Buying and selling goods online has become so commonplace, that rarely a day goes by without us making some online purchases
The influence of ecommerce today is so huge, that it accounted for a whopping $2.3 trillion in sales in 2017 and the figures are predicted to reach a massive $4.5 trillion by 2021. In the US alone, ecommerce accounts for 10% of all retail sales, with the numbers estimated to increase by 15% every year.
With that said, just setting up an online store isn’t enough to drive sales, and boost revenues. To taste success in the hyper-competitive world of ecommerce, it’s essential to stay ahead of the curve. Here, in today’s article, you can take a look at the top ecommerce technological innovations and trends that are altering the online shopping experience like never before.
Ecommerce Trends to Watch Out For:
You probably would be familiar with geo-targeting done by retail brick and mortar stores. When a customer walks in the vicinity of a store, the in-store mobile app sends push notifications to the customer’s Smartphone and alerts him/her to the latest sales and offers.
Geo-targeting does wonders for the retail shopping industry, as it combines the power of both online and offline shopping.
What about location-based selling for ecommerce stores? Sure, there are plenty of responsive ecommerce websites that use geolocation tools. But, is it possible for online stores to target customers solely based on their locations?
Today, consumers make purchase decisions on the go. They browse their mobile phones while commuting to and from work while heading out to eat and even while at work. It’s essential for ecommerce stores to target these customers, and understand how they make spur-of-the-moment purchase decisions.
You can expect geographically targeted discounts offered to customers based on their real-time location. For instance, a customer may see a push notification stating that they can pick up a particular dress at a lower price, right when they are shopping for dresses in physical retail stores.
Here’s another example that explains geographically targeted discounts and deals. Say, you own supplement store online. You can partner with gyms and fitness clubs, and every time a new customer signs up at the gym, you can send him/her discounts for your range of supplements.
Long gone are the days when customers had to wait for several days on end to receive their online purchases. With the introduction of services like Amazon Prime, same-day or two-day delivery has become the industry standard
However, customers are not ready to wait for even that long. With the popularity of drones, expect super-fast deliveries like one or two-hour delivery, in the next few years
Another ecommerce trend that is gaining popularity is “Order Online and Pickup at a Store.” Customers can place their orders online, and the ecommerce app will direct them to the nearest affiliate from where they can pick up their orders within minutes
Today, ecommerce vendors are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate their business from the e-retail giants like Amazon, Alibaba, Flipkart (Walmart). To ensure that small ecommerce vendors stand out – they are focusing more on improving the customer experience.
Customers no longer wanted to be treated as part of a general mass. Instead, they highly appreciate businesses that provide them with a high degree of personalization. Small ecommerce vendors seek the help of an ecommerce website development services company, to integrate AI technology in their online stores.
Advanced technologies like AI – Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are used to provide customers with a high degree of personalization. AI holds massive potential for ecommerce companies since it provides dynamic and adaptable targeting. Using AI, ecommerce companies can show products that are linked to the user’s interests, which they are more likely to purchase.
What more, AI-driven personalization doesn’t just boost conversion rates but also helps to inculcate the relationships between customers and the ecommerce vendors, thereby turning them into loyal, lifelong customers.
13% of all households in the US owned a smart speaker in 2017, and the number is predicted to increase to a massive 55% by 2022. Most of you would probably have used your Google Home or Alexa to provide you the day’s weather report. But, did you know that your voice-activated speakers can do more?
For instance, take the case of Amazon’s Alexa. When a user asks for a product recommendation, Alexa is likely to show results having the “Amazon’s Choice” badge. This is a huge benefit for ecommerce sellers who have partnered with Amazon.
Experts predict that with the soaring popularity of these voice-activated speakers, voice-powered shopping will become as common as desktop browsing in the next few years.
Augmented Reality has been around for some time, and there are tons of games like the famous Pokemon Go that are blurring the line between the digital world and the real world. More and more ecommerce retailers are realizing the potentials of using AR, to provide customers with an elevated shopping experience.
