2017 has proven to be a year of glittering advancements in the eCommerce scene. There is a direct correlation between these advancements and the needs of the predominant target markets of Gen X’ers and beyond. Being the driving force of the information age, coupled with their inherent need for instant gratification, AI, machine-learning, mobile, and cognitive technologies helped pave the way to progression in the eCommerce customer journey.
Now is the time to get ahead of the game, before your competitors get the chance to grab your market share. The first step is to educate yourself on the features, functionalities, and processes that are necessary to accomplish this.
Unlike the customers of yesteryear, today’s customers are not only sharing incredible amounts of information on their multiple devices, they are expecting retailers to use that information to create unique personalized experiences for their journey. It has become the responsibility of retailers to give their customers personalized interactions and recommendations to ensure they get what they want, where they want, when they want it.
Panoptic search (also known as visual search) and voice search are becoming increasingly helpful in eCommerce. 2017 marked the beginning of a revolution in panoptic search, thanks to the popularity of visual social platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. Retailers and publishers around the world, such as Erdbeerlounge and Intu, are going the extra mile and amplifying their websites with visual search capabilities powered by Syte AI. Visual search is quickly becoming the standard. In the case of voice search, people are getting increasingly comfortable speaking to their phones to ask questions, search, and shop. Is your site ready to adapt to sensory search?
Simplicity for the Customer
This may sound like a no-brainer to many, but you will be surprised. In order to provide a more seamless user experience, you must look into new tools, systems, and technologies such as machine learning to help with all the heavy-lifting. While you’re at it, make use of one-click solutions. You will find that in reducing customer effort, you will reduce time and energy spent on trivial matters on the backend.
By 2020, smartphones and tablets will account for more than 3/4 of online commercial transactions on a global scale. It’s quickly becoming essential to supplement eCommerce with mobile commerce (also being known as mCommerce.) Interestingly enough, doing so only opens new opportunities for retailers, such as mobile payments, on-demand services, app-based services, new marketplaces, and more. If you find a white-label solution that can get you in on mobile commerce- get all over that!
AI for the Back Office
It’s a jungle out there, and we totally get how time-consuming it becomes to keep tabs on adjustments that need to be made in order to compete. Luckily, we are in the midst of times where that no longer needs to be an issue. Seek technology that uses machine-learning and predictive analysis that will assist with real-time optimization of merchandising, pricing, sourcing, and more.
Messaging apps led to the rapid rise of chatbots, which numerous brands are embracing. There are over 100K chatbots on Facebook Messenger alone, and they are being used to handle basic orders, customer service inquiries, even personal shopping assistance such as that offered by Syte Inspire. We strongly recommend you get on board the chatbot train, as the perks are plentiful.
Real-Time Customer Assistance
Customer support needs to be top-notch in terms of speed and quality. In addition to chatbots, look into live chat, and self-service portals for customers. The latter isn’t anything particularly new, but it is important, and many retailers fail to provide these levels of support. Stop customer frustration before it starts!
As the eCommerce gets larger, it will only get more difficult for brands to stand out from the giants. This increases the importance of frequent *strategic* paid social media promotions and email marketing efforts. You may want to consider automated and personalized solutions if you’re really looking to scale on that front, to help drive outside traffic across all relevant social channels. On that note, educate yourself on SEO (to attract visitors to your site,) PPC (to get more customers,) and conversion rate optimization (to increase sales.)
Adoption of Sales Funnels
This is typically used in Internet marketing, and is a really good one to implement for increasing marketplace sales. Sales funnels help control the customer journey based on their behavior to increase conversion rates. For example, you can use a Facebook ad to drive traffic to a landing page, which will guide customers to your store on Amazon.
These are amongst the leading features, functionalities, and processes that will help give your business the edge it needs to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of eCommerce. We have sure come a long way from just slapping products onto a database and hoping for transactions. The market is fierce, and you cannot afford to fall behind during this turning point!
Go get ‘em, and make 2018 your year!