June 28, 2017
The world of eCommerce has certainly come a long way since its dawn in the ’90s, thanks to the continuous innovation of technology
Marketing experts have predicted seven trends that will impact the retail industry through eCommerce in 2017 — a year that is considered the most promising yet. Here are the upcoming trends to look for this year:
1. More advanced payment options and methods
Payment through mobile has been on the rise since the popularization of Smartphones. This paved way to the magic of contactless payments. This means that consumers are no longer required to take out, use, tap, and swipe their credit cards when shopping—even from home. Orders can be made with a fingerprint or online pin number. Many companies and businesses are trying to keep up with this technology and are developing their systems through mobile applications.
In 2016, more and more customers adopted digital payment types through all channels, using their phones, cards and even watches to complete contactless payments – this is set to continue and expand in 2017. PureNet predicts that every customer will expect to be able to complete their transaction using a digital wallet.
2. Bullet Deliveries
Today’s fast-paced life has effectively made next-day deliveries seem slow. Today, more and more businesses and third-party courier companies are attempting to deliver online orders the same day. Over the last few years, eCommerce delivery timescales were drastically shortened, and that means they have become much more precise.
Experts say that consumers can expect to see the rise of local drop-off points for online orders and same-day delivery this year. It is deemed possible since some giant companies have already started the trend, given that 29 percent of consumers would be willing to pay extra for faster delivery time. Returns will be treated similarly.
PureNet predicts a rise in same-day delivery in 2017 as well as more eCommerce integrations with drop-off point providers.
3. Personalized shopping experience via AI
An individualized shopping experience is to be expected in 2017 with artificial intelligence (AI) now being used to increase the level of personalizing eCommerce and online shopping.
The rise of digital assistants has got people used to talking to machines, especially if they are buying something online. This technology will most likely impact online retailers, whose products target a wide range of customers, and not simply a ‘one size fits all’ type. According to analysts, this will impact “eCommerce as the beginning stage of the research process may be increasingly conducted by chatting to a personal assistant.”
A more personalized shopping experience is also coming consumers’ way, with companies collecting behavioral data from each website visitor and moving on to developing highly-targeted campaigns based on customer segments and previous online experiences. Through this technology, products and services that are most likely interesting to each customer will pop out as ads in any platform online. This can now be seen in social networking sites’ ads and sponsored posts.
4. Meet Chatbots
Chatbots are artificial intelligence-led automated messenger services that allow customers to interact with you via instant messenger. Many shopping websites, social networking platforms and mobile eCommerce apps are developing integrated bots to assist consumers in shopping and offer customer service. Thanks to eCommerce personalization, two trends combine to deliver a new way of shopping and communicating. In fact, Facebook actually has 11,000 chatbots already available.
Chatbots detect and know precisely each customer’s preferences, needs and wants. At the same time, it offers suggested products and services, places orders and answers customer service queries too. To further intensify the customization, some chatbots are smart enough to detect the style of language used in order to converse in a similar, more friendly manner.
5. Social Selling
In connection to the individualized and customized shopping experience, the data gathered by companies regarding shopping profiles of their consumers can be applied to their respective social networking platforms.
‘Brandwatch’ (https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/ecommerce-trends-2017/) notes that Facebook CFO Dave Wehner intends to further develop and expand the social network’s reach and ability to communicate with its members as consumers. Through various social networking sites, brands and companies could see sales increase, and products go viral, generating huge interest as word-of-mouth increases its reach.
6. Mobile Mobile Mobile
In 2015, mobile commerce had its breakthrough. During the course of 2016, more than $31 billion of retail revenue was accounted for mobile shopping. This year, it is predicted that more than $38 billion will be accumulated as well.
According to eMarketer, this growth is “driven by larger screens, smoother buying experiences, better mobile search and context-driven discovery.” The ‘mCommerce’ phenomenon is just getting bigger and better as the years go by, directly proportional to the continuous innovation and development of Smartphones. Indeed, a phone screen today is considered the new display window for shops of any kind.
7. Loyalty Schemes
Another predicted eCommerce trend is the promotion of different loyalty schemes—from apps to reward systems. PureNet states that 49 percent of consumers said they would gladly switch brands for a coupon, which indicates that one less than half of the buying population are after reaping the rewards of their consumption.
Incorporating loyalty benefits, as well as the other upcoming trends in the ecommerce industry such as capturing relevant information about their customers as they shop and use the data to offer highly personalized promotions and rewards would be the best way to go for companies and businesses today.
I am Carlton Coleman, owner of the SIGN WITHIN superstore, which is an eCommerce business under the umbrella of the The Sign Within Academy, LLC. This company seeks to not only provide an online shopping experience with great deals, discounts and rebates but to partner and support non-profit organizations that speak to hearts, stretch minds and serve the whole of humanity to further their causes.