For instance, consider the AR app IKEA Place, which uses AR technology to let customers envision how a particular piece of furniture will look like in their homes, before making a decision. The AR and VR market is estimated to reach a massive $209.2 billion by 2022.
Today, AR and VR technologies are one of the most sought-after b2c and b2b eCommerce website features, and more and more ecommerce store owners are wooing shoppers using these technologies. From virtually trying on clothes to envisioning the same product in different colors, AR and VR are all set to provide customers with an enhanced shopping experience like never before.
Today’s customers are highly savvy. They are questioning everything from – the origin of their foods to the sustainability and environmental decisions made by brands. Blockchain, the revolutionary technology powering crypto currencies can help add transparency to supply chains, providing consumers with answers to all their queries.
Walmart is one of the pioneers in the industry to integrate the potentials of blockchain with online shopping. The mega-retail giant is experimenting with blockchain technology to track drone-delivered packages in real-time and has also submitted a patent for a “Smart Package,” that provides various info like origin, current location, environmental conditions and more.
Blockchain adds more than transparency to the online shopping journey. It can also play a huge role in streamlining payments, and speeding up transactions, with improved security.
This is not a new technology and has been available on Amazon for some years now. This technology was recently licensed out to other companies like Apple Inc since Amazon’s patent on it expired. Since then one-click checkouts have made their way into several online retailers.
The benefits of one-click checkout are many: it reduces shopping cart abandonment rates, helps customers make repeat transactions quickly, thereby boosting overall sales.
Chatbots have been around for some time now. But, today’s chatbots have come a long, long way. Today chatbots are powered by neural networks, machine learning, and even AI technology. The result – they are highly intuitive and can provide customers with exceptional customer services.
Their lightning fast responses, accurate info, 24 x 7 availability, meeting all customer demands – big and small – make chatbots the future of customer service in online shopping. What more, chatbots can store large volumes of data compared to regular human customer service agents; thereby they can provide customers with high levels of personalization and instant service.
A glance at your social newsfeed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest reveals that there are plenty of pop-ups advertising direct purchase via social media networks. Nearly 82% of online consumers in the USA in a survey stated that they had purchased a product directly from social media platforms in 2018.
The power of social commerce is huge, and both ecommerce retailers and social media platforms are reaping the benefits of it. For instance, Instagram makes it possible for users to click on a picture that directly takes them to the corresponding product page and in Pinterest users can click on a pin to reach the product page directly.
All this boosts customer traffic to ecommerce stores, thereby increasing conversions and boosting sales.
One of the biggest challenges for ecommerce retailers is that – they are unable to replicate the shopping experience offered by physical stores. Even today, people love visiting retail stores, touching and feeling the goods on display, trying out products and just enjoying the exhilarating thrills of being in the store. Online shopping doesn’t offer this tactile experience
This is where innovative technologies help online retailers by merging the gap between online and offline shopping. For instance, popular brands like Walmart, Delta Airlines, eBay and others are using pop-up storefronts to help their customers enjoy the shopping experience
For instance, big brands use “memory mirror technologies” powered by RFID tags to allow shoppers to try on virtual outfits before making a decision. Similarly, using iPads in fitting rooms help customers to check out reviews, find out the sizes available and make other informed choices
Take the example of Rebecca Minkoff, an American fashion brand that has partnered with Magento ecommerce website development agency, to create a “Smart In-store Dressing Room.” Users can create a profile for them, and then the smart fitting room stores various info like – the apparel tried on by users, what they purchased and what they left behind. This helps the app send the right notifications to users when a particular product is available on sale
This is just the starting of the “In-store Digital Experience.” As the technology catches on, customers can expect a seamless shopping experience, one that bridges online and offline shopping.
The future is bright for ecommerce retailers. From new technologies that offer high-levels of personalization to tools that offer accurate, real-time insights – all these innovative technologies are driving ecommerce businesses like never before.
With that said, ecommerce business owners cannot afford to be complacent in today’s hypercompetitive marketplace. Ensure that you keep track of all the latest technologies and innovations, and hire Magento 2 developers to implement these technologies and stay ahead of your competitors and boost your revenues.