The rapid growth of the ecommerce industry is startling. It is almost mind boggling to see how far this industry has come since its inception in the 90s. In circa 1990 when ecommerce first started evolving, giant companies such as Amazon and PayPal were rapidly becoming known and making a name for themselves. As the market started booming, more players made their way into it. eBay attracted shoppers through their ‘add to cart’ feature which was relatively new and gained attention. Amazon used this technique to get more people too but this was before they started focusing on the strategy of personalization and forming relationships with their buyers – a strategy that seemed to have stuck and is used till today.
The 21st century however has brought a lot of changes in the ecommerce industry. The introduction of mobile apps has completely revolutionized online buying behaviors. But ‘mobile apps’ is just one factor that is impacting how the online shopping industry works. There are plenty of other players in the market that determine how the ecommerce industry changes. So, let’s take a look at a few of them today:
In this day and age, people are getting used to new and innovative technology which is why they want the companies they buy commodities from to be technologically advanced.
1.Mobile first shoppers
With the rapid increase in ecommerce mobile sites there has been a significant change in the buying patterns of consumers. People are more inclined to shop for commodities from their phones as it is easier and the element of personalization is higher. A report suggests that 19% of the online sales made in the US are completed via smartphones. This figure will presumably increase to 27% by the start of 2019.
With people from all around the globe using their phones to view or post reviews, compare items and purchase them, it is worth the time and effort to launch a mobile friendly and responsive site for your ecommerce store.
Mobile apps have changed the way people use their phones. With the notable development and progress of iOS and android apps a significant number of people have shifted from making purchases through the websites to purchasing items through mobile apps. According to research 86% of people’s time is spent on an app versus the time they spend on a mobile site.
Think of it this way: a customer who has already freed up space on his phone to install your app is already interested in your services so it would be quite easy for you to attract a consumer this way. Not only can you send him coupons and discount vouchers but you can also directly tell him about your latest items and any sales that are about to go on.
3.Speech and image recognition
Trends in online searching have been changing drastically with time. Recently Google has been focusing on image and voice searches. With virtual assistants such as Alexa and Siri people are already getting used to getting writing things down by speaking instead of typing. In addition to that, image recognition has also become a crucial part in making searches. AliExpress, for example, lets a consumer upload a picture using a feature on the mobile app and displays items which look exactly like it and in case of unavailability similar to it.
By 2020, it is expected that the image and voice searches will make up half the searches which is why we think it is crucial for the big stores to adapt to these techniques.
So, ecommerce stores should keep this in mind and integrate these new and upcoming technologies within their app.
Artificial intelligence is not anymore, an unrealistic, mindboggling concept that we only expect to experience in the distant future. It is expected that by 2020 most, if not all of the customer interactions will be managed through artificial intelligence.
The face of customer services will be transformed significantly as AI will be adopted in the field of customer care to make it better and convenient for customers. However, ecommerce stores will have a variety of areas where they could apply AI. For example, AI could be used to display tailored results to consumers to save their time and give them the best options to choose from by learning their buying patterns and preferences.
5.Virtual reality and augmented reality
While we are aware of the fact that virtual reality and augmented reality has completely revolutionized the gaming world, that is not the only sector VR and AR are limited to. VR and AR will be adapted by the ecommerce sector in the years to come, completely transforming the way how consumers shop. 2 years ago, eBay got an Australian store onboard which goes by the name Myer and launched the first ever virtual reality store. To shop, consumers needed to use virtual reality goggles and browse through items. Customers can get a better idea of the quality, size and color of items through VR and AR and it will help them make better and informed decisions.
It is quite evident that the virtual reality and augmented reality trends point towards increased consumer reliance on VR and AR in the future to meet their shopping needs. So, it is something that ecommerce store owners should take into consideration for the future.
6.Social media engagement
Customers already use social media to make their buying decisions so you can only expect this trend to grow rapidly in the future. For any queries or comments, most customers engage with the brand through their social media page and they expect them to be responsive. So, in future, ecommerce stores have to focus on making their social media pages engaging and being responsive to customers.
No one knows what the future holds but these above 6 trends are what seem promising so it is only wise for ecommerce stores to stay ahead of the online shopping game and adapt to the latest technologies that are going to be used by the consumers to make purchases.