The e-commerce world is undergoing an extraordinary wave of innovation. New business models are emerging, brands are experimenting with voice commerce, companies are testing augmented reality, along with headless commerce evolving.
Yes, the industry is being raised from the offline, online, and anywhere in between. Lots of profound things are expected to change in retail over 2020 and beyond. The future is bright, and we are here to understand what it will look like.
Progressive Web Applications
With the uprise of progressive frameworks such as React.js and Angular, a lot of e-commerce retailers began to migrate their stores to PWAs. Following the example of famous brands such as Oliver Bonas, END Clothing, Adidas, and Lancome USA, other e-commerce companies inspired by their success stories abandon their regular sites in favour of progressive applications.
In a nutshell, a PWA is a mix of a responsive website and a native application. The technology provides e-commerce stores with extremely fast performance (thanks to service workers and site caching), perfect UX, and offline functionality.
Look at this awesome Alibaba’s PWA. It looks and feels exactly like a native app.
Among the main PWA features are an app-like appearance and the ability to get access to the device’s hardware and software while operating inside a browser. PWAs can be installed on users’ home screens just like regular apps but don’t require a download from app stores. However, developing a progressive app on top of an e-commerce store is quite challenging so that you need to hire experienced front-end developers to turn your site into something that consumers love.
Product Visualization And Augmented Reality
Have you used real-time face masks for Instagram that floated blogger’s stories? This is a perfect example of Augmented Reality (short for AR). But how this technology can be connected with online retailers?
With AR, store owners can implement a kind of virtual fitting room to their website functionality. As such, they are able to provide customers with the opportunity to try on the products before buying with the help of their devices’ cameras. For instance, a famous brand Sephora allows its customers to try on various products that can be purchased from the store with a virtual AG-based mirror. The customers can see how, say, a lipstick will look on their lips.
Furthermore, Gucci decided to keep up and developed its own AR-based app both for iOS and Android. Within the app, users can choose the sneakers they like and point their cameras at their feet to try on the shoes virtually. Besides, an integrated photo feature lets them make a snapshot with the models and share the photos via social media.
Mobile Shopping Is Still On The Rise
The opportunity to buy from any place in the world is one of the major advantages of mobile shopping. According to the latest report, mobile commerce will increase to 68% by 2022 as far as more and more people shop on their phones. M-commerce has the great potential to become the main channel for shopping and to change consumer behaviour. Why should online store owners care about this trend?
Taking these numbers into account, your website must be not only mobile-friendly but also provide a seamless UX with the advanced functionality involved so that your customers can get the ability to shop as easily as they can do on desktops.
Personalization is Critical
“If you don’t upsell on your store, you are losing money” this is the fundamental truth that every savvy entrepreneur knows. But with modern technologies, up-selling took a step forward and moved beyond adding an “Other customers also bought” section on the product pages. Forward-thinking online retailers can offer products to their customers’ tastes by defining which items “go well” with the selected products based on previous buys made by each customer. Just take a look at the personalized upselling section on the ASOS online store.
Environmentally Conscious Buyers
Today’s shoppers are becoming more and more demanding. They are more aware now than ever of the impact products can have on the environment. Nowadays, one can see that many e-commerce companies regardless of their size and focus, have started implementing the environmental practices as a marketing tool. From local coffee shops to supermarkets, there are green claims everywhere.
Visual Search in eCommerce
Let’s assume that you are on the train and you see a person carrying your dream bag. You turn your smartphone to see whether you can find it online. But what to type and where to find it? How to describe the bag? Many vague search terms come to your mind when you are trying to guess the ways to buy the same bag. But there is another way. Visual search is AI-powered tech that revolutionized the retail experience by eliminating the friction between seeing and buying. The technology provides the ability to use an image to search for related or identical visual assets. In a nutshell, visual search with the help of artificial intelligence, use visual clues and the image’s metadata to find the most relevant results possible based on similarities such as the style, shape, or colour of the product.
Recent studies show that the global visual search market is expected to surpass $14,727m by 2023. However, in 2020, only 8% of online entrepreneurs have integrated the image search on their websites. Among those are such famous brands as Amazon with its StyleSnap, Visenze, Google with its Google Lens, Pinterest.
In the context of e-commerce personalization, this technology provides brands with a great opportunity to foster a deep connection with their customers by making it easier for them to find the items they want.
Chatbot Shopping Assistants
In 2020, more and more brands are using chatbots to answer customers’ queries. Their influence is so high that AI-powered chatbots are rapidly replacing human-based call centres. They are developed to answer any question that a customer may have. Besides, they are able to learn both from training and previous experience. Some chatbots can act as voice assistants adapting to many languages and dialects. The chatbots may use for:
- responding to queries with better accuracy
- sending shipping information for creating a more personal connection with the company
- taking orders
- cross-selling and up-selling
- sending mass messages.
E-commerce is one of the most fast-changing industries. To move with the times and create an online business that will be competitive, entrepreneurs need to take into account the latest trends and innovations to meet increasing customers’ demands.