The advancement of technology has provided us with one of the greatest advancements, which is online shopping. With massive advances in technology, the future of shopping has taken quite an interesting turn. With its growing popularity, it’s not the case that physical establishments are going outdated, but instead are thriving side by side, highlighting the world’s evolving shopping habits. The popularity of e-commerce businesses has risen considerably in the last few years due to the internet and its apps, ads, online reviews, brands etc.
The e-commerce market is expanding daily, introducing trends that decide the future of online shopping and shopping in general. With physical and digital shopping coming close together, multi-channel shopping has paved the way for a better customer experience and has enabled accurate tracking and personalisation for its customers. E-commerce maintains a steady logbook of its customers and their shopping choices, marketing channels, and main drives to enable a purchase.
The next logical step for a lot of companies to drive huge sales is omnichannel retail. It is also beneficial for enhancing revenue and improving customer relationships. The best aspect of the omnichannel design is that marketers could track a customer’s preferences and purchases which in turn allows them to understand the customers better and suggest products or services that fit their personalised wants and needs.
Omnichannel retail comes with a handful number of advantages such as-
- Increased efficiency to provide consistency to the customer shopping experience across all shopping platforms.
- Improved data collection for a more personalised customer experience
- Data analysis and communication channels help in understanding customer needs and improve interpersonal relationships with clients.
At present, most of these stores exist as both physical retails as well as have their e-commerce sites set up. Each of these stores could be visited offline as well as online. The popularity of online shopping has steadily shown a rise in numbers, it is now evident that the world’s shopping habits are taking quite an interesting turn and leading to an ever-changing future as information and technology continue to develop. Though the basic form of shopping which is brick-and-mortar retail will always exist, going out to certain establishments and trying on products on the spot has a special significance that no technology has yet replaced. Although, with recent developments in AR tech and the metaverse, we can hope to see some changes in bringing the 3D world to our fingertips.
We use Amazon as an example, for instance. The brand is customer-centric, and the abundance of data they have gathered over the past 20 years supports this strategy. Amazon gives its consumers the choice to browse and buy whatever they want whenever they want by integrating this data across several channels.
Trends emerging in the E-commerce sector
- AR will enhance customer and consumer experience
The future of AR is ubiquitous as the technology becomes increasingly accessible with each passing day. AR can be widely prevalent on mobile phones and can assist shoppers to truly see and experience the item for which they are shopping. Augmented reality technology has turned out to be one of the top innovations opening new growth areas for businesses around the world. AR experiences can prove to serve a significant competitive edge in worldwide industries.
For instance, Sephora’s Virtual Artist enables users to star in lessons, get virtual makeovers, and more easily share passions with friends. The programme scans your face, identifies your lips, cheeks, and eyes for product placement, and allows you to virtually experiment on cosmetics. The app also matches your makeup colour to your wardrobe, offers virtual step-by-step tutorials tailored to your face, and immediately compares hundreds of colour swatches.
- Voice search will dominate the industry
The increased popularity of voice search among internet users concludes that voice search can be an essential marketing tool and online businesses should take advantage of it to increase their brand reach and sales. Voice search is quicker and more efficient than typing which in turn allows you to find the desired product super quickly. With voice search features, users can now shop while doing other tasks which could not have been as efficient if were to type. This makes it very convenient for searching in comparison to typing.
Just a few examples of fantastic platforms that are incredibly good at handling jobs successfully are devices and software like Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, and Microsoft’s Cortana. You can now engage in e-commerce trade in addition to hailing cabs, calling friends, sending messages, and playing music with only your voice.
- Big Data in Ecommerce Personalization
Marketing and sales are all about understanding customers and their wants. With third-party cookies and your information stored online, it personalises your recommendations and shows you just the advertisements of products you have searched on the internet before. Creating recommendations is one of the most known big data applications in e-commerce as most of us deal with personalised recommendations based on our previous purchases. By analysing customers’ behaviour in real-time, businesses can manipulate them towards purchasing by updating their recommendations based on the products they have viewed before.
According to a recent study, BDA led to more than 10% growth for 56% of e-commerce enterprises through enhanced decision-making, better data utilisation, and customer empowerment.
- Chatbots and customer service may go hand-in-hand
With little to no development costs, chatbot strategy effectiveness can be evaluated which gives businesses a new way to get in front of their customers just the way a sales representative does. Advances in AI in chatbot capabilities can help predict customer wants and need based on purchase history and additional machine learning capabilities. Multiple social media channels are integrating chat functionality into their platforms.
An effective and popular example is the eBay chatbot. eBay’s chatbot, which was created for the Google Assistant, may be utilised with Google Home or on a phone. The bot will drive the sales process and respond to client product-related questions. For instance, it can respond to consumers’ inquiries about the greatest new products or the selections with the lowest prices across all of eBay’s international sites.
- Versatile payment gateways
Cashless transaction economies are becoming conventional and the ability to support multiple payment gateways for e-commerce sites has become a crucial factor in determining the point of sales. Since high-value transactions are now a part of day-to-day activity, the payment channel in place can greatly influence the success of any online business.
With Google Wallet, you can check out hundreds of thousands of stores more quickly than ever before by paying with just a tap. Once a credit or debit card is added, you can use it as much as you like even when your phone is not nearby.
- Mobile shopping
While most users use laptops for online transactions and shopping, a recent rise has been seen in users using their smartphones for shopping online. The reason being mobile phones are more accessible as they are constantly with us and we’re using them almost always. Mobile continues to play a key role in the success of e-commerce. Moreover, a greater percentage of consumers use mobile phones to research purchasing decisions before buying from the store or site. The concept of mobile marketing is a multichannel online marketing technique focused on reaching a specific audience on their smartphones or any other related device through websites. Rather than an option, mobile marketing is an obligation for online stores.
Additionally, each website emphasises a straightforward, mobile-friendly design that enables customers to find what they’re looking for quickly and simply. They take less than three seconds to load, are simple to navigate, and most importantly, offer a positive user experience.
- Subscription-based e-commerce model is the future of business
Subscription-based eCommerce is based on collecting revenue from customers periodically, on services and products at a chargeable fee. The revenue collected from them is called subscription revenue and can be a monthly, yearly etc. subscription time model. Here, regular customers are given more attention, making it more about customer retention than customer acquisition. Subscription-based models try to convert long-term customers from one-time purchasers to recurring purchasers, by providing them with continuous access to a service or a product they need.
Virtual content goods are the simplest way for consumers to engage with subscription e-commerce. The media behemoths Netflix, Prime Video, Spotify, Apple Music, Hulu, and HBO Max all provide hundreds of films, songs, and television programmes to keep you entertained continuously with a small fee for its subscriptions
One huge advantage of online shopping is that shoppers on e-commerce sites can access information about their required items beforehand without being assisted by another salesperson. They can look up products and other items online and find out any information they need like reviews from other customers, price differences among other brands, nearest outlets of that brand or just choosing a brand. With the information collected, they can make a concrete decision about the product they wish to buy all from a device which has an internet connection. This ease of access has changed the overall technique of shopping in recent years. Furthermore, shoppers are benefitted from the technology that assists them in tracking their shipments and getting an estimate of their delivery dates. They can also choose to return a product if it does not fit the image of what the consumers expected.
Changing customer behaviours are playing the most fundamental role in increasing the popularity of the e-commerce field. The future of shopping is expected to be digital and the things which will remain the same are key focus on data and data analysis, personalised customer-consumer relationships, and smooth management of business transactions. Nonetheless, there are more opportunities for growth in the future and physical stores must embrace innovative technologies to showcase their business online and find ways to further elevate their brands.
Sayeri Roy is a Content Writer at Quadrant Knowledge Solutions