Updated: Sep 14, 2021
Will ecommerce continue to grow? The short answer is Yes. Consumers are relying on digital commerce to shop for everything they need including bare necessities. But don’t take my word for it, consider the following eCommerce statistics -
According to NRF revised forecast -
Retail sales to now exceed more than $4.44 trillion in 2021
Online sales are expected to grow $1.09-$1.23 trillion
According to emarketer -
Ecommerce will account for 18.9% of total holiday season retail sales
What is actually driving this growth? There are several reasons. Today’s customers are seeking easy, convenient and faster ways to do their daily tasks and fulfil needs. They are looking for tailored and personalized shopping experiences and e-commerce technology is playing a huge role in this.
15 current and upcoming ecommerce technology trends -
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR)
Internet of things (IOT)
Let’s look at these technologies and how they have impacted e commerce in a positive way -
Artificial Intelligence - AI or Artificial Intelligence is being used to improve customer shopping experience and overall customer satisfaction in digital commerce. Brands can personalize user experience and provide recommendations based on consumer behavior patterns and personal preferences.
Chatbots - With the help of AI powered Chatbots, brands can provide personalized customer service to its end customers. Businesses can around the clock assist clients that are searching for information on any topic, respond to their questions, resolve their problems and improve their online shopping experience based on their personal shopping preferences.
Voice assistant - Today, 27% of the online global population is using voice search on mobile. Consumers use voice assistants such as - Siri and Alexa to search, research, purchase, ship, track and leave review and re-order products in the future. As more people adopt this Conversational AI channel, voice commerce is only expected to grow (40 billion in US by 2022) in the coming years.
Messaging apps - AI powered messaging apps are now 20% more popular than social media networks. What was once used for chatting and sharing videos with friends, now consumers find brands, look up products, get their questions answered and make purchases via messaging apps such as Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, Wechat etc. Businesses are also using messaging apps to provide personalized customer assistance. Being able to engage customers in the right conversation at the right time on the right channel has helped brands drive conversions, increase customer satisfaction and boost sales.
M-commerce - Consumers are increasingly shopping online using their mobile phones. As per experts at Statista, in 2021 53.9% of ecommerce sales is expected to be via m-commerce. Besides shopping, customers use mobile phones for searching and researching products. It’s convenient, easy and secure.
Digital Video - Be it B2B or B2C marketing, digital video’s popularity continues to rise year over year. Customer-centric brands continue to use digital videos to increase their brand awareness, educate their customers and encourage purchase. Product videos help showcase product and service offerings as well as provide instructions on how to use them.
AR/VR - Today’s customers are looking for interactive and personalized experiences and brands are successfully using technology to create them. Up until a few years ago, you had to go to a store to look at products or try on merchandise. Now you can preview them when you are ready and within the comfort of your home with the help of Augmented reality and Virtual reality. If you are new to the product and need instructions, interactive manuals can help. AR market is expected to keep growing. In 2021, there were 1.96 billion estimated AR mobile users, by 2023 this number would reach 2.4 billion.
Digital Wallets - One way to boost sales and conversion rates for online retailers is to make the checkout process as easy as possible for their customers. And that involves the payment function. Digital wallet or e-wallet functionality has helped brands streamline this process. Instead of typing up their personal and financial information, customers shopping on their smartphones can simply pay using a mobile wallet such as - Apple Pay, Bitcoin Wallet, Masterpass etc.
Social media - With more and more customers turning to social media sites looking for products, platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Linked In and Twitter are playing a huge role in increasing brand awareness and boosting sales. Both B2B/B2C rely on social for discovering and researching new brands and products as well as for decision making purposes.
Cobrowsing - Increasing number of brands are using technologies such as cobrowing, screen sharing and video chats to guide their customers through technical difficulties, fill out complex forms and make purchases successfully.
Product Customization - Innovative companies are providing their customers with product customization as per their requirements. Consumers can personalize and customize products based on color, textures, text and so on, in-store or online, try it on virtually and make their purchase. Brands who are already providing this as an option have a competitive edge.
IOT - Internet of things is helping ecommerce. Brands can now monitor their inventory, manage their warehouse space effectively and provide customers real time status on where their package is before it is finally delivered.
Drone Delivery - Up until now drone delivery has only been seen in videos but consumers can expect leading brands such as UPS and Amazon to soon be introducing the same in the near future.
ROPO - Savvy customers like to get the best deal on products they like. They also like to read customer reviews, watch product videos, compare with other similar options as part of their online research before they make a purchase decision. Then they go to their local store to complete their purchase. ROPO (Research online and purchase offline) is part of the modern customer journey that brands should continue to factor in their marketing and sales initiatives.
Visual search - Instead of typing in keywords or phrases to find products while shopping online, customers can use images to discover new products and shop online. They can simply snap a picture using their smartphone (let’s say a handbag a woman they see is carrying), upload it on the visual search engine such as google images and get results for the items they are interested in. Brands that incorporate voice and visual search in their websites, will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%.
Keeping up with ecommerce technology trends allows brands to drive sales, boost revenue, increase operational efficiency and provide a superior customer experience to their customers.