It is just one of those days when I am shopping for something as mundane as a pair of glasses, and then was struck by something spectacular; 3-D try on. I had heard of, and even tried earrings at home (from a well-known online jewelry store), but this was something new! You could actually see yourself wearing a pair of glasses or lenses (chosen by you) looking at you. This is what a consumer wants to see in the coming years; personalization in online shopping. It is not just the liberty to choose from 100 pairs of frames at the comfort of your home, before you make up your mind, checking out feedback videos of others who have bought something similar, and also the design, animation, automation, and all that goes behind generating higher revenue.
I also noticed a modal window opening with suggestions on how to search better or placing an order. It can guide me find my kind of shoes or office furniture. I was delighted, as any other avid online shopper with how-to-go about-it videos and try before you buy (of placing the furniture in the backdrop of my office) features. Stunning, isn’t it?
In this series, I will discuss some of the hot e-commerce trends that will change the face of online shopping in 2018 and the years to come.
Quite often we go to the local grocery and ask for a pack of cigarettes or a favorite brand of cheese. Most shopkeepers remember the preferred brands of their loyal customers. They are quite likely to offer us a money saver pack or promise to inform us if it is not available then. Now, the same happens in online shopping and goes beyond it. Well, it is not just remembering the customer’s last bought item or sending a reminder mail for Christmas special discount. It is called deep-delving analysis of consumer behavior and helps the marketer add value to his business.
Shopify has even studied abandoned cart emails and re-phrased e-mails to sound them more personal and appealing. They have also seen a significant rise of 12% increase in the conversion. Several e-retailers are coming up with virtual assistants with a personal touch or personalized e-mails that address specific customer needs. You will most likely find app notifications informing you of fresh stocks or attractive discounts on your favorite brands.
2. Voice Search:
Imagine the joy of finding your favorite video over voice search by simply uttering the first few words in any language or finding a sunset point, while you are driving through a dream destination. The convenience of searching and ease of implementation, along with the focus on the localized traffic contributed largely to the growing popularity of voice search. Voice search accounts for more than 20% of searches through Google, over mobile.
The convenience and comfort of voice searches over voice-activated devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home are becoming increasingly popular across the world. Research also states that voice search makes comparing brands easier. According to Rachel Jacobs, head of content at Pixc, over 40% of millennials have used voice search before making an online purchase. With Google Assistant and Alexa becoming your shopping buddies, you can search, select, buy, order, re-order or even cancel anytime.
Voice searches also make it easier for marketers to understand customer persona, their individual preferences, identify region-wise needs, assess customer feedback when they re-order an item or prefer particular brands.
Marketers should focus more on long-tail keywords and everyday syntax, and structured writing for more success stories in voice search.
3. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency:
Online shoppers are well aware of the benefits of using Bitcoins for online purchases. Advanced transactional security and virtually zero risks of payment frauds two of the best reasons for extensive usage of cryptocurrencies. Major players like Microsoft, Etsy, Shopify, and Stripe are supporting Bitcoin, another reason for making it as one of the hottest e-commerce trends of 2018 and beyond.
Blockchain, which is fast gaining acceptance among global brands like Alibaba and Amazon, manages transactions and currencies without the intervention of banks. Though the ball has just started rolling, blockchain will soon be used for tasks like order fulfillment, security, and instant order tracking in the years to come.
Chatbots is not a very recent phenomenon. It has been there since the early days of online shopping, but there has been a remarkable makeover in the last few years. Chatbots are no more dumb chat windows where customers post their queries to get an automated reply (something like we are happy to help you. Our representative will get back to you shortly). Today you see chatbots where customers can interact with virtual assistants to inquire about a product, check its availability status, ask for return policy and even re-order their commonly used products.
Apart from being a direct selling window, chatbots also go a long way in cross-selling and upselling, much like a friendly shop. In addition, chatbots are a great way to answer customer service inquiries and have the ability to function 24 hours a day.
5. Mobile Commerce:
The digital marketplace has always been a personal space, but with the advent of mobile apps, personalized shopping experience has redefined itself. It is like finding the immortality potion and using it at one’s free will.
E-retailers are coming up with mobile and tab-friendly apps that making browsing and ordering much easier. Customers can also make payments with the easy mobile wallet options and optimized checkout. Add to this, the option of saving your searches, preferred brands and products. So far m-commerce was mostly limited to lifestyle and entertainment segments. Now, other popular segments like education are also entering the fray. BYJU for example, has been a pathbreaker in the field of online tutorials, which was so far limited to downloading notes or question papers.
e-commerce trends are at times changing at the pace of a consumer’s mood change. While major changes like automation, augmented reality and virtual reality, machine learning are shaping the technological landscape, at large, we must also take into account the influence upon social commerce. While the need personal apps are on the rise, community-led commerce is seeing new heights, through recommendations and feedback forums.
The consumer, undoubtedly the queen, is making her demands obvious, which the marketers need to understand. Understanding the customer, through newer ways social innovation lies at the core of all change. When the needs are defined, the means to attain may just need to be worked out. Pixel Solutionz will keep you posted more ….