The growth of ecommerce is expected to heighten as more consumers turn to shopping and making purchases online. With technology changing fast and is a key element that will determine how ecommerce brands grow their sales, using appropriate technology is going to help ecommerce brand remain efficient, lower their costs, engage their customers, and improve buyer experiences. So here are the five technology trends you expect to see today and in future in the ecommerce space.
1. Augmented and Virtual Reality
The holy grain for ecommerce businesses is to attract customers to their stores and influence them make purchases. Whether it is an online store or a brick-and-mortar store, using augmented reality (AR) as well as virtual reality (VR) technologies helps businesses achieve this goal. The technologies allow shoppers to get deeper into the customer experience offered by ecommerce brands. These technologies create new attention in customers allowing them to visit online businesses.
Augmented reality changes the core human experience by having a psychological impact. AR brings a sense of ownership in that as users interact with information that is put on a product, they will try to associate with it. It also makes customers become part of the story that is built around a product or service. On top of that AR creates novelty because it offers a new experience and customers would want to discover how it feels like when they infuse the “real” and “virtual” elements in their product shopping and buying processes.
Augmented reality helps overcome the psychological barrier consumer’s encounter while conducting their shopping online. Many consumers are unable to confidently envision and evaluate the sense of using a product and AR comes in handy to bridge this gap. For example, consumers can visualize products they want to buy and see how they would fit in the physical space where they will be used. This makes shoppers to be comfortable and confident when making purchases. Augmented reality can indeed speed up the process of searching for products considered bulky or of high value. It also simplifies the process of making choices without taking a lot of time and effort, for example, storeowners that sells paint can create a kind of experimentation space where they show the customers how their walls would look like when they are painted using specific paints.
Using virtual reality, users are able to explore virtual showrooms. This increases the user’s shopping experience. Besides, consumers can visualize products before they buy them allowing them make an informed decision and reduce post-purchase hassles.
2. Blockchain Technology
Blockchain is a powerful technology that businesses are looking forward to utilize. In the ecommerce industry, blockchain has an impact on seller and consumer activities online. Despite the growth prospects expected to be seen in ecommerce businesses, there are problems beginning to emerge such as in supply chain management, payments, transparent marketplaces, efficient management systems, data security, and satisfied consumers and retailers. One technology that is bringing solutions to these problems is blockchain technology.
In ecommerce industry, payment solutions are far from perfect. PayPal and Skrill may be in the front line, however, there is more that needs to be done. The processing fees are high, security is a problem, and customers don’t get the experience they need. Blockchain comes in to offer low cost transactions and increase the level of security.
In supply chain management, use of blockchain network allows the visualization of the process thus making it incorruptible. This way, there is transparency in supply chain and consumers are able to see how their orders are being handled. The order flow of products consumers are buying helps them be confident as they do their purchase.
Another important aspect that comes with blockchain technology is increased data security. Existing ecommerce platforms have loopholes in the way they store data. With the large amount of data collected directly from customers, and considering that it is stored within centralized servers, it creates its vulnerability to criminals. Blockchain reduces the chances of stealing such data because the platforms are decentralized.
3. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Machine learning can help ecommerce businesses in different ways. Intelligent algorithms are used to segment customers and offer personalized experiences. When customers are browsing, their shopping patterns are identified. Through artificial intelligence, it is possible to understand what products customers are likely to purchase. Ecommerce businesses can use these technologies to offer personalized recommendations about products or services.
Businesses that implement artificial intelligence or machine learning can boost their sales up to 15 percent. Besides learning and identifying the patterns of consumers, AI and machine learning can be used to enhance efficiency in ordering and inventory management. For example, it allows inventory forecast and prediction of market demands. A business can use shipping software to predict shipping demand before orders are made.
The chatbots you see in ecommerce websites are applications based on artificial intelligence. Ecommerce chatbots can help buyers look for the right product, check the availability of a product, compare numerous products, and make payments. In case of queries or complaints, chatbots help connect consumers to service personnel.
4. Multi Channel Ecommerce
Multi-channel marketing involves promoting and selling services and products anywhere your customers will buy. It helps bring ecommerce to different channels like social media, online communities, messaging apps, marketplaces and others. These are the places where your target audiences are spending much of their time online. Best online brands sell to customers wherever they see them consuming content whether it is in a native Facebook store, a shop-able Instagram post, or buyable Pins. It could also be in marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Angie’s List, or Houzz.
Multi-channel retailing helps target consumers at various stages of the consumer or buyer’s journey. Most shoppers may not purchase a product the first time they see it. They will continue to read reviews, browse for more information, compare prices, and see what people are talking about the product. If you don’t follow them in the different locations they are visiting, you may miss a sale that you could have captured and closed if you, for example, followed them to the social media where they are engaging each other and talking about your brand.
5. Automation Software
Automation of ecommerce operations can help greatly by improving efficiency. There are different areas of ecommerce that need automation for example, order and inventory management. When you automate the order and inventory process, you are able to manage inventory. You know how many products consumers are buying and you can project the demand for the products and ensure you have the inventory in place.
Automation also helps with cart abandonment, bookkeeping and accounting, email marketing, and social media management. Automation is evolving with companies like Amazon using drones to delivery products. Ecommerce businesses use automation software to simplify the shipping process, for example, AvaCare Medical is able to ship orders fast and provide tracking details to customers.
Business leaders are now scrambling to adapt to new changes in ecommerce that seemed impossible just some few years ago. Top performers in ecommerce are now adopting new technology trends to help them evolves to meet the challenges and demands. Likewise, ecommerce software providers are constantly advancing their technologies and software solutions to align with the fast-changing industry trends. With the above technologies, businesses will be able to meet the demands that are set by the ever-changing consumer behavior and patterns. They will tackle issues related to customer engagement and satisfaction thus creating confidence among buyers.