Our Predictions for 2018 on ecommerce

With ‘that time of the year’ now slowly behind us, it’s another good time of the year to look in front of us, to look ahead and anticipate on what’s coming. It goes without saying that for a company active in the domain of chatbots, mobile ecommerce and A.I., again it will be an exciting year! In this story we gladly share with you some items that keep us awake at night (out of excitement).

WhatsApp for Business

WhatsApp for Business is in fact already available for a selected set of business accounts. Facebook (owner of Whatsapp) is doing a closed pilot for some time now, and we’re closely monitoring this one; all we know for now that to use Whatsapp for Business, consumers will need to download a separate app on their phone and there they can interact with verified business accounts. While the download of a separate app could create some friction or confusion for end users, the release of WhatsApp for Business will still be a major event this year for anyone in the chat landscape, and definitely for all companies out there that look to further improve their customer intimacy strategy.

Traffic via Mobile further rising

Visitors of websites and webshops doing this via their smartphone will account for +60% of total visitors. We don’t see this incremental trend stopping soon.

For slideware lovers, check Mary Meekers first slides on global smarthphone unit shipments, and you get the picture.

Webshop conversion still dramatic on mobile

Webshop owners will keep struggling in 2018 with the rise of mobile visitors, and even further implementing responsive design will not help turn the tide. For us as a company, this is in fact good news, as we can help a lot of webshop owners shift their mindset, and stop investing in one large webshop. Mobile requires a totally different approach, and we look forward to launch our Shopitag product end of this month that is exactly doing that.

Blockchain

We just had to add this one in the list. We could even mention Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and all kind of breeding cartoon cats.

Apart from the hype, we don’t believe blockchain can really make the difference in ecommerce at this point in time, let’s just keep an eye on it while legislation matures on the topic, and maybe one day transaction speed catches up to handle millions of transactions at the same time.

Chinese mobile wallets

With only a minority of Chinese consumers doing transactions still via a desktop, mobile is the one and only way forward for players like Alipay and WeChat. Given the fact they keep on adding new currencies in their wallets, their reach of places on earth where you can pay with their mobile wallets is still rising. With an active userbasis that is larger than US population, they can dominate new markets and become a threat for existing players.

GDPR

The infamous GDPR legislation rules (still in draft but should be final by may this year) impacts all companies active in interacting with consumers. While it will not increase top line revenues for companies, it still can impact bottom line with a lot of new procedures and processes to be set in place. For ecommerce it means clearly mentioning during the order funnel what data is being collected and what will be done with it. On mobile this poses some specific challenges as the screen real estate isn’t exactly what you call big, so a clever UX approach will be necessary.

Artificial Intelligence

AI powered voicebots/chatbots keep being a hot topic and given that all major players are active on this domain, we expect further progress in understanding what humans mean, proactively help people and in the end make them more productive. For ecommerce these chat tools (voicebot/chatbot/chatboxes) will become advisors, and from a merchant point of view, a strong aid in preventing cart abandonement. With our company we strongly believe AI, chat and a smart integration with existing datasources is a safe bet on getting closer to your customer, a vital key success factor in conversion.

The obvious predictions

We could relentlessly go on with predictions, as the elephant in the room Amazon will keep dominating the space, with Facebook further active on its marketplace, and in fact a whole number of companies doubling down their efforts on marketplaces.

Have any predictions yourself ? You think some vital points are missing ? Feel free to share them.