While markets such as China and the US have been at the forefront of the e-commerce industry for some time, according to Nasdaq the UK is the second largest e-commerce purchasing nation in Europe next to Norway, and it is thought that "95% of purchases will be facilitated by e-commerce" by 2040.

Bearing this dramatic shift in mind, if you've been toying with the idea of creating an e-commerce store, now is as good a time as any. The process is easy for novices and beginners alike: simply choose a hosting provider, ideally one that has a wide selection of templates to suit your needs, and you're ready to get started. For those who already have an online store set up, there are some key e-commerce trends to pay attention to for 2018.

Augmented Reality

This is perhaps top of the list for 2018, and everyone is extremely excited to see it fully materialise. One of the most popular examples of augmented reality (AR) in e-commerce is the Swedish furniture company, IKEA: they have developed an app called IKEA Place which allows customers to preview furniture in their own home. While this use of AR has already begun to take over the home décor world, it will also become popular amongst the fashion and cosmetics industries. AR promises to enhance the customer experience in leaps and bounds, allowing customers to visualise products in their everyday life. It also personalises the shopping experience, while making it more exciting at the same time.


In recent years, one e-commerce trend that has really grown in popularity is the notion of brand storytelling. These days simple marketing just doesn't cut it anymore. E-commerce sites used to be filled with simple blog posts that made some brands seem lifeless and uninteresting. Nowadays, however, brands are coming to life with storytelling in the form of engaging video, photo and written content. Adding a unique flare of personality, storytelling lends itself very well to building a brand rather than a faceless corporation. This, in turn, will set your online shop apart from the rest and create a loyal customer base.

Chat Bots

With rapid developments in artificial intelligence, using chat bots in e-commerce no longer has to be considered the wrong move. Saving time, costs and effort, implementing a sophisticated chat bot system could be a wise move for improving your customer service coverage. These days, customers are growing to expect near-instant gratification in many areas, including customer service. However, offering customer service 24/7 can put too much strain on staff, especially in small to medium businesses. With this in mind, a trend towards chat bots may well be valuable in 2018, at least for use during periods of high demand or on public holidays.