If you are an e-commerce solopreneur in 2019, there is no shortage of challenges.
Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount and the variety of tasks you need to handle in your business?
Do you feel that just as you are starting to feel comfortable with a certain aspect of the job, or that you are just about to caught up, that you’ve lost control over other parts of your business?
Don’t worry, you are not alone! We understand how you feel!
Since you have to contend with all of the latest trends, as well as your own limits in terms of time, energy, and resources, we are here to simplify your life.
We have compiled a list of 5 unavoidable challenges for e-commerce in 2019.
1. E-commerce in 2019 is more than mobile
Online sales are quickly growing in Canada. From 40 billion US dollars in 2018, they are projected to increase to 44 billion US dollars in 2019.
Mobile devices are more and more used to make purchases online. In 2017, 32% of Canadians used a mobile device to make an online purchase. Needless to say, this trend will only continue to grow.
However, mobile e-commerce too is quickly evolving.
What is the key in 2019?
Progressive Web App is the new method to provide a faster, more fluid browsing experience to your customers.
What is a Progressive Web App (PWA)?
Progressive web applications are web applications that load like regular web pages or websites but work offline.
How does it work? A PWA does not rely on a web server to load each page, but rather transfers that task to the mobile device, regardless of the user’s browser, device or connection.
The user experience is improved because the interface looks like a native application. And your PWA appears in Google search results since it is a website.
The browsing experience is easier and quicker, and the development costs for the entrepreneur is greatly diminished since the application runs both on iOS and Android.
Why is this challenge unavoidable?
Download speed are 2 to 10 times faster than mobile sites since users don’t download the full content of the PWA before using it. They can therefore access the content much faster through a URL. Since no downloading is required, a PWA only uses a small portion of the mobile device’s memory.
And now that Google’s algorithm considers fast-loading pages in its ranking calculations, it is obvious that sites using a PWA will benefit with a higher ranking in search results.
What will happen then with apps as we know them? Experts agree they will be phased out.
So, should you invest in changing your mobile website in a PWA? Consider: when the prestigious cosmetic brand Lancôme changed its website using this tool, its conversion rate increased by 17% and its mobile sessions by 51%.
2. E-commerce in 2019 is more than social
There used to be a time where social media was used mostly to stay in contact with friends and family. We are way beyond this now, and in 2019, social media is becoming an integrated shopping experience.
How so? A user that discovers a product he likes can also purchase it on the same platform.
In China, 55% of users have already purchased goods or services from a social app.
Here are some stats from the US:
- 87% of online shoppers believe that social media help them decide whether or not to make a purchase
- 25% of businesses sell through Facebook
- 40% of merchants use social media to generate sales
- 30% of consumers claim to be willing to purchase directly through social media
Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest already allow users to purchase goods and services directly through their platform. Increasingly popular private messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Facebook Messenger, are also following this trend.
3. E-commerce in 2019 is all about Amazon
Amazon is the giant that cannot be toppled (for now).
With such a competitor, can anyone really hope to have a piece of the pie? YES.
One solution is competitive shipping.
The challenge in 2019 for e-commerce is a seamless transition between orders processing and shipping.
Unless you are able to ship packages quickly, at minimal cost, and with the entire order, consumers will turn to Amazon.
Amazon now has 180 warehouses, 28 sortation centers, and 59 local shipping hubs. It is estimated that almost 50% of the population in the United States live less than 32 km from an Amazon Prime warehouse or shipping hub.
Clearly then, in order to compete with this giant, you must be able to provide very fast shipping.
In Canada, FedEx’s and Canada Post’s Priority delivery service, or UPS’ Express service provides a next-day delivery guarantee.
However, this service comes with a premium that your customers may not be willing to pay for or that you may be unable to afford.
There is little we can do about shipping fees… So, what CAN you do?
Did you know that 20% of your shipping costs could be reimbursed?
Every day, up to 20% of Canada Post’s Expedited Parcel, Xpresspost and Priority services are delivered late. Canada Post could reimburse you for these shipping costs, even if only late by one day!
You could track all of your packages and make the claims yourself… Or entrust the task to Buster Fetcher. Click here to find out how it works!
If you would just like to know how much money you could get back, test it out here.
E-commerce in 2019 is increasingly dominated by Amazon, but that doesn’t mean you are doomed!
Getting regular refunds for late deliveries may allow you to provide a quicker delivery to your customers. Now that is a viable competitive strategy!
4. E-commerce in 2019 is artificial
Artificial intelligence (AI) generates personalized content for each individual and better understands their preferences so that you can best meet their needs and expectations.
In practice, how does AI help the entrepreneur?
You may have a large quantity of information on the browsing and purchasing habits of your customers. This big data is only useful if you can analyze it to reveal patterns and trends that lead to better decisions and strategies. This is where AI comes into play.
Many big brands now use AI – more specifically Machine Learning – to analyze all this data and offer their customers better products and options, at just the right moment. This is the principle of personalization.
For example, the retail chain Stokes increased its online revenues by 26% the first year after implementing Dynamic Yield, an AI-based conversion optimization tool.
Sounds complicated and expensive. After all, we are only beginning to see AI applied to e-commerce. Its use will only expand in the coming months and years.
Better get on board sooner than later!
5. E-commerce in 2019 is ethical
Years of overconsumption, excessive packaging, and intensive pollution are pushing conscious consumers to change their shopping habits and make more ethical choices.
Your customers may already be asking you where your goods are manufactured, how they are tested, if you can ship them in fully recyclable materials, etc.
In other words, it is high time to make sure your brand is socially responsible.
Moreover, you could target a cause your customers feel strongly about, and invest a portion of your profits or time in it. Giving back will never be out of trend.
E-commerce in 2019 is undergoing rapid change, and you may feel overwhelmed at times…
Instead of worrying about the future and drawing up all sorts of disaster scenarios, focus your strategies on the 5 challenges described in this article.
And you are sure to remain relevant!