E-commerce continued to transform businesses in ways that couldn’t be imagined just more than a decade before. E-commerce is no longer just a zone reserved for retail businesses but it is as well a business model now for various segments outside the retail. Over the years, e-commerce has helped improve the shopping experience in a multitude of ways.
Ecommerce is popular because it deals with one of the biggest customer inconveniences, namely, bringing the products from retail outlets to home. Yes, just the easy doorstep delivery of goods gives customers the biggest reason for shopping online. Apart from that, obviously there are other reasons that add over this crucial benefit that e-commerce customers enjoy all over the globe.
More than the products the shopping experience is often becoming the winning factor for online stores across the niches. This helped create a level playing field for online stores of various sizes and niches. Now even small retail stores can compete with big brands simply by offering a smooth user experience.
Fortunately, a host of new technologies, design approaches, tools, and skills are continuing to improve the user experience of e-commerce stores. For example, the benefits of Magento multivendor eCommerce are compelling many Magento based stores to embrace a multi-vendor approach for the supply chain.
No wonder, e-commerce experience is continuing to evolve with new features and design elements. Based on the evolving features, popular UX attributes, and business strategies, here we have picked some of the trends that are going to transform e-commerce businesses in the years to come.
#1. Omni-Channel Shopping Experience
One of the key trends that are making rounds across e-commerce stores is the customer habit of making buying decisions after visiting multiple stores whether offline and online. This cross-platform browsing and evaluation of products is a key aspect that e-commerce stores are now seriously impacting e-commerce sales. This is why businesses are increasingly focusing on presence across multiple channels. Smooth interaction across multiple channels is likely to boost sales for many online stores now.
By embracing the omnichannel approach and by using the right technology customers can be allowed to buy products whenever and wherever they want. Thanks to the right technology support and omnichannel approach eCommerce stores can solve customer queries and can engage with customers across channels.
#2. Optimizing Personalized Shopping Experience
Smartphones are highly personalized devices and since most online customers access e-commerce stores through their handheld devices, the personalised shopping experience is what they expect most from online stores. Thanks to a host of cutting edge technologies, delivering a great personalized shopping experience have become easier than ever before.
In the context of e-commerce stores, personalization can be best implemented through product pages showcasing items based upon customer’s previous searches and preferences. Personalized recommendation of products is another key benefit of this approach.
Personalized recommendations help boost business conversion as most customers ignore offers and products irrelevant to their needs. Sending personalized notifications and in-app messages with offers based upon customer preference is another way of pushing business conversion further.
#3. Conversational Marketing
While traditional marketing communication just flows from businesses to customers, it often fails to engage customers in the business process. This is why conversational marketing with its possibilities of facilitating two-way communication between customers and businesses has such a powerful impact.
When businesses get information directly from customers they don’t need to take chances of predicting customer wants and that is the biggest advantage of conversational marketing for e-commerce stores.
To make conversational marketing a reality for your e-commerce stores, you have several technologies at your disposal. Let’s have a quick look at them.
Chatbots represent the latest and most advanced conversational tools to initiate a conversation with customers and answer customer queries. Besides guiding customers to sales they also help marketers pull a lot of customer information through their answers. Chatbots help developing market and customer knowledge besides pushing for steady business conversion.
Live chat is another communication feature that helps support teams of e-commerce stores make conversation through live messaging. This feature can further be initiated based upon the user behavior and certain triggers. The live chat feature helps an online store made preemptive communication with customers and thus boost sales conversion.
Sending regular messages to customers and prospects promoting products and services is another popular e-commerce communication feature which is part of conversational marketing. Since promotional emails are often trashed by the customers without giving any attention, mobile messaging works effectively to boost marketing quotient and business conversion.
#4. Virtual Assistants and Smart Speakers for Shopping
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are already popular across mobile and web apps. In e-commerce apps, they enjoy a greater significance and leverage an impact on the way we customers behave online, shop, and browse products. AI which mimics human reasoning and machine learning which continuously learns from the user interactions are key technologies to transform shopping and e-commerce product browsing experience.
An overwhelming volume of purchases and transactions now take place by using AI-powered virtual assistants and smart intelligent speaker systems like Amazon Echo. Already a significant portion of the e-commerce purchases happens using these virtual assistants and smart speakers.
In the years to come, these intelligent platforms will be used more by the customers for their online shopping needs. While Chatbots represent one part of the intelligent technology solution for online shopping, virtual assistants and smart speakers represent the other.
#5. Image Search
Image search is already popular across eCommerce stores for finding in-store products easily. Many e-commerce stores have already integrated image search functions to help customers search the store by using product photographs. This helps customers to photograph their favorite products and just make searches using them. This helps them search and find products more easily.
Just think of a situation when you want to buy a beautiful piece of furniture that you saw somewhere. You took a photograph of the item but thought to inquire about it online. Without even knowing the particular name of the brand or the product category you can just readily search for similar items online by using the product image. This obviously improves the shopping experience and brings a lot of new product searches to e-commerce stores. The obvious result of this is of course a sharp increase in business conversion.
#6. Decentralised Database Powered by Blockchain
One of the biggest technology trends that are now shaping every digital storefront and business is the decentralized database management powered by Blockchain. Blockchain is continuing to rule every niche and field thanks to its secure and full-proof decentralized database architecture that leaves no scope for messing with the customer data.
For any e-commerce store to safeguard the transactions and customer’s financial data and personal information are of paramount importance, the tamper-proof database technology of Blockchain comes as handy and effective. A blockchain-based decentralized data registry completely prevents any data tampering efforts and thus ensures a reputation for any online store.
Though Blockchain based cryptocurrencies have still not become mainstream for e-commerce transactions, in the years to come bitcoin and similar digital currencies can be used more for online transactions.
#7. Fast-Paced and Easier Checkout
It has been seen that abandoning carts is often the common reason for the loss of potential sales since customers putting products in a cart were almost closer to completing their transactions only to change their mind at the last minute. According to the latest statistics, the rate of cart abandonment across all e-commerce stores is close to 80%. This clearly shows how big the problem concerning cart abandonment is.
Now coming to the reasons behind cart abandonment, slow and complicated checkout process is often held responsible for increasing the rate of cart abandonment. Less number of steps, a smooth process, and faster loading speed are key requirements for a satisfactory checkout process.
Some of the crucial ways to boost checkout process is integrating fast-paced mobile wallet or digital payment solutions like Apple Pay and Android Pay, autosaving customer information, allowing easy repeat purchases, simple one-page checkout process and I integrating GPS map to detect customer location.
E-commerce businesses today are one of the most sophisticated ones with a high level of reliance on cutting-edge technologies. To stand out from the ever-growing competition, online stores have no other option but to embrace cutting edge technologies.
About the Author!
Manev Dave is the senior developer at CMARIX TechnoLabs Pvt. Ltd., a leading CMARIX eCommerce development company with 8+ years of experience. He loves to write about eCommerce technology, startups, entrepreneurship, and business. His creative abilities, academic track record, and leadership skills made him one of the key industry influencers as well.