According to Statista, ecommerce revenue in Singapore is projected to reach US$8.5 billion by 2023.
While that bodes well for ecommerce merchants, it probably also means more competition. To do well, online retailers will need to make a constant effort to stay ahead of the curve.
Here are some trends and highlights we foresee will have the greatest impact in 2019.
#1 The rise of digital wallets
With an increasing number of consumers turning to ecommerce, we are inevitably heading towards a cashless society.
According to Euromonitor International, mobile payments in Southeast Asia is projected to reach US$32 billion by 2021 – 10 times that of 2013.
This rising trend can be linked to the fact that modern consumers are seeking near-instant gratification and a seamless shopping experience.
A report by the Baymard Institute found that more than a quarter (28%) of online shoppers abandoned their cart because of a long or complicated checkout process.
As non-cash payments continue to gain popularity, ecommerce retailers should look into offering digital wallets as a standard payment option.
Work with established brands like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and PayPal for added security and ease of use.
#2 The era of social shopping
Social media channels are increasingly becoming transactional platforms instead of just for advertising or branding.
According to an article by Forbes, one in four business owners are selling through Facebook, and 40% are using the power of social media to drive sales.
In China, social buying is already a big thing, with 55% of users reporting they have bought or paid for goods or services directly on a social app.
For e.g., in WeChat many sellers have micro-shops, selling anything from skincare products to homemade cakes. Payment is made directly on the social messaging app via the WeChat Wallet.
Private messaging services such as Snapchat and Facebook Messenger are also jumping on the social shopping bandwagon.
In 2018, Facebook filed a payments patent that hinted at plans to establish Messenger for ecommerce, allowing users to browse and pay for products. With P2P payments already set up on Messenger since 2017, it looks like Facebook shopping is likely to be introduced in 2019.
Establish a strong customer following on Instagram , Snapchat and Facebook so you can be first off the block to sell direct on English social media.
#3 Enter the robots
AI-based solutions are becoming more common in transportation, education, healthcare and also retail.
Top ecommerce retailers such as Amazon, eBay and Rakuten are already using AI for product recommendations, buyer behaviour predictions, image-based searches and logistics management.
Alibaba recently announced the launch of an AI-based copywriting tool to help its online merchants generate product information. The tool can produce 20,000 lines of copy a second.
As AI continues to blossom, online retailers have much to gain from adopting available systems and tools.
If you are an online retailer, consider using chatbots and virtual assistants like Shoptagr to enhance the user experience for your customers.
#4 Introducing subscription ecommerce
Today, consumers are seeking personalised shopping experiences that deliver directly to their doorstep.
The appeal and demand of a personalised and convenient ecommerce model has given rise to the subscription ecommerce market.
According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, subscription ecommerce has grown by more than 100% a year over the last five years, with the largest retailers generating more than US$2.6 billion in sales in 2016.
Retail giants including P&G, Sephora and Walmart have also taken to launching their own subscription businesses.
Closer to home, MDS Collections recently introduced a subscription service where members can receive up to four new outfits of their choice every month, whereas Boxgreen sends their subscribers a box of healthy snacks based on their preferred frequency.
Start by offering hot or trending items as part of your first subscription box.
In the retail business, two things are paramount – giving your customers the products they want and a great shopping experience. Keep up with the trends or the competition might beat you with it!