Each month, we round up the hottest trends and latest news from the world of eCommerce. In today’s Trend Watch, find out what retailers have been up to in March, discover the products that are likely to be 2018’s best sellers, and get advice on making those final GDPR preparations.
1. Oberlo reveals 2018’s trending products
If 2017 was the year of the fidget spinner, what is 2018 likely to be? Oberlo – the Shopify dropshipping app – has made its predictions, revealing 20 products it expects to sell well this year.
The list – which is based on Google Trends and AliExpress data – reads like a Generation Game conveyor belt. Everything from teeth whitening kits to terrariums make the cut.
2. Retailers question Amazon Marketplace
As Amazon launches Fundamentals A-Z – a new advertising campaign to showcase the breadth of its product range – many are questioning the wisdom of selling through Amazon Marketplace.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing has taken a look at the pros and (mostly) cons of the service for UK exporters, while TradeGecko has added up its (substantial) costs. Kissmetrics and Google are also weighing in, with new advice and advertising tools to help smaller retailers compete with Amazon.
But The Hustle puts it most succinctly: “If Bezos decides to ‘Zuck over’ sellers the way Facebook did with publishers, companies could be in a world of hurt.”
For more, read our post on whether Amazon Marketplace is the best eCommerce platform for you.
3. Retailers embrace live chat for sales
Intercom – the sales, marketing and support messaging platform – launched the free Live Chat for Sales Starter Kit this month. It includes some pretty compelling stats about why you should be using live chat for sales. For instance, a website visitor who engages in chat is 82% more likely to become a customer.
Lemonstand agrees, with its four reasons why eCommerce stores should use live chat to drive sales and loyalty.
Even luxury brands are getting in on the act, as eConsultancy points out. It cites Swiss watch manufacturer Jaeger-LeCoultre, which now has a chatbot to guide customers through the process of buying its timepieces, which are often worth tens of thousands.
4. Generation Z becomes retailers’ next target
Generation Z is defined as the cohort of young people born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. As they reach working and therefore shopping age, they’re set to be the next generation, after milliennials, to be targeted by brands (and stereotyped in a million news articles).
This month, we saw Rakuten Marketing offer retailers wisdom on attracting Gen Z shoppers, while Shopify Masters shone a light on Knixwear, which has created a sister brand to target this new demographic.
Most significant, though, was the news that Amazon is planning to get into banking. It plans to launch “a new checking account that would cater to young people and ‘the unbanked’.” Amazon hopes that by replicating the success of digital-first banks, such as Monzo, it can lure Gen Z away from traditional financial institutions and create a seamless shopping experience.
5. The spectre of GDPR looms ever closer
If you’ve not heard of GDPR yet, where have you been? The European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation has been the subject of countless blog posts and training courses over the last year, and spawned a whole new revenue stream for cyber security consultants.
As the deadline for compliance – 25 May 2018 – looms closer, however, things are starting to get real.
This month, we enjoyed this no-nonsense advice from The Professional Copywriters’ Network, which gives some pointers on what you should and shouldn’t do regarding GDPR and email marketing. Velocity Partners has a lighter-hearted take, revealing what GDPR really means (“Generally Dickish Practice Retirement”) and offering some common sense to help you comply.
That’s all the trends for this month. Sign up below and we’ll send you April’s Trend Watch, plus our usual weekly eCommerce advice in the meantime.