The 21st century retail industry represents an alluring, technologically inclined and engaging commercial landscape. Moreover, digital advancements in payments, mobility, and computing have put a new spin on merchandising. Today, the approach of shopping has completely altered. It has become more customer-centric towards preferred brands, easy modes of payments, sales and deals, duration of shopping, as well as a reason for shopping. Marketing personnel behind brands and e-commerce websites are struggling to create a mark for themselves in such a competitive market ruckus.
The prime most challenge for contemporary retailers is how to keep up with the customers’ expectations and successfully deliver them back to the customers. People no longer shop out of necessity rather for pleasure. Moreover, technology has added fuel to the fire of the retail industry.
Here are some transformational e-commerce trends that will continue to dominate the flourishing market.
Rejoicing the Birth of Brick & Mortar Stores
Statistically speaking, nearly 50% of the population still enjoys the physical, in-person store experience as compared to online shopping. What customers want is digitally groomed, on-site stores which offer them a calming shopping experience. More than displayed merchandise, users wish an easy medium to exchange the damaged products, replace and pick up the new ones all under one roof. In addition to this, retaining customers is a high priority agenda. Numerous retailers are rolling out new stores that are spiced with digital flavors along with miscellaneous services such as tailoring, try-ons, grooming, and cafeteria.
B2B Vs B2C E-Commerce
Initially, the B2B business model was developed, facilitating sales transactions between two businesses. Now with the latest introduction of the B2C model, vendors can directly sell products to their customers. This simplistic availability of the B2B business model is slowing and gaining an upper hand over the older business model. Over the coming years, customers will witness a refined version of the innovative business canvas.
Shopping with Augmented Reality Apps
The beauty of augmented reality (AR) is envisioning a 3D image of a product in the user’s personal environment via a mobile app. From Apple to Amazon, e-commerce companies are butting heads to win the race of developing AR dominated apps. Some brands have come up with 3D product try-ons, as Lacoste’s AR app allows users to try on shoes virtually, as well as, Sephora created a Virtual Artist App with ModiFace to help see Sephora app users how makeup products will look on their face. Preference will be given by prospective customers to those products which are true-to-scale and fulfill their requirements.
The augmentation of voice technology has led to new ways users search and interact with devices. Nowadays, the voice is being used to search and purchase products. According to comScore, more than 50% of the total searches will be voice searches by 2020. Now, it’s obvious that business websites will alter according to search engine updates. In coming times so many people may consider buying something using voice as it provides much less friction than most check out experiences. This is going to be a game changer in Search Engine Optimization and will design e-commerce websites accordingly.
Fast Shipping and Various Delivery Options
Speed and efficiency are the key driving factors in online purchases, many companies are offering same day delivery or even 2-hour delivery in prime areas. Ahead of the direct to door method, customers are looking for greater convenience, e-commerce platforms will be providing various delivery options with flexibility and the logistics will be smooth in upcoming years.
Australia Post lately announced a new subscription-based service called Shipster that allows customers to pay an amount for a month and get free shipping from over 60 Australian retailers. Online retailers are investing in new ways to deliver their customer easily, as Amazon has started trialing of drones to deliver packages.
A chatbot is an interesting way to serve interest driven results to the customers. Retailers are using this technology to empower customer service interactions and they are applying chatbots in vast areas ranging from basic customer support of personalized sales interactions.
According to a 2016 Oracle report, 80% of respondents responded they already used, or plan to use chatbots by 2020. The year 2019 promises to bring out the most out of this technology, which helps save customer’s time.
Use of Mobile App Over Browser
As more people shop on the go, they are more focused on mobile and prefer to purchase from the mobile app itself. With the technological developments in the e-commerce mobile applications, such as IKEA’s AR based ‘Place’ app lets customer virtually place furniture in their space and they can make better choices.
Image Search and Easier Checkouts
Image search or searching the matching product by using own photos or online pictures or a blog will be amongst the most popular trends for e-commerce in 2019. H&M’s app and website allows shoppers search for an item by using an image.
Easier checkouts will also be a trend to look ahead, application of one-page checkout, autofill fields, no mandatory registration, and scanning credit cards with image recognition software will allow shoppers to check out in a flash of time.
Payment Method Options
About 10 years ago, online payments used to be a distrustful activity, but now people are using various methods to pay online in easy and quick ways with a touch of safety. The rapid advancements in payment methods are to meet the consumer’s need for a more frictionless checkout experience. With the cryptocurrency introduced, will be driven to a stage where buyers can purchase the product and pay via cryptocurrency, reportedly, Canadian e-commerce platform, Shopify deployed bitcoin as a payment method. Use of cryptocurrency may lead to a huge change in the year 2019.
The Rise of Video Content
A video is an efficient way to let viewers know a product well, use of videos usually helps to attract more customers. A video on the website can surely increase the number of visits to the product page, hence the conversion rate. In the coming times, brands will be seen using video in a number of ways, such as brand films, animation videos, educational videos, product videos, testimonials, and FAQ videos to connect customers.
In upcoming years, technological revolutions will bring the e-commerce sector farther than never before. Increased application of AI will prosper the retail industry. Starting from a search for product till the checkout, each experience will be positively affected and improvised by the time. A customer-centric view is the key to success in the sector, which will help retailers to grow and enhance.