At this moment, in all corners of the world, someone is either buying something online for the first time or casually scrolling through a product feed, doing the research before making a purchase in a brick and mortar shop, or completing their third order of the day. We have come to a long way, customers and merchants alike, from the beginning of online shopping and selling in 1995.
Where we are headed is, however, even more, interesting than where we’ve been. Ecommerce and technology trends, working hand in hand, are shaping customer experiences in previously unimaginable formats. If you ever wondered how the wheels of a modern online store spin in the background, these five eCommerce trends are for you.
Its majesty – the smartphone
The fact that the amount of time a person spends on a mobile device is measured in hours speaks volumes. Mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop and every online store owner has numbers to prove it. The need for mobile-friendly websites has shifted from a trendy whim to a bare necessity.
Even design philosophy has swayed to the benefit of mobile users. Mobile-first design starts the design process from the smallest of screens. At the same time, mobile-first technologies like PWAs are looking to improve the backend coding of websites, all in an effort to create a better mobile shopping experience. If you need more convincing, contemplate this. How online store ranks on any search engine will be directly influenced by how you optimize for phones.
Ranking algorithms will notice and note the level of your store’s mobile friendliness. So if you haven’t already, consider either investing in an eCommerce mobile app or steer your efforts in the direction of a website that can cater to customers who shop with their thumbs.
The more information you have, and the more information you can filter through, the better informed you are, your decisions are more balanced in reason and less in guessing. Predictive analysis, lead scoring, and targeted personalization are just a few concepts closely related to big data.
Powered by the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, raw information is converted into actionable insights. By using the power of big data you can: give users an enhanced shopping experience, implement stronger, better-targeted personalization, predict what customers will buy – and when providing elevated customer service practices, offer more secure online payment processes, and optimize product pricing. The question merchants ask isn’t should I but when will I use the force called big data.
Subscription, customization, personalization
Do not be too quick in writing off subscriptions as only appropriate for Netflix, Spotify, and the like. Other industries can equally reap the benefits of this business model. Out of three kinds of arrangements, at least one can be incorporated into the industry you’re in. On top of that, you strengthen the relationship with your customers and get more insights into what they want which opens space for customized and personalized products, marketing targets, and customer service.
Curation Business Model (subscription boxes) is the most common. The box which contains curated products from your line is sent periodically to the subscribers. Because customers desire a personalized approach, you include them in the product creating process.
Image is taken from bcg.com
Replenishment Business Model automatically repeats the purchase of items, sometimes at a lower price too. Access Business Model prepares exclusive products, more favorable prices or member-only bonuses for a monthly fee. Other benefits of subscription models in eCommerce are predictable revenue, sales forecasting, inventory planning, lower acquisition costs, and customer loyalty.
Product visualization, augmented reality, virtual reality
The fundamental obstacle that’s as old as online commerce – how to showcase a 3D product on a 2D surface was for many years a fact of physics that you had to bypass. You would put detailed descriptions, images from 360 angles, videos… all in the hopes of alleviating some of the pains your customers have when they are trying to pick a product they’ve never held in their hands. The gods of technology have heard the prayers and now even that does not have to be an obstacle between you and your customers. What will that couch really look like in your living room? How big will that television screen appear on your wall?
That’s augmented reality for you. Virtual reality on the other hand offers virtual showrooms, enabling customers to visit your virtual storefront online from anywhere else but your store and virtual try-before-you-buy which is a great way for shoppers to see the models of the product without you having to store them. Sounds futuristic, but it’s not!
Modular, omnichannel commerce
Days of monolith, template-based software systems with tightly linked backend and frontend are nearing their end. Buzzwords like agile and agility have seeped into every pore of the trade and retailers want more content control and a smoother scalability process. Thus, as per popular demand, modular commerce entered the stage. Modular commerce works by the principles of interconnected components.
Because each building block (content, frontend, backend) operates independently, merchants can easily update and publish content across a variety of channels. That also opened the door for omnichannel content publishing for marketers. Examples of modules in modular commerce are A/B testing, product information management, personalization engines, order management, returns management, checkout, payment processing, analytics, SEO tools, customer journey, etc.
Although already present and in use, modular, headless, and decoupled systems are yet to become a part of an everyday eCommerce vocabulary. One thing is certain, whoever wants to become, or stay, an exceptionally successful online merchant will have to and will want to use modular omnichannel eCommerce systems.
And there you have it. An insight into the present and a peek into the future of eCommerce. As always, when considering a venture into another new hot thing on the market place it in the context of your business first and make decisions based on your industry and your special business needs. Know exactly what problems you are solving is a crucial step. If you’re feeling that your Magento is slow and you’re having problems speeding it up, Magento technical audit would be the perfect way to go, while for improvement of your user’s experience for the conversion increase eCommerce UX audits are a winner.
Not sure what you need? Reach out directly and we are here to tailor a perfect solution for getting you on board with technology eCommerce trends!