Technological advancements have had a huge impact on the ecommerce world, transforming the way consumers connect with brands and empowering them to shop more cost effectively. Driven by the convenience of getting products delivered to your doorstep, ecommerce has now become an integral part of everyday life.
Strategic plans, competitive marketing, and a skilled workforce aside, ecommerce organizations are expected to remain up to date with the latest technologies. These technological advancements have enabled people to meet their purchasing needs with ease, and as a result, the ecommerce sector continues to go from strength to strength.
Ecommerce is faster than ever and customers can get anything at the click of a button, all thanks to the latest available technology. Now customers can track their orders, find the best deals and much more besides. With all this progress, new business opportunities are inevitably emerging.
In this article we will discuss some of these advancements and their implications for driving forward ecommerce success.
1. Omni-channel presence/support
Modern shopping habits involve a process of cross-channel research, consideration, and purchase. Indeed the statistics show that 90% of customers expect smooth interactions across multiple channels and devices, highlighting the importance of omnichannel readiness for today’s businesses.
Making use of the right technology means providing customers with not only what they want when they want it, but where they want it too.
Video Chat: Allows your business to interact face-to-face with customers creating a personalized, cross-channel, visually demonstrative and consultative experience.
Cobrowsing: A visual engagement system bringing your agents and customers together on the same page, at the same time, allowing agents to seamlessly guide your customers through complex procedures.
Screen Sharing: A method of interacting where your customers share their screen with your agents to effortlessly resolve difficulties filling forms, completing transactions, etc.
Document Interaction: Provides a platform for your agents to interact with your customers’ documents safely and includes e-signature technologies for enhanced security.
These methods all help to ensure an interconnected customer journey all the way through to purchase.
2. Extensive personalization
“The customer journey is changing. Consumers want everything, and they want it immediately. Experience matters than anything else – and the technology at our fingertips enable such amazing experiences, only desired in today’s fast-paced world.” – Sam Hurley
Personalization is the biggest trend in ecommerce right now. Consumers have come to expect a relevant shopping experience based on their personal preferences.
The statistics show more than 78% of customers ignore offers that aren’t personalized or based on their previous engagement with the brand. This shows just how important personalization in marketing and customer support has become.
Effective personalization comes from understanding customers’ preferences and behavior. Fortunately, technology has now evolved to provide precisely that level of insight. The potential impact of ecommerce technology on your company is huge. Nearly every user action online is captured and stored, creating a vast pool of information known as big data.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning analytics drive customer behavior patterns, whilst simultaneously interpreting this data, meaning businesses are provided with a cycle of desires and expectations, creating endless possibilities.
Big data, machine learning, and AI have made personalization the norm, with businesses catering their support and services to reflect this.
3. The shift to mobile
Mobile platforms have increased in importance, so much so that m-commerce has emerged as a concept in its own right.
Failing to provide a mobile-oriented shopping experience will lose your brand potential customers. Equipping yourself with mobile-friendly technology is therefore crucial in maximizing your chances of future success.
Ecommerce mobile apps - Apps offer customers continuous engagement with your brand and the chance for your customers to familiarize themselves with new and relevant purchasing opportunities.
Location-based marketing - Use your customers’ geographical whereabouts to market products relevant to their specific location.
VR/AR guidance - Integrating VR and AR technologies provides an immersive mobile shopping experience for your customers, connecting them with your brand in a deeper and more meaningful way.
Internet of Things (IoT) - The IoT stems from the desire to better understand consumer trends across a range of connected devices. The scope it provides for delivering personalized mobile shopping experiences to your customers is almost limitless.
4. Conversational Marketing
Traditional marketing channels flow in only one direction. The new concept of conversational marketing has opened up two-way communication, creating numerous opportunities for ecommerce success.
Getting information directly from customers makes more sense than attempting to predict it. You can establish a personalized, real-time, one-on-one conversation on the back of this, safe in the knowledge you truly understand your customers’ needs.
Below are some of the most efficient technologies for nurturing customer conversations:
Chatbots - Chatbots are excellent conversational marketing tools, capable of handling multiple conversations at any one time. They provide your customers with answers, drawing on knowledge pooled from multiple channels, whilst maintaining a consistent tone for your brand.
Live chat - Live chat allows your support teams to communicate with customers through live messaging. You can initiate a preemptive chat invitation to particular customers based on their behavior.
Mobile messaging - Smartphones are another way for your business to reach out to customers. With potential fatigue from the onslaught of promotional emails, talk with them through mobile messaging apps instead.
5. AI and chatbots for customer communications
“It’s the first inning. It might even be the first guys up at bat. We’re on the edge of golden age [of AI].” – Jeff Bezos CEO at Amazon
Artificial Intelligence plays an important role in everyday life, having a major impact on how we live and work. There are several examples of AI and automation tools with customer service applications for your business, including voice-powered assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google’s home and Amazon Echo. Research shows that 45% of millennials are already using this type of voice activated search for online shopping.
Chatbots and virtual assistants represent the future for businesses. Some are already integrating chatbots in their systems to improve their customers’ experience and boost brand image.
With the help of Chatbots you can order food, check in luggage at the airport, book a hotel room, schedule your flight, and get recommendations for almost anything you can think of. The Starbucks chatbot for example gives customers details regarding their order status, payment details etc.
6. Image search
Ecommerce businesses are integrating image search technology on their websites so customers can easily photograph products they are interested in and find similar examples on other sites that may be offering better deals.
Imagine someone sees a beautiful couch, but it costs too much for them. If your business offers similar products at a more reasonable price, integrating image search into your website will allow you to potentially pick up on this sale, creating an extra revenue stream.
7. Quick and easy checkout processes
Cart abandonment is the most frustrating reason for losing a sale because it means a user was considering buying your product, only to change their mind at the last minute. The latest data shows a 79.17% global rate of cart abandonment, highlighting how big a problem it is.
One of the main reasons customers abandon their carts is the checkout procedure itself. No matter how well the lead has been nurtured, inefficient checkout processes raise the chances your users will abandon their cart.
Therefore, if you want your ecommerce company to be successful, embrace technology that provides quick and efficient checkout solutions, such as:
- Speedy mobile payment solutions, including Apple Pay and Android Pay.
- Enabling your customers to save card details, streamlining repeat purchases.
- Providing one-page, hassle-free checkouts.
- Offering a range of payment options.
Equipped with this technology, your business can alleviate any potential difficulties customers may encounter at checkout.
The last word
Many successful ecommerce ventures have got to where they are on the back of the cutting edge technology they employ. Take the opportunity these technologies provide to better understand what your customers want and deliver it to them more efficiently and your company could stand to reap the benefits too.