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Amazon is already waving goodbye to 2018 with a slew of achievements under its belt. The eCommerce giant broke records this Cyber Monday, claiming to sell the most ever units in one day. As buyers increasingly shift towards online retail and away from brick-and-mortar shops, the marketplace conglomerate that is Amazon continues to gain consumers and influence in the eCommerce sphere. If you’re a vendor who takes advantage of the many benefits that come along with selling items through an Amazon marketplace, pay attention to some of the biggest predictions for Amazon in 2019 to stay on top of the game and learn more about how your eCommerce business may be impacted. Then, consider top content marketing strategies to improve your own site’s organic traffic and find out how to optimize your store to gain customers.
Personalization Will Become Even More Prominent
Gone are the days of blanket marketing campaigns designed to appeal to one mass audience. Now, in the world of eCommerce, personalization is everything. We’ve already seen this trend over the last few years, but with the expansion of mobile shopping and social media eCommerce, personalized email and social campaigns are more vital to your business than ever. Amazon already engages in the practice of tailoring products and notifications specifically to its users’ tastes, but in the upcoming year, the company is expected to roll out new strategies for attracting and retaining customers through personalization.
With a massive database of information on users, Amazon will leverage their knowledge of their demographic to continue displaying specific product suggestions that are unique to each consumer in new ways. Small and medium eCommerce businesses currently on the Amazon marketplace will benefit from this trend, and those not yet using Amazon may want to follow suit with more personalized engagement with their target audience.
eCommerce Brands Expand Their Exposure Through Amazon Stores
An interesting feature offered to sellers, Amazon Store is a unique way for small and medium business owners to sell products through Amazon’s expansive platform while gaining more exposure for their personal brand. Although Amazon Store was only introduced in the last year, this new service is expected to gain more attention in the coming year. Brands can utilize this free feature to design an aesthetically appealing multi-page storefront to display new or popular products.
A vital change to the way sellers represent themselves on Amazon, Amazon Store provides opportunities for shoppers to learn more about the company and makes it much easier to follow the brand specifically. In the past, Amazon vendors certainly converted shoppers because of the exposure through the widely used platform, but consumers didn’t necessarily pay much attention to the specific seller. In 2019, more eCommerce stores are likely to take advantage of this service to boost sales and build a brand following.
Social Media Continues to be Vital for Product Discovery
Social media is quickly becoming a popular channel for browsing online stores and discovering new brands. SUMO Heavy, a digital marketing firm, released a 2018 report which found that while a majority of online shoppers are using social media to find and research products, a whopping 82 percent of these consumers have never actually purchased through social channels. Since Instagram’s implementation of sponsored ad content in 2013, users have gone from being apprehensive about a newsfeed inundated with unwanted ads to engaging with social media advertising on a daily basis. Likely a result of Facebook’s acquisition of the photo-centric platform in 2012, the decision to integrate ads into users’ feeds proved to be as successful as Facebook’s personalized advertising campaigns in gaining shoppers’ attention. And now, Amazon is expected to ramp up its own social media influence with a product launched in 2017 called Amazon Spark.
The feature itself hasn’t generated much attention over the last two years, but as social eCommerce gains more traction, experts anticipate Amazon inserting itself into this realm. Spark was designed within the Amazon app as a place for Prime members to go and share products they love in a social network feed-type space. Critics of the feature say it’s confusing to users and buried within the Amazon app, but that doesn’t mean it lacks potential both for marketplace sellers to get discovered and consumers to engage with eCommerce on a new social platform.
Amazon Scout is another product of the company with a social network-minded aspect more similar to Pinterest than Facebook or Instagram. Presented with a page of suggested products, shoppers using Amazing Scout are asked to like or dislike products that the site’s algorithm has pulled for them. This feature intends to give users an even more personalized experience based on their likes while integrating social media aspects such as liking.
Amazon Will Make up More Than 50 Percent of the eCommerce Market
According to eMarketer, Amazon’s 2018 sales are projected to total $258.2 billion by the end of the year, making up 49.1 percent of all eCommerce sales. After experiencing a record-breaking Cyber Monday, Amazon may even surpass these expectations. With continued year-over-year growth, the eCommerce giant is predicted to dominate the industry in 2019 by capturing an increasing percentage of the total internet sales as more people flock to the site and more vendors enter the marketplace. For small businesses just starting out, offering products through the marketplace is a smart way to improve conversions and gain customers. Amazon even offers pay-per-click (PPC) services for those interested in paid advertising opportunities to expand their target audience.
Beauty and CBD Products Are Predicted to be a Major Focus
Amazon is currently ranked as the top platform for beauty products but has yet to expand their influence in this market. Vice President of eCommerce and Digital at Laura Geller, Pamela Hemzi told CPC Strategy that she expects some form of consumer loyalty program to be rolled out in this area as the lack of a beauty line acquisition is unusual for the platform, which seems to be growing the company by tackling each and every retail sector it can get its virtual hands on.
CBD products are another hot topic surrounding Amazon for 2019. With more people gravitating towards CBD-infused products for everything from pain and anxiety relief to seizure treatment, the industry’s sales have spiked. Business Insider reported that this sector of the marijuana industry was valued at about $1 billion in June of 2018 and Daquent Robinson, Director of ETAIL and The Honest Company, discussed his prediction with CPC Strategy that Amazon may start involving itself with this growing industry as early as next year. Robinson is not alone in his thinking. Cannabis company Eaze’s CEO Jim Patterson told Yahoo! Finance that he is confident Amazon will want a piece of the marijuana industry’s pie, though he’s more conservative about how long the process may take. This prediction could mean two things for smaller CBD eCommerce companies—Amazon will attempt to capture online CBD sales through their own exclusive line or vendors with CBD products should join the marketplace for more exposure from a company open to a new industry.
Bigger Focus on Mobile Sales in Apps for Vendors
One of the greatest issues facing eCommerce companies in all sectors is mobile conversion rates. Statistics show that online shoppers are using their devices to browse stores more frequently, but conversion rates continue to make up less than half that of desktop and laptop sales. Amazon’s comprehensive app and quick checkout process, including 1-Click ordering, has seen more success than other eCommerce companies when it comes to mobile sales. The company has now addressed the disparity between easy mobile shopping for their own products and those of third-party sellers. As the new year begins, Amazon is expected to continue offering more useful features and strategies to marketing vendors to help drive their mobile conversions as well.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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