Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

Expert Roundup: CEOs discuss eCommerce Consumer Trends

customer trends

What were the trends in eCommerce in 2018? What major changes has the industry seen? Here at ReferralCandy, we gathered the expert opinion of eCommerce app CEOs to tap on their expertise.

Together, these apps serve close to 100,000 merchants and eCommerce brands, and are closest to the various eCommerce brands that cover every industry of the market.

While Amazon and Alibaba sit at the top of the pile, eCommerce remains a hotly contested field with brands of every size competing to serve customers better. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the big question:

eCommerce trends: What is the biggest ecommerce consumer trend that merchants have observed in 2018?

(click to jump to each section)

The Game has changed for Customer Acquisition

customer acquisition

Increased abandoned cart %, and thus a wider focus on the full customer acquisition cycle. Merchants used to plug in a basic “come back” email campaign and that was sufficient. Now, entire brands can be built through come-back measures, sometimes lasting weeks or even months instead of the traditional 1-3-7 day email drip.

This impacts more than just email, with the inclusion of physical mailers (ie postcards), period-based sequential retargeting creatives, and more integrations between tools like Cross Sell and advertisements to decipher and personalize buying intent.

Ryan Kulp, Founder, Fomo | @ryanckulp


customer trendsFocus on community building and customer engagement. Brands that succeed are not necessarily the ones who have the biggest ad spend anymore. A small, tightly-knit and highly engaged community often mean higher revenues than broad reach.

Driving cold traffic can no longer be the sole revenue stream, especially for smaller brands who don’t have millions of advertising dollars to give to Facebook.

Yoni ElbazCo-Founder & CEO, Loox | @looxio


ecommerce trends

Consumers are everywhere. It sounds very simple but it basically defines how merchants need to do their ecommerce business and marketing. The good thing here is that merchants finally understand that and start acting accordingly.

The whole shopping experience is influenced by various different touchpoints and plenty of channels are included into the process – from email to social media or Google. It means that if merchants want to reach their customers and keep their attention, they also need to work on more channels than just usual email marketing. And most importantly, do that in a seamless way.

Rytis Lauris, Co-Founder & CEO, Omnisend | @Omnisend


ecommerce marketing

Consumers always want to experience a brand, product or service before they buy, that’s why video is the key for better ad performance in 2018. I also believe that virtual shopping will be the future.

Alice Ha, Co-founder, CMO, Beeketing | @beeketing


Back To Top

Data Protection of Consumers will be more important than ever

ecommerce marketing strategies2018 saw Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress about Facebook’s data privacy breaches. The GDPR also became enforceable in May and impacted the consumer data practices of any business around the world that deals with consumers in the EU. Safe guarding customer data and privacy has now become a front and center issue that merchants have to plan for.

Dinesh Raju, Co-Founder & CEO, ReferralCandy | @dineshraju



…as will environmental consciousness & personalisation

ecommerce strategiesThis may be an ongoing trend in the recent few years but year by year, healthy and environmental-friendly lifestyle is getting more and more traction. 2018 may be the year where it almost peaked and this can certainly be seen in new manufacturers and retailers flourishing in this space, creating a more competitive marketplace for each other and also offering a wider range of products for shoppers to pick from.

Burc Tanir, Co-Founder & CEO, Prisync | @prisyncCom


referral programsEach year we closely work with many Shopify merchants, and exchange ideas on how to improve the online shopping experience. I can say that customizable products played a big part in our conversations with our customers. Millennials conquer the economy more and more every day, market expectation is also shifting unexpectedly. As a millennial I think we are a generation looking for different ways to express ourselves, and this is reflected in our shopping preferences. We tend to shop for unique products. Businesses recognized this trend and trying to adapt to this market shift by offering personalization. More brands started offering customizable options and letting customer build the final product. We see this in almost all industries.

Another trend that I have noticed is the Environmental emphasis on manufacturing and the importance of sustainable products. Consumers value this very much, and that is likely to continue in 2019. from.

Ugurcan Kaya, Co-Founder & CEO, Pasilobus | @PasilobusHQ


marketing strategiesGlobalization was a huge trend in 2018, and multi-currency, multi-lingual, and cross-border capabilities all took big strides this past year. Selling internationally is becoming easier than ever, especially now that we can customize the shopping experience across different geographical locations by allowing customers to shop (and check out) in their local currency & language, and offering international shipping. This helps us to create a natural, localized feel for consumers no matter where in the world they’re located.

Yvan Boisjoli, CEO, Bold | @bold_commerce


Back To Top

Mobile is the preferred device for shoppers

Nick Raushenbush
Mobile continues to steal device dominance from desktop and laptop. If eCommerce merchants want to stay relevant, they will need to build compelling and simple shopping experiences for consumers browsing on their smartphones and tablets.

Nick Raushenbush, Co Founder, Shogun | @shogunbuilder



marketing campaignThe increase in mobile shopping online. Overall sales aren’t as high on mobile as desktop, but they are closing the gap. This gap will only lessen as more and more people become comfortable shopping on their phones/tablets and responsive design removes more friction with shopping on a device. I also see tools like ApplePay & PayPal having a massive impact on the adoption of mobile over desktop.

Brett Thoreson, Founder & CEO, CartStack | @CartStack



referral marketingRise in mobile shopping usage has been the biggest eCommerce consumer trend for 2018. For this reason, marketers need to ensure that their site is mobile optimized and user-friendly. This will help drive more conversions. Also, online security plays an important role, especially now with transactions done through one-touch payments and digital wallets. As such, one needs to undertake appropriate security measures to ensure that customer data/privacy is not compromised.

Social Media advertising for eCommerce is another trend that has seen a substantial growth. Apart from improving customer engagement, social media allows you to run re-targeting ads based on the browsing history of your site’s visitors. This also leads to personalization, which enables you to build a trusted-relationship with your target audience.

Nirav Dave, Co-Founder & CTO, Capsicum Mediaworks and LeadForest | @cmwdesignagency


referral campaign
We’ve seen the mobile and cross device trend that has been going on for a few years continue to play a very important role. Merchants are becoming increasingly aware of the many touch points visitors have with their site before making a purchase. More and more buyer journeys are including multiple devices and numerous channels.

David Linell, Co-Founder & CEO, Divvit | @divvithq


customer marketing trendsMobile is eating Desktop’s lunch. We all have known that shift had been happening, but the transition is almost fully complete. 70% of ecommerce store visits now come from mobile devices.

Ben Jabbawy, Founder & CEO, Privy | @Privy



Back To Top

Well, there you have it: the biggest shifts in 2018 from the perspective of consumers.

Want more wisdom from these wise CEOs and apps? Check out what they said about what ecommerce retailers most wanted in 2018, and what the impact of marketplaces will be in 2019.


Raúl Galera

Raúl Galera

Raúl is ReferralCandy's partner manager.