Posted on November 13, 2019 by
In the realm of eCommerce, you could take a short nap and wake up to realize the latest cutting-edge technology you’re using has become obsolete. That’s how fast technology is advancing.
Online store owners who set up shop 4 or 5 years ago and haven’t updated their platforms would have already fallen far behind. Running on outdated legacy eCommerce technology amplifies the risk of going out of business. You could be making a killing one day and have your sales drop by half the next if you’re not careful.
Here, we address the innovations that took place in the last few years, the current trends and the upcoming developments to watch out for.
Critical Innovations over the last 5 years
eCommerce was born in the 1990s and took a while to grow into what it is today. But there’s whole Grand Canyon between the technology then and now. Most of these innovations happened rapidly over the past five years. Here are 5 of the biggest developments that hit eCommerce in the last few years:
- Readymade eCommerce software – Back in the 1990s, store owners had to build their own software which required a whole army of developers toiling away for days on end. But now, with platforms like WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify, not only can you build an eCommerce site by yourself, you can also customize it to stand out from the rest.
- Mobile Shopping – 49% of consumers shop on their mobiles. These handheld devices have become the world’s way to connect, shop, transact, bank, etc. And it is only growing to encompass more and more daily life activities. For an eCommerce store, this means you need to optimize your site for mobiles. If you haven’t done so already, you’re missing out on more than half of your potential business.
- Cloud hosting – The world is moving everything to the cloud from business data to personal photos. In eCommerce, cloud hosting means you no longer need to have your own physical server. You can say goodbye to all the problems that come along with managing your own server especially outages and the stress of fixing it.
- Marketing tools – Many marketing tools have emerged that can be integrated with eCommerce or can be used independently. But these tools greatly support your business and can help you increase your visibility, your SEO rankings, run targeted advertisements, etc. This has enabled small and brand-new eCommerce stores to be able to run with minimal staff and expertise and compete with big names in the industry.
- E-Wallets and Payment integrations – Easy options to make payments online grew in leaps and bounds on account of the need for seamless transactions. To keep up, eCommerce merchants need to provide a wide array of payment options such as credit cards, debit cards, wallets, net banking, and so on.
Here’s a list of 6 eCommerce trends that are currently in play:
- Lightning speed – The time it takes for your website to load is a top-ranking factor that determines how much business you’ll get. Customers are quick to jump to a competitor’s site if your site takes time to load. You need to constantly monitor your eCommerce site using tools like Google Insights to ensure you’re running at optimum speed.
- Omni-channel shopping – It’s just normal now to start shopping on a desktop, continue on a mobile a few hours later, and check out the next day on the desktop. Google found that 60% of users transition between devices while they shop. So, as an eCommerce store owner, you need to make this transition seamless. It’s imperative that the user’s shopping progress is reflected regardless of which device they pick up next.
- Cross-selling and upselling – Cross-selling is a technique in which you display complementary products that the customer might need based on their current selected. For example, if the customer has added a laptop to their cart, products they might need along with it are displayed such as a laptop bag/sleeve, a keyboard, and a mouse. In upselling, products relevant to the customer’s search query that are of better quality, technology or standard are displayed. We’ve mentioned these two popular techniques, however, there are many other ways to increase conversions and revenue that are currently trending.
- SEO marketing – SEO grew to be the number one channel of driving in traffic to websites, increasing visibility, and boosting sales. Google encompasses 98.53% market share in India. It’s a competitive struggle to get to the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and staying there is even harder. But in eCommerce, SEO simply cannot be ignored. Companies have realized how much organic traffic can be driven in through SEO. While you need other marketing strategies such as paid, social media, and email working in tandem, you need to dedicate much-deserved attention to SEO.
- Chatbots – Chatbots are replacing a significant chunk of customer support as it automates much of the process. This saves time and expenses, all the while providing 24×7 support to customers. It helps redirect customers to the relevant information they need or are most interested in, thereby driving up revenue. Chatbots are easy to implement on an eCommerce site as there are many readymade tools available for it.
- Integration of machine learning and AI – From product recommendations to site search functionality, machine learning and artificial intelligence have already been deeply integrated into eCommerce. This has enabled online stores to offer customers exactly what they want when they want it.
Upcoming Innovations to gear up for
Being prepared for what’s to come will help eCommerce stores keep up in order to survive. But staying ahead of the game and being innovative is what will enable an eCommerce store to dominate the market.
Siri, Alexa, Cortana and the like have become a part of many households and are here to stay. Once we get a taste of voice assistance, it’s hard to go back to a time when it didn’t exist. Such technology will be used to assist shoppers in their journey from beginning to end .i.e., from opening the app all the way to check out.
eCommerce store owners need to start making their sites compatible with voice-assistants. They also need to enhance the shopping experience so that it’s seamless and easy.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
VR and AR bring the technology of 3D and CGI into the world of shopping. Customers will be able to shop in virtual stores and also interact with items, products, and salesforce. Customers will be able to see product reviews, details, pricing, and color variants inside the AR/VR world.
The idea of introducing VR and AR technology to eCommerce has already been experimented with and produced great results. According to Gartner, 100 million customers will shop using AR technology (both online and in-store) by 2020.
It was not too long ago when online shopping meant waiting for weeks for it to arrive. Now, customers find it hard to wait for anything above a day or two. Embracing automation one step further, eCommerce will soon see deliveries made by drones in the sky and droids on the ground.
The delivery will not be limited to the customer’s house address or office address. It will instead be able to pinpoint the live location of the customer and deliver it.
Cryptocurrency has been rendered illegal in many countries for its lack of regulations. But the blockchain technology behind it has not been dismissed. It has huge potential in the future and is being enhanced by government agencies all across the globe.
The technology will bring about a more secure online payment that has the ability to eliminate fraud. It will also help businesses maintain a genuine ledge of all digital transactions. Once online payments become rock-solid in security, we can expect sales to dramatically rise.
Conclusion: Automation is Key and Data is Critical
On one hand, automation is the future of eCommerce. The more we can automate the better it is for business.
On the other, data is extremely vital for the success of an online business. Data can show what’s working and what’s not. It can help predict future trends that will lead to better strategies and plans.
But eCommerce stores have a lot on their plate – merchandising, product sequencing, recommendations, payment gateways, security – the list goes on.
As an eCommerce site owner, you need to ensure you give your customers an optimal shopping experience:
- There should be an option to site search for products they are looking for.
- Products displayed should be relevant to the site search or the channel they entered from (search engines or ads).
- Products should be tagged, categorized, and sequenced to give customers choices of what they’d be interested in.
- Customers love recommendations on similar products, other products they may need, what other customers bought, and so on. It’s important to provide that.
In a brick-and-mortar store, you could leave this up to the store manager and your salesforce. But with an eCommerce store, many of the platforms and tools aren’t equipped to give you control over these aspects.
At Tagalys, we understand the need for technology that will act as a virtual store manager and give you the salesforce you need. Our tool is designed taking into consideration the pain points any eCommerce business faces along with the ever-advancing technology of our world. The tool is data-driven as well so you can be sure it functions on what customers need and want.
We help you increase click-through rates, enable you to have control over what products are displayed, and finally, increase your conversions.
Take control, automate, and run a better eCommerce store. Upgrading to newer technology is well worth the effort.