Although the ecommerce environment is changing all the time, some things don’t change; delivery times remain a priority, customer service is a key differentiator, and the range of products customers can choose from is growing all the time.
However, some aspects will become increasingly important for ecommerce in the future.
Personalisation and customer experience
As online competition grows, delivering outstanding experiences to your customers will be essential. This will demand an increasingly personalised service at every point of contact, from research on a mobile device to your stores or sales partners.
According to a recent report from Accenture, 75% of customers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognises them by name, recommends options based on past purchases or knows their preferences.
However, with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), obtaining, securely holding and appropriately using personal information must be increasingly disciplined.
Subscription models and added value
For many businesses it will become increasingly difficult to compete with marketplaces like Amazon for the range, cost and delivery of generic products.
In contrast, specialist, niche and added value products and services will reach and retain loyal customers with their strong product knowledge, unique offers and add-on services. Subscriptions for ongoing support, maintenance and other innovative offers will become the core of many online businesses.
More ecommerce trends
‘No boundaries’ ecommerce
The boundaries between online and in-store buying are quickly disappearing. Many businesses are already combining customer information, order tracking and in-store experiences. Retailers are looking for new ways to customise online and offline shopping experiences.
Waitrose is translating online buying into a real-world experience with a click-and-collect service that uses convenient temperature-controlled lockers at train stations and airports, for example.
Pop-up chats and shops
You can build dialogue with your customers with a pop-up online invitation. They can have a conversation with a real employee or chat with a ‘bot’ that can simulate human responses to many of the most common customer questions.
Alternatively, if your business is currently online only, you can try a pop-up store to engage with your customers and find out more about them. They can be a low-cost way of reaching a new audience and you can explore opportunities in your market.
You can even create an augmented reality (AR) store online and invite your customers in or show how your products will look in their homes.
Even relatively small ecommerce businesses can now use apps to build their customer base.
The next step is likely to be artificial intelligence (AI) systems for everything from optimising your online conversion rates to choosing the best performing design for your website. Your results can be consistently refined through a process of testing, optimisation to continually improve your results.
Learning across channels
More and more people move between your website to mobile devices or apps, before making their buying decisions. Understanding analytics across all of your channels will become increasingly important for your ecommerce strategy.
You can learn when, where and how customers move between channels and what triggers their decision. This will allow you to optimise their experience and improve your results.
With the Internet of Things (IoT) you can even keep track online of replacement parts and consumable items and assess when it’s time to get in touch for a maintenance visit or a sales call.
If you’re ready to step into the future with ecommerce, get in touch with our experts.