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What 2018 brought us... and what 2019 will bring

As we look back on January, we realize much of our growth wouldn't be possible without the solid base built in 2018.

That's why we took some time to reflect on what exactly 2018 brought us - and how exactly did we level up.

You can find the whole infographic here.

2018 has been the year of unprecedented growth. We've done more projects and more integrations, hired more people and got more certificates, launched more sites and travelled more than ever before.

As a result, we got some pretty cool numbers to show you.

But honestly, it's not only that.

It's that we grew in ways which are now enabling us to help our clients flourish even more. We've teamed up with Magento, PayPal and HiConversion on the Mobile Optimization Initiative and we couldn't be prouder that we got a chance to see what 2019 will bring - first hand.

Those people we teamed up with (and some pretty cool guys and gals from the Magento community) share their thoughts on what we can expect in 2019.

Eric Erway, Senior Product Manager at Magento, an Adobe Companycomments on Progressive Web Apps (PWA):

"Today’s mobile shopping experiences are falling short on consumer expectations. This is especially true now that mobile traffic is higher than desktop. Smartphones account for more than half of all online visits (51.4%) but less than one third (31%) of revenue according to a recent Adobe Analytics Holiday report. New capabilities from Google, Apple and others along with Progressive Web Applications (PWA) can help address this opportunity through app-like experiences (including payments) resulting in significantly higher conversion for merchants. Magento has recently launched PWA Studio with Magento 2.3 giving developers the ability to quickly and easily build, optimize and deploy these experiences on top of the leading platform for open commerce innovation."

Aron Stanic, Head of Marketing at Inchoo, full service e-commerce agency and an active Magento community member adds to the same topic:

"Progressive Web Applications have been somewhat of a buzzword recently, but the jury is still out on how and when will they make a more comprehensive impact on the eCommerce world. In my book, 2019 will be the year of early adopters - we've seen many different solutions and "solutions" out there, and first eCommerce websites on Magento (if we're looking at Magento ecosystem) are starting to pop up. You have the official PWA Studio, Vue Storefront, Deity, ScandiPWA, you name it - they all bring something to the table, and this competition is very healthy as it also spreads the word about PWAs. The concept itself - decoupling frontend from backend - should allow for much more flexibility further down the line, and enable an additional boost of creativity in the world where more often than not the choice of the platform (and its architecture) dictated UX decisions. PWAs are coming, and they are coming strong - so the time to invest in this area, whether you are a merchant, an agency or an individual developer looking to improve his skillset, is now.“

On the other side, we have this amazing community driven initiative to help close the mobile gap. We have proudly been its member from day one and we have worked on testing, testing (and some more testing) of the checkout process with Magento, PayPal and HiConversion. Here, Tim Bohn, Director of Marketing at HiConversion explains importance of a common effort focused on one goal:

"It’s no revelation to anyone that we are rapidly moving from mobile friendly to mobile first to, for many, mobile only. And while time spent on mobile continues to climb, mobile conversions lag significantly behind desktop conversions. In 2019 and beyond, closing this mobile conversion gap will be one of the most critical success factors for anyone in eCommerce. Obviously, testing is a key factor in optimizing for mobile. However, looking at possible variations (from only five wallet payment types!) shows there are over 2 million different configurations that could be tested. Far too many variations for any one merchant to test alone.  With an immediate need to optimize for mobile and a staggeringly large number of possible variations to consider, how do you test, learn and adapt at the speed required to optimize your mobile experience now? This question is what led us to work with Magento and PayPal to develop a community based collaborative optimization effort where we work together to test, learn and adapt at the speed of mobile. It is a collaboration which serves as a proof we all move forward – solution providers, agencies, merchants - when we move together.“

Phillip Jackson, eCommerce Evangelist and Digital Strategist at Something Digital adds to the topic of common effort, this time from "building a relationship with your customer“ standpoint.

"I believe the future of mobile commerce in 2019 is all about the guided selling process. Instead of making a customer choose attributes that they think will work for them, you should ask them who they are and what they're looking for. This type of "Guided Commerce" is revolutionizing the way products are sold online - from skin creme to washers and dryers. Guided selling fascinates me because it allows the retailer to understand their customers better than ever. Rather than rely on a customer's choice and trying to discern their persona or demographic so we can segment them - we ask them questions and let them segment themselves! What can you really learn about consumers as they slice and dice your catalog? What can you learn after they abandon? Were they overwhelmed by choice? How can we remarket to them if we don't know the answer to these questions? Guided Commerce changes all of this by allowing us to learn who our customer is, what they're looking for, and to tailor all future experiences around that segment.“

Comment of Makiko Ara, Director of Digital Marketing at Total Product Marketing, plays nicely with what Erik, Aron, Tim and Phillip said. She brings to focus, once again, the type of experience we want our customers to have:

"Lagging mobile conversion rates continue to be a thorn in the side of marketers and merchants alike. Unlike any technology before it, the mobile phone provides brands with unparalleled access to reach users at an intimate level. This new level of familiarity between user and technology has created a new standard of expectation—where the user expects brands to know their preferences, speak their language, and provide seamless shopping experiences.  Since its inception, the Mobile eCommerce Optimization Initiative has brought together merchants, system integrators, technologists, and eCommerce experts to improve the mobile eCommerce experience for shoppers and boost mobile conversions rates. Only through accelerated learnings from the community, and a data-driven approach to experimentation, will we be able to provide the kinds of experiences that our customers crave!“

Our own Ali Ahmed wraps the topic nicely with the following comment:

"Mobile conversions and ease of use are constant issues with clients and ones that we pride ourselves on being apt to address in design and development. We see 2019 as a year during which we give merchants the ability to see and follow the logic and progression of their customers experience through data-driven testing and optimization. Traditional methods leave merchants guessing as to why or what is lowering their conversions, where a truly 4D data model based on live experiences allows the merchant to pinpoint pain-points and address complex customer experience issues that impact their bottom line. We are excited about the opportunity to implement new technologies such as PWA on one hand, while joining community driven initiatives on the other. Combined, they will help us answer the most common - and most important - merchant questions: "What works?“, "What doesn't?“ and "How can we make it work for our brand?"

What are your thoughts on 2019 and everything we can expect?

Are there some buzzwords that peaked your interest, some trends you see staying for a long period of time? Let us know in the comment section below.

And in case you're interested in PWA, unified commerce, guided commerce or anything that our guests might have mentioned, but you simply don't know where to start when it comes to applying any (or all) of those to your store, contact us and we'll help you get ahead of the curve.

IM lettermark
Founded in 2011, IM Digital is a full-service e-commerce agency for D2C, B2B, and retail brands ready to become a household name.

IM Digital helps bold brands become big with a combo of technology, strategy, and creativity.
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