Each month, we round up the hottest trends and latest news from the world of eCommerce. In today’s Trend Watch, we take a look at Amazon and eBay’s staggering 2017 performance, and highlight how Shopping on Instagram could help you sell more.
1. Amazon and eBay report on 2017
Both Amazon and eBay reported their 2017 performance and plans for the future this month.
In his 20th annual letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos unveiled some big numbers – there are now 100 million paid Prime subscribers globally and more than 40 million items were sold by third-party sellers on Prime Day 2017. He also discussed the organisation’s dalliances with brick-and-mortar retail, including the launch of Amazon Go – its “magical” no-checkout shop in Seattle.
An extract from eBay’s annual report revealed equally impressive numbers for the auction site – 100 million sales from 160,000 sellers in Q4 alone. eBay’s other 2017 highlights included new partnerships with brands and artists on exclusive products, updates to its Sellers Hub toolkit, and the launch of its Fill Your Cart With Colour campaign.
For more, read our post on choosing the best eCommerce platform for your online store.
2. Instagram rolls out Shopping update
Following a year’s trial in the US, Instagram finally rolled out its Shopping update to eight more countries at the end of March – the UK, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
Shopping on Instagram enables retailers to tag up to five products per post, so that followers can see what they are, how much they cost, and click through to buy them immediately.
Draper’s has a useful list of tips and examples on how brands are already using the new feature.
For more, read our post on getting traffic to your online store.
3. Brands question social media marketing
With the ongoing furore around Cambridge Analytica and Facebook – and their impact on Trump’s election and the Brexit vote – consumers, politicians and marketers have begun to ask questions about data privacy and social media marketing.
The biggest news was the decision by the founder of pub chain, JD Wetherspoon, to shut down its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.
While many commentators billed the decision as either a massive mistake or a massive PR stunt, others have been more restrained. Mark Ritson suggested it was the decision of “a very smart, very switched-on leader”, who knew his market, products, brand position and objectives. Tamebay then urged retailers to follow suit and “reassess your social media marketing efforts.”
For more, read our advice on social selling for eCommerce.
4. eCommerce’s past informs its future
It’s tempting to think of online shopping as an innovation of the last 10 or so years. But, according to Phrasee, its origins date all the way back to 1979 and a UK entrepreneur called Michael Aldrich.
In its short history of eCommerce, the company charts all the key developments since Aldrich coined the term “teleshopping”, and makes some interesting predictions for the near future.
There more lessons to learn from the past in these posts from Shopify and Ecwid. They share the biggest mistakes that online store founders have made, plus some useful tips on how to avoid them yourself.
For more, read our advice on how to start an eCommerce business.
5. On and offline shopping converge
Like the example of Amazon Go earlier, technology is increasingly making its way into brick-and-mortar stores, while online shopping is becoming more and more lifelike.
This month, we enjoyed this video from TechCrunch about the growth of b8ta – a chain of stores that enables consumers to get hands-on with gadgets that are normally only available online.
That’s all the trends for this month. Sign up below and we’ll send you May’s Trend Watch, plus all of our usual eCommerce advice in the meantime.