Online sales have been gradually increasing alongside advances in technology, resulting in consumers craving more convenience when it comes to their purchases. 4 and 5G-enabled devices and the rise of apps, for example, have meant people can purchase goods and services at any time, any place. All it takes is a few taps of a smartphone screen.
Here are some technological trends that you should take advantage of to drive your e-commerce forward.
- Augmented reality
- Voice search
- Omnichannel support
- Mobile commerce
- Personalised recommendations
- Quick and simple checkout process
1. Augmented reality
One of the most popular trends in the e-commerce landscape will be product visualisation. Your customers might want to browse and purchase online but they also want to experience the products/services as well as they can in real life.
Augmented reality (AR) can help customers receive the tactile information they want. Let’s say your customer wants to purchase a new sofa. By superimposing digital images of the sofa into a live view of your customer’s living room, they can see what the product could look like in a real-life setting.
AR is also a great way to tackle customer complaints that are about your products not being what they expected. They can experience your product before they commit to a purchase, thus making a more informed decision.
2. Mobile commerce
By the end of 2021, 73% of e-commerce sales will take place on a mobile phone. And user experience matters because over half of consumers (52%) are put off by a brand after just one bad mobile experience.
So, you need to ensure that their experience with your brand is streamlined and user-friendly. Some ways to do that are to ensure your website is compatible with a variety of different devices (as well as browsers) and offering autofill/intuitive suggestions.
3. Voice search
It’s not just mobile commerce that’s driving online sales. Voice-controlled devices are playing a bigger role in driving sales than ever before. Surveys have suggested there will be 8 billion voice assistants in use by 2023, up from 2.5 billion in 2018.
Research by Microsoft also found 40% of consumers used voice technology to make online purchases and the majority (35%) enjoyed it. Only 5% didn’t. And what about the impact of voice search for businesses? It’s predicted that by 2021, those who have redesigned their websites to support voice search capabilities will increase revenue by 30%.
So, consider voice search as part of your overall e-commerce strategy. Think of what problems your target audience might be experiencing and how they might phrase their queries.
4. Omnichannel support
Did you know that 85% of customers start a purchase on one device and complete it on another? Not only does this show the increasing popularity of cross-channel research, but it also means you need to offer a smooth, consistent experience across multiple devices and channels.
Your customers are expecting a variety of ways they can receive support from your company. Here are some examples:
- Live chat that’s available on various devices, not just on desktop
- Social media customer support
- Video chat (great for product demos and consultations)
Chatbots are relatively common in the world of e-commerce and can be incredibly helpful – they communicate directly with customers and create a sense of personal attention, ultimately boosting customer service and experience.
You can add a chatbot to help answer common customer queries that won’t require human intervention. Not only will this boost your customer service team’s productivity (freeing up their time to help other customers who do need their help), but it also allows your website visitors to almost instantly gain a response to their queries.
If you haven’t implemented personalisation into your e-commerce strategy, why haven’t you? This tactic can lift revenue by 25% and reduce website bounce rates by as much as 30%. Some ways to offer personalisation on your website are:
- Product recommendations based on the user’s purchase and search history on your website
- Product recommendations based on what users of similar profiles have interacted with
- Bundles based on popular pairings
- Personalised greeting for your returning customers
To truly succeed with this tactic, however, you need access to data and that starts with technology that can capture and integrate all that you need. For instance, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can store customer data. Integrate this with your e-commerce and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform and personalised recommendations become so much more streamlined.
7. Quick and simple checkout process
How many times have you abandoned your shopping cart? I bet you can’t count, it’s that many. I know I’ve done it countless times. It’s easy to forget about it as a consumer but as a business, it’s frustrating. I know you share my pain.
Now, some of the most common reasons for cart abandonment are:
- Extra costs added up and became too high
- Needed to create an account to complete the purchase
- Checkout process was complicated
- Can’t easily see the total cost
- Website kept crashing or there were errors
- Lack of payment options
Can you see a recurring theme? Apart from extra costs being too high, all the other reasons can be attributed to an overly complex checkout process. No matter how nurtured your lead is and how loyal your customer is, an inefficient checkout process can lead to them clicking off the page.
User experience (UX) truly does matter! So, embrace technology that can provide a fast, efficient checkout:
- A range of payment options (including mobile payment, ‘buy now, pay later’ and bespoke plans for your B2B customers)
- Ability to save card details
- Only asking for the information needed for the purchase
In 2019, video shot to popularity thanks to its ability to increase conversion rates, with 62% of consumers saying that they preferred to watch product reviews before purchasing. Watch being the key word here.
Written content is still great, of course, but you should be using video to complement your overall content strategy. When done right, product/service videos are educational, inspirational and allow your customers to see the product/service with their own eyes. It’s also great for mobile users and easy to share on social media.
Customer expectations are changing. Are you staying ahead?
As we head into 2021, customers are raising their expectation bars even higher. To ensure you’re not only just keeping up but staying ahead, check out our industry report below.
We examine the state of the e-commerce industry, predict how it will look from 2021 onwards and provide advice on how businesses like yours can stay ahead of the curve. Download it below.