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Small business ecommerce predictions for 2019

What business experts say is in store for the coming year.

They say the only constant is change… and 2019 will be no different for ecommerce companies. The most drastic changes expected to arrive in the coming year are a result of gradual progress reaching a tipping point, bringing with them many possibilities.  

In 2019 mobile technology will become more sophisticated, fuelling the continued growth of ecommerce and mobile shopping. These technologies will also help foster a more personalized shopping experience for the consumer, even at scale.

Everything will get more personal

2019 small business predictions

Consumers are hungry for a personal touch in their shopping experience, in spite of (or perhaps as a result of) the rise of automated communications. In the coming year, advances in artificial intelligence will help expand the automated personal touch, helping ecommerce platforms offer more personalization, according to Entrepreneur Magazine’s Daniella Shapiro.

“For 2019, it’s forecasted that approximately 45 per cent of customers would prefer to buy from an ecommerce platform that is personalized,” she writes. “This could mean providing personal recommendations or offering exclusive deals based on a customer’s preferences. Including a ‘Your Wishlist’ or ‘Your Collection’ option makes for a personal touch.”

AI in marketing messages

AI marketing messages

Marketing materials will similarly continue to become more tailored to the individual consumer in the coming year. According to MSN News’ Racheal Muriithi, 2019 will see the use of artificial intelligence as a critical marketing tool, resulting in greater personalization in email communications.

“2018 might see the end of the experimental phase of AI,” writes Muriithi. “It’s also possible to see AI deployed in solving some marketing problems. For instance, some companies may use AI in lead generation.”

Small businesses will abandon their mobile apps

Though mobile apps were all the rage in previous years, small businesses are starting to feel that it’s not worth the cost and effort. In fact, according to data from Gartner, 20 per cent of small businesses will abandon their mobile app in 2019.

“The reasoning is quite simple,” writes Joshua Sophy in a recent Small Business Trends article. “They’re just not worth the investment. Not only is there the initial cost of developing a mobile app. You have to keep it updated, deal with customer problems and then promote it to customers in the hope that they might download it.”

Instead, Gartner suggests that more businesses are using their mobile application budgets to invest in automated customer service tech and chat apps that keep them connected with customers.  

That’s not to say that a mobile presence won’t be important for ecommerce.

In fact, online and mobile shopping is expected to reach $516 billion in 2019, according to a report by Javelin Strategy. Instead of a dedicated application, however, expect small businesses and online stores to provide more mobile-optimized or dedicated mobile sites.


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Jared Lindzon

Jared Lindzon is a freelance journalist based in Toronto, covering a variety of topics, including technology, careers, entrepreneurship, politics and music. His work regularly appears in major publications in Canada, the United States and around the world, including the Globe and Mail, Fast Company, Fortune Magazine, Rolling Stone, Politico, the Guardian and more.

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