2017 proved to be yet another year of successive growth in e-commerce industry, which contradicted those who underestimated the power of online trading. Interestingly there where similar speculations made on the decline of the classic “brick and mortar commerce” which has been used for centuries. However experts were surprised to see that due to the rise of innovative thinking and technology both e-commerce and in-store shopping have had promising growth. Let’s find out which of these technologies and innovative ideas are going to be trending this year.
Voice activated devices were at the forefront of e-commerce at the end of last year,when hundreds of voice command systems were sold as presents for loved ones over the holiday season. Alexa, Siri, and Google Home are currently the trending top three forerunners for such devices, where people are using them to search for things on the web and also for shopping purposes. As more third parties are being allowed to build voice activated applications to run on such devices, we can expect to see a rise in consumers using these systems for more online shopping.
As our lives revolve around our mobiles, businesses will be ensuring their customer shopping experiences are in line with their competition. For this very reason mobile apps will continue to advance with more populating the digital industry, meaning we will see a significant increase in the number of mobile purchases. Experts in the field have already seen a hint of what’s to come in mobile commerce, when around 65% of online sales across all the Shopify platforms,were processed via mobile devices on Black Friday 2017. However whilst this is a mere nod in the right direction, mobile commerce is going to become a much more integral part of the E-commerce sphere with applications like mobile pay and AR.
We have seen apps from brands like Magnolia and Ikea, already harnessing the power of Augmented Reality(AR). By enhancing their user experience within multiple features, has subsequently increased their conversion rate. This year we expect more companies will rise to these expectations, making AR and similarly VR, the “game changer” in the field of e-commerce.
It seems the era of people being apprehensive about online shopping is almost a mere myth. In fact according to the latest statement published by eMarketer, in the UK alone e-commerce sales have increased by 23.2%, which is actually one tenth of retail trade. This is a clear indication that people will eventually be more comfortable with the option of instant pay, provided the sellers are mindful of their consumers preferences, and how they feel about employing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for more accurate results.
Machine learning will soon be