Ecommerce in most advanced economies continues to evolve at a mind-boggling pace, the levels of new technology adoption and innovation illustrate just how strongly companies work to stay ahead of competitors in the design and delivery of innovative retail strategies.
Here’s our top 5 ecommerce trends that should continue disrupting industries in 2019 and further beyond:
AI WILL CONTINUE TO REVOLUTIONISE THE ECOMMERCE SPACE
Large-scale integration of Artificial Intelligence into ecommerce is a prevailing trend and will continue to fuel complex tasks. AI is already powering automation tools to make intensive tasks more efficient and cost-effective.
- Machine Learning: AI supported with machine learning (ML) will create personalized and relevant messages in real-time. With ML you can learn more about your customers and hence make better decisions by leveraging behavioural data. ML can identify customer preferences, their purchase history and come up with more targeted recommendations and dynamic pricing. ML together with AI can also be used for fraud and anomaly detection, fulfilment, inventory reallocation etc.
- Chatbots: An innovation, which has seen remarkable advances in both sophistication and adoption. Chatbots have now replaced human agents to solve problems and provide transactional assistance to users. They provide instant interfacing with several customers at any moment, deliver personalized content, help with payments processing, marketing and recommend products and services to prospects.Chatbots can be integrated with messengers and apps to distribute information, aid decision making and simplify communication between the brand and customer. Brand innovators and marketing tech leaders are bringing in more sophistication, naturalness and precision in chatbot-human interaction process.
Consumers are adopting Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Voice Assistant with open arms. Voice search is set to gain even more prominence in 2019.
According to the US-based agency Disruptive Advertising
- 40% of US millennials have used voice search before making a purchase online
- Almost 60% of people in the US who own a virtual assistant have used it to make a purchase through voice command
So, leveraging voice-active devices or collaborating with voice-based assistants and optimizing your e-store for voice search is the most obvious, easy and practical way to spiral up into the market. For instance, Walmart has made available a sizeable set of items easy to order by Google Express eCommerce Platform and is also adding the capability to place orders and in-store pickup, using Google Home.
RESEARCH ONLINE, PURCHASE OFFLINE (ROPO)
This is a common behaviour observed in shoppers who look for the best possible deal before making the purchase. As consumers become more aware and retailers fight it out to give the best deal, 2018 will see more of ROPO. With that comes advancements in ROPO tools to reliably attribute retail sales to digital promotions.
According to Absolunet;
- 82% of US consumers use their mobile devices to research local businesses
- 18% of local searches result in a sale within 24 hours
Retailers can now build comprehensive and detailed customer profiles to understand the path of conversion, right from an online search to the offline purchase. Analysing data from mobile devices, payment history, location tracking, personalized ads, and combining them with CRM, ERP, POS systems will help retailers pinpoint which ads, listings, and site visits led to the store visit.
Goldman Sachs predicts global revenue share of mobile e-commerce to be around $626 billion in 2018.
As payment companies (ApplePay, GooglePay, PayPal, ShopifyPay and the likes) move ahead to standardize payments to make the buying process simpler and quicker, mobile checkouts will gain traction.
One-click shopping is not only convenient and faster but will also encourage impulse purchasing – a win-win for your business. All you must ensure is:
- Optimize your website for mobile
- Evaluate your payment gateways
- Start accepting mobile payments in-store and online
- Make checkout process one-click and automate user preferences
AUGMENTED REALITY – IS IT FINALLY A NEW REALITY?
As ‘try before you buy’ becomes a new norm, AR could see mainstream adoption. Companies are investing big-time in AR to make customer experiences richer and enhance shopping experiences.
This will help customers visualise how products from store will look on them or in their homes – making them more confident in making a purchase, increase orders, reduce returns, and winning their loyalty. AR industry is expected to be worth $108 billion by 2021.
Other trends to watch out for are faster shipping and delivery systems, use of blockchain and cryptocurrency, direct approach to the customer, and the rise of omnichannel platforms.