aggressive content marketing will be the focus this year.

Bonus: Intelligent Voice Assistants

One of the more recent disruptors in eCommerce was the introduction of voice assistants such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s Siri. The technology enables customers to use voice commands to search and even order products online. It’s sheer ease of use is a major boost to the eCommerce industry and is driving additional sales.

Below is a clip from Google’s launch of Duplex at IO2018 this month. It is mind-blowing!

We will constantly watch & update this list with latest trends & technology.

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