April 30, 2021
The breakout of a global pandemic last year halted the whole world. Even today, its ripple effects can be experienced across geographical locations. With an onset so powerful, what the contagious disease couldn’t bring down, stall or stop has been eCommerce.
Contrary to everyone’s mindsets and even conventions, eCommerce not only thrived during the pandemic but, in fact, prospered. With severe lockdown restrictions and the fear of contracting the disease, people primarily resorted to eCommerce to buy their preferred products and services. Even people who were reluctant to use eCommerce earlier turned into loyal customers of online shopping.
Today, it has become a norm more than a luxury, and if we had to present some numbers, experts believe that over 95% of all purchases will happen online by the year 2040. Today, there are already 2 billion online shoppers, and the eCommerce industry is growing by 23% annually.
If this is surprising, let us reveal that American business owners seem to have been undermining the potential of eCommerce stores despite the reach of online shopping. That’s why over 46% of the US’s small businesses still don’t have an online store.
If you fall into this 46% category, you need to see this as a wake-up call and leverage eCommerce’s potential to your advantage. Here is a super-resourceful compilation of some of the promising eCommerce trends to help you get started and give you an idea of what to implement, on trends, and more.
Let’s get started.
7 eCommerce Trends You Need to Capitalize on Right Now
Voice Commerce and Search
There have been tremendous changes in the way we have been communicating with our devices. Touch-sensitive devices are now gradually becoming obsolete, with more people turning to dictation and voice-based commands. With smart virtual assistants, speakers, home automation systems, and other devices, people no longer look at their screens or execute actions through taps and swipes. They dictate their requirements, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based systems perform their commands for them. For the uninitiated, close to 50% of all searches were voice-based last year.
That’s why business owners must capitalize on this trend and implement this technology into their eCommerce store or app. With voice search, people need not be even using a device. They can order something from your store while driving, in a different room away from their device, on their way to work, and more. We are collectively a step closer to tapping into impulsive decisions right now.
Chatbots for Customer Concerns and Conflict Resolutions
Companies around the world are increasingly deploying chatbots on their apps and online stores. One of the significant advantages of implementing chatbots is that they allow companies to channelize or allocate their human resources in wings and divisions where they are crucially required.
Most of the tasks customer service representatives deal with daily are redundant. By integrating an algorithm and a bot, brands can listen to their customers’ complaints, offer solutions, resolve conflicts, initiate refunds, and more. Manual intervention can be reserved for complex escalations that machines can’t deal with. By personalizing conversations, we can deliver better solutions as well. Today’s machine learning and AI algorithms allow for the launch of bots that can almost crack the Turing Test.
When we say immersive technologies, we mean two of the most underrated and underutilized tech concepts – Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Both are being experimented with in diverse ways of late. As brand owners, we can capitalize on these technologies by offering our customers advanced solutions. For instance, we can use AR to welcome customers on a virtual tour of our store, have them check out our collections, and even try some of our apparel or outfits out.
With VR, we can go a step further and completely transport them to a different dimension and deliver an unforgettable experience with 100% brand recall value. Food chains, for instance, can make use of VR to take their customers on a virtual tour to their farms or gardens from where their ingredients are sourced. Kitchen tours can be possible as well. With AR and VR, the only limitation is our creativity. The more audacious we are with our approach, the better the experience.
The Inevitability of Analytics
One of the significant reasons why eCommerce is a phenomenon today is because of the capabilities enabled by analytics and Big Data.
With eCommerce websites being a treasure-chest of information and insights, their mining allows businesses to uncover aspects about their brands that otherwise were undetected. With analytics, such insights can be brought to the surface and put to fair use. Some of the elements of analytics implementation would include –
- segmented targeting
- behavioral targeting
- advanced personalization
- cart abandonment optimization
- recommendation engines and subliminal influencing
- gamification and more
This might sound a little technical, but it is unavoidable. Headless architecture is where you decouple the frontend and backend from each other. By separating the two, you could personalize the frontend based on your customers’ needs and preferences.
The backend, however, will be generic for all sessions, executing tasks, retrieving data, and doing the usual. The advantage of going headless is that every visitor will have a unique and personalized experience on your website. This interesting implementation is worth exploring in the coming months and years and can drive customer acquisition and retention.
We are already familiar with the fact that customers might access our stores from their tablets, smartphones, personal computers, and even televisions. What we are yet to explore in detail is the omnichannel experience they are looking to have. By omnichannel, we mean them reaching us through diverse platforms and channels.
For instance, a visitor to our eCommerce store or app might be from Instagram, LinkedIn, a referral, a blog post, YouTube channel, Snapchat thread, or other source. With so many platforms, you need to tailor your content and present it in a distinct way to each platform. By retaining your brand’s voice, tone, and authority, you establish an omnichannel presence, where customers see you in all avenues without questioning your credibility.
Apart from these, you could also capitalize on the rising influencer culture today to directly reach out to your potential buyers, connect with them and make way for better sales conversions. The eCommerce industry is all about possibilities currently, and the more you are determined to explore its vastness, the better your standing in the market.
So, go for the strategies we have mentioned, explore and experiment on your own and pave the way for a profitable business in 2021 and beyond.
Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform – a dedicated team of a mobile development company in Atlanta. He leads large-scale mobility programs that cover platforms, solutions, governance, standardization, and best practices. Connect with him to discuss the best practices of software methodologies @hsshah_