As always, CES put on a great show complete with informative sessions, innovative technology, and an impressive lineup of top brands. The Ally team has been attending since 2015, and every year, the majority of the conversation centers around 4-5 main themes.

Check out Our Top 5 Takeaways From CES 2018 for a look back at last year’s trends. Interestingly, some of them carried over to this year, but CES 2019 also brought about some new discussions. Here’s what brand manufactures need to pay attention to in the coming year.

1. Brands continue to struggle with how to sell on Amazon.

Amazon is the unavoidable elephant in the room for many brands: Is there a good way to capitalize on the demand without giving up control over your brand and pricing? As brand manufacturers continue to struggle with the dominance of Amazon and what it means for their business, many will look for ways to make the inevitable collaboration mutually beneficial.

2. The consumer experience is just as important as ever before.

As consumers demand smarter, better, and faster shopping experiences, brand manufacturers will need to create opportunities to make painless and easy-to-buy options for their customers. This means that building a consistent experience across the globe — even as localization becomes more prominent — will continue to be a priority for digitally-savvy eCommerce brands. To differentiate themselves, these brands must focus on digital insights, clear consumer journeys, customer journey mapping, and more. Check out our solutions page to learn how we can help with this.

3. Digital healthcare will become more prominent.

There’s no denying it: The health and fitness sectors are continuing to gain momentum with consumers. Brands are having great influence by offering consumers an affordable, simple option for everything from self-care products to medical devices. We’ll see an uptick in many areas — including at-home health kits, natural sleep solutions, and telemedicine programs — that provide affordable options for consumers.

As this sector continues to grow, brands in regulated categories will increasingly need to consider how HIPAA and prescription management requirements can be met online. Managing these complexities will become a significant hurdle for brands in these categories to sell direct to consumer. For many brands, exploring the opportunities of DTC processes, analytics, and data will allow them to stay compliant while also modernizing to meet consumer demand.

Ally Commerce CEO, Jeff Cashman, has been invited to speak at the Medtrade Spring conference. Get the details on his session, “The Opportunities and Challenges of Selling Online.

4. We’re beginning to feel the weight of tariffs

If you weren’t looking for it, you might have missed the giant phone reading “Tariffs are taxes” in the middle of the South Hall corridor at CES 2019. But that doesn’t mean the message — that more and more businesses are losing significant profit due to tariffs — didn’t resonate across the conference on a larger scale.

As brands continue to rely on the global market to manage their supply chain and grow their profits, legislation will continue to be a hot topic. US businesses have paid over $6 billion in tariffs since October 2017, and as more and more businesses spend an increasing amount of time on working with imposed tariffs, the need for representatives to negotiate fairer deals will become more significant.

5. Voice assistants took center stage.

To provide better customer experiences, many brands are focusing on the mobile journey for their clients, which includes integrating voice assistants into their eCommerce strategy for a more personal and efficient buying process.

And that’s a good thing. According to a recent study, nearly 1 in 5 Americans currently has access to a smart speaker. That’s 47.3 million U.S. adults who either own, or are a secondary user, to voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. As voice assistants continue to grow in popularity, examples of better purchase journeys will include smart grocery shopping, voice authentication security measures, and predictive purchasing options. While only a limited number of people are currently using Alexa or the like to shop, voice assistants will become instrumental in making recommendations about which products to buy. Brands need to have an understanding of and strategy for this channel.

Not sure how to navigate these trends? Our team can help. Reach out today to talk to an expert and have your questions answered.