6 Trends That Will Drive Your E-Commerce Business Forward
Changing times, evolving technology, and increasing customer expectations are all responsible for shifting e-commerce trends. E-retailers will do well to keep up and offer their customers first-rate shopping experiences that lead to conversions and bring them competitive advantage. From using Progressive Web Apps and improving personalization to analyzing customer data and employing chatbots, e-commerce businesses should leave no stone unturned in ensuring that they’re equipped to meet the modern customers’ expectations and deliver accordingly in the times to come.
E-commerce trends are constantly changing and technologies evolving. Customer expectations continually grow and it is up to e-commerce business owners to keep up with them and stay competent. Growing your business, engaging customers, and delivering your brand’s promise all at the same time can be overwhelming.
Whether you’re an up-and-coming startup or a large-scale business, you need to stay on top of the latest in e-commerce evolution to maintain strategic focus and remain relevant.
This post will shed light on some significant trends to leverage and empower your e-commerce business to succeed.
Improving Mobile Experiences with Progressive Web Apps
As per Monetate’s quarterly ecommerce study from Q4 2017, the conversion rate of smartphone users is a mere 2.03%, while it is 4.19% and 4.68% among tablet users and desktop/traditional platforms users respectively. This proves that there is a considerable conversion gap between mobile and traditional and it needs to be plugged as users continue to browse rather than purchase on their devices.
These numbers also shed light on the need for building a well-designed native mobile app that offers a distinguished virtual shopping experience. The cost of building and maintaining mobile apps, however, make it difficult for small businesses to have dedicated apps. Further, users tend to download apps from only the brands that they regularly interact with. Hence, it is mostly large enterprises that are more inclined to having a dedicated native app.
The future, however, belongs to mobile with brands working towards enhancing mobile web experiences. PWAs are set to play a big role in this. These are mobile apps that run in web browsers and offer conveniences such as push notifications and high loading speed to the user using open web technologies.
- They come equipped with APIs that are added into web browsers. These are called “Service Workers.”
- Important functions such as predictively preloading content, sending push notifications, and synchronizing and receiving data can be carried out with the assistance of Service Workers.
- PWAs work well on desktop and are SEO-friendly.
- PWAs offer enhanced performance and usability, thus impacting mobile web conversion rates positively. Also, merchants need not continually invest in developing expensive native apps.
Providing Stellar Shopping Experiences
With e-commerce giants like Amazon offering easy product acquisition options such as same-day delivery, customers are getting used to and expecting superior shopping experiences from all e-commerce businesses.
Product price is no longer the primary concern for customers. The focus is now on e-retailers to consistently provide exceptional experiences that attract and retain customers. It is, therefore, necessary to offer a unique brand promise that helps your e-commerce site stand out at every touchpoint so customers don’t need to look elsewhere.
AI-led innovation and the creation of wearables and hands-free devices present further opportunities for evolved customer engagement. Mining data using AI and machine learning technologies leads to better feedback about user behavior and trends. This information can help identify conversations about your brand and formulate marketing strategies accordingly.
It is becoming increasingly critical that your platform finds meaningful ways to convey its advantages and value to customers. This, in turn, will help improve engagement mechanisms and customer relationships that lead to conversions.
Increased Use of Personalization Tools
In an arena that’s crowded with e-commerce portals, personalization can be key to improving sales and the overall shopping experience. In order to stand out, e-commerce websites need to be able to run targeted promotions and make personalized product recommendations to various demographics. Providing custom catalogs and pricing can further help drive seamless shopping experiences across channels.
AI-powered predictive targeting can help brands identify a repeat visitor and match the right experience for them. This, in turn, optimizes the customer experiences across channels.
E-commerce stalwart Amazon is able to recommend products based on customers’ past purchases, present ads that match search history, and display marketing copy that directly addresses the customer.
Amazon understands that by using customer data such as search queries, page visits, and purchase history, brands can equip online stores to serve customers most efficiently. As per findings, 57% customers are fine with providing personal information to a brand if it benefits them.
An increasing number of brands are harnessing personalization technologies as they easily integrate with ecommerce sites. This is exemplified through the use of personalized emails, which deliver 6x higher transaction rates. Interestingly, 48% of consumers spend more when their experience is personalized.
Data Transformation to Gain Insights
Analysis of customer data can lead to better decision-making and enhanced targeting. Also, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable.
Analyzing data correctly, however, requires the use of various tools and databases along with advanced technical skills. Not all businesses can afford these, which leads to missed opportunities. It is, therefore, necessary for businesses to have access to comprehensive dashboards and data-integrating business intelligence tools that even non-technical team members can easily use to gain and share insights.
The right data-driven strategy for creating customer-centric marketing and offerings helps merchants gain insights on:
- Who their most valuable customers are.
- Where they are coming from.
- Where to find more customers like them.
- Which factors are affecting their customer lifetime value.
- How to enable faster growth while decreasing costs.
Meaningful and personal engagements come from understanding what matters to customers, where they are, and which platforms they’re using to engage with brands. The next step is tailoring experiences accordingly.
Multi-channel shoppers spend three times more than single-channel shoppers. Also, 81% of shoppers research their product online before purchasing it, and 85% of customers start a purchase on one device and finish it on another. These figures prove just how lucrative it can be for ecommerce merchants to meet the needs of multi-channel shoppers.
It’s no secret that modern customers use more than one device to make buying decisions. They may begin their search at home on the desktop and end up purchasing a product on their smartphone or through social media messenger bots. It, therefore, becomes crucial to optimize an e-commerce store for different channels.
E-commerce businesses will need to be visible across all channels that shoppers use. Apart from the business website, e-retailers should be available on social media, brick-and-mortar outlets, as well as other online stores like Amazon and eBay.
Using AI-Powered Chatbots
Experts have predicted that by 2020, 80% of businesses will be using chatbots.
This falls in place as over 60% of customers confess to preferring digital self-serve tools, such as websites, apps, or chatbots to answer their simple inquiries.
AI-based chatbots are designed to enhance a customer’s overall shopping experience. This is done by shortening customers’ sales journey and simplifying the process of choosing, buying, selling, and ordering products and services.
Chatbots can tackle numerous tasks usually assigned to humans, including managing inventory or handling inquiries. They’re capable of fulfilling several customer service needs like addressing product-related queries and discussing complaints. Further, these chatbots learn from customer conversations and evolve over time to better assist in a customer’s personalized ecommerce experience.
The latest trends in e-commerce are driven by an amalgamation of evolving technologies and ever-changing consumer preferences. By embracing the above trends and equipping e-stores for them, e-retailers can look forward to more optimistic and lucrative opportunities to grow in the times ahead.