In the ever-changing world of business, we at Zebra 360 Online Marketing always say there’s only three constants: customers want a great experience, companies want to remain competitive, and everyone wants to get things done more effectively. So there’s little wonder that even more then trend-setting, staying ahead of the trends is a key marketing focus. That’s no matter what your brand or industry is!

Digital marketing can be an even trickier industry than most to predict, given the vast annual shifts in technology we see. It’s a little like a delicate juggling act during an earthquake- you’re never too sure if the plate will fall or the ground be jerked out from underneath your feet first. While it’s tempting to get swept up in the tide of the technological revolution, truly smart marketing comes from knowing what tools are available to you, identifying your challenges, then choosing the way ahead that’s right for your needs. Only once you have that nailed down can you use any form of rising trend to boost your marketing attempts.

With that in mind, here’s a brief overview of the main e-commerce trends, directions and challenges you’ll need to face this year.

What’s new in digital marketing?

Video marketing has been the black horse of recent years in the digital marketing industry. While some signs were there even before then, 2018 has truly seen the rise and rise of the (online) video star. If you’re looking for effective ways to market in 2019, video had best feature prominently in the plan.

Likewise, Augmented Reality is finally making something of the looming threat of Virtual Reality. Tech-heads have been promising VR as ‘the next biggest thing’ for so long we’ve all learned to ignore them. While true VR remains little more than an entertainment-industry gimmick, however, Augmented Reality came up fast and hard and is showing no signs of going anywhere. Not sure what AR is? The best possible example was Pokemon Go… it’s the process of overlaying VR features onto a real, existing landscape. Developing AR content for apps allows your customers to interact with products as if they are right there in the room with them- and we can all see the power of that.

What’s trendy in the digital space?

The rise of the mobile tech industry remains a massive trend all smart digital marketers need to pay attention to. If you aren’t catering for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, you’re losing out on massive chunks of your audience- and those numbers are swelling every day. Folks aren’t even typing out questions in Google any more- they’re asking Alexa and Siri for that product or that address. Make sure your company can still be found!

Likewise, we’ve reached the year where ‘marketplaces’ dominate the digital sales arena. Be it Wish, Amazon, ebay, Etsy or any of the myriad other mixed-marketplace vendors, they’re more likely to see traffic than your niche, single-brand site. People are drawn in by the chance to read real reviews from users like them, as well as the wealth of choice open to them in these spaces. Use these digital marketplaces to position your own brand smartly, so more eyes see you.

Personalisation remains a key trend for 2019. Gone is the era of cookie-cutter sales techniques. Make sure each and every visitor to your online presences experiences what they most want to see- even down to Dynamic Website Personalization and adaptive landing pages that swap out the pictures displayed based on existing trend data for that visitor. Coupled with personalisation we have the constant presence of data and analytics. Know how your customer found you, where they found you, and what their sales journey was if you want to remain competitive.

What challenges face digital marketers?

Money is tight, and many economies are not exactly thriving. So the news that digital ad costs are increasing, now the idea of a digital ad presence has become mainstream, is probably not welcome. In the U.S it’s increasing at 5 times inflation, a scary thought at the best of times.

Additionally, organic reach is becoming ever more throttled, and the influencer spaces are getting crowded. Influencers are still charging more, yes, because competition for their services is strong- but they’re reaching less audience at the same time. Plus, they’re starting to feel a touch of the backlash aimed at ‘big business’ for ‘being inauthentic’. Balancing the undoubted leverage they still command with higher demands and less return will be a tricky tightrope to walk this year.

Lastly, it can come as no surprise that e-Commerce is on the rise overall. There’s more competition at every turn. From established markets to brand-new niches, it’s getting crowded out there, so it’s more important than ever to know how to market yourself and stay well positioned.

With the continued rise of trends we spotted in 2018, the addition of some fascinating new technologies to add even more potential to the digital landscape, and some brewing issues with cost-effectiveness and budget, 2019 is set to be an interesting year in the digital marketing space. Why not let the experienced team at Zebra 360 Online Marketing help you make the very best of your marketing attempts this year?