According to latest surveys, more than 51% of Americans prefer shopping online than in a store. The figures are even higher for millennials. The online shopping market is expected to grow to over half a trillion within a few years. With ecommerce set to become even bigger, having an online presence has become a must for nearly all retailers. Here are 10 trends in ecommerce that every retailer should know about and act upon to grow their business.
- Real-Time Customized Shopping Experience
Delivering real-time, dynamic shopping experience to shoppers is a new trend in ecommerce. The goal is to offer an online shopping experience that is specific to each shopper. Thus, unique content is provided to each consumer based on factors relevant to them, including:
- Market trends
- Brand interactions
The same shopper can have a different experience the next time they visit your site.
There are many advantages of providing such a custom experience to your shoppers. Irrelevant recommendations will be reduced or eliminated. Search results will match shoppers’ recent brand interactions and online activities.
- Shop from Within Videos
Video continues to play a bigger role in future content marketing strategies. There is a growing trend in ecommerce where shoppable videos are part of online shopping experience, allowing consumers to shop directly from within the videos.
Shoppers can watch the video and pause it whenever they want to purchase a product. There are many benefits of such a shopping experience:
- It helps in reducing catalog browsing time
- It also provides better visual experience when shopping
More retailers are including shoppable videos in their overall ecommerce strategy.
- Using Big Data for More Effective Predictions
A basic principle about ecommerce that retailers are beginning to understand is that the more information they provide about their products, the more likely people are to purchase them online. The kind of information that drives them to buy online includes:
- Product descriptions
It is not possible to refresh the information against each product unless you have access to vast resources. This is where a new trend has emerged in ecommerce – data aggregation. More retailers are seeking help from data aggregators in compiling product data and make the best suggestions to shoppers.
You can also link your online store to such databases to ensure that product information keeps getting updated automatically. This can help in eliminating uncertainty, provide the most relevant and useful information to your visitors, and drive more sales.
Some of the key advantages of using big-data in ecommerce are as following:
- Deliver custom shopping experiences based on heat mapping
- Create personalized portfolios based on historical shopping data
- Access useful data on consumer demographics and develop accurate advertising strategy
- Increase conversion rates by offering targeted prices and discounts
Predictive analysis is a new technology in ecommerce that relies on big data and allows retailers to understand not just their preferences and buying habits, but also determine when they are likely to make their next purchase. This knowledge is attained based on the behavior of other consumers having similar profiles.
- Artificial Intelligence Interactions
Online shoppers are increasingly interacting with chatbot. A chatbot is an automated chat agent that answers shoppers’ questions. Chatbots can help retailers offer a more guided, fun and interactive browsing experience to their consumers. These AI-enabled systems are expected to become widely common in the future. More new innovative technologies are expected to develop around artificial intelligence in the near future.
Another new trend is ecommerce is to bridge the gap between online and physical shopping. For example, Google Local Inventory Ads can show online shoppers if the products they are interested in are available in stores near them. Retailers are also developing apps and systems to link their ecommerce sites and physical stores.
This trend could see many online retailers opening physical stores and many brick-and-mortar stores opening online stores. All this will help in encouraging a deeper level of relationship with the consumer
- Reaching Out to More Markets
Last year only 4 in 10 American ecommerce businesses sold their products in the domestic market. Ecommerce allows you to reach the global market and more retailers are now harnessing its true potential. Multi-market ecommerce can also help retailers fight local competition while creating fresher business opportunities.
This has further been enabled through quicker delivery and response systems being developed. Plugins, translation tools and new payment processors allow you to eliminate the constraints that prevent you from reaching overseas consumers. Language, payment and shipping barriers are no longer a concern for retailers.
- Quicker Deliveries
Surveys show that 4 in 10 online shoppers are likely to abandon a shopping cart if they cannot get same-day delivery. Almost 50% of Americans look forward to ecommerce for their last-minute gift purchase needs. That is a huge market and is poised to keep growing. And there are only a few on-demand delivery services that can address such requirements.
Thus, there is a growing trend of on-demand delivery and it is expected to become the standard in the ecommerce industry. Same-day delivery has become such a powerful ‘tool’ for retailers that it can help them eliminate much of the difference between online and offline shopping.
In fact, this year many online shoppers will be receiving their first same-day delivery. Wider supply chain based models can help in enabling more effective on-demand deliveries.
- More Reliable Security with Biometrics
As ecommerce continues to grow at a rapid pace, it comes with its own set of security challenges. A wide range of security threats still prevents many people from buying products online. The use of biometric verification has been increasing to help provide a safer and more secure online shopping environment to consumers.
Biometric verification is a reliable ecommerce technology that measures the following physical characteristics to address security concerns:
It can help not only eliminate problems such as forgotten password, but also prevents anyone else from accessing customer account even with a stolen password.
- Consumer Preference for Direct Brand Contact
The modern consumer is more well-informed and brand conscious than ever before. This has led to a unique trend in the ecommerce environment where the online shopper wants to deal directly with the brand and not with intermediaries. However, this has led distributors and merchants to create more value-based services to ensure that online shoppers keep coming to them. This means the consumer is able to receive more value in the form of warranties, complementary services and additional benefits from these intermediaries.
- Online Loyalty Programs Become Even Bigger
Never have online loyalty programs been as big as they are in the current online shopping environment. Retailers are offering bigger discounts, rewards and much more to keep their existing customers coming back for more. This has seen even some credit card companies getting involved to improve loyalty programs.
There are many more trends which are enhancing and redefining the ecommerce environment. The omnichannel strategy has led to increased unification of commerce and ecommerce. Thus, you can see more retailers embracing the benefits of online presence in the near future. Mobile continues to grow in terms of web traffic generation and all these current trends are expected to contribute further to increase its conversion rates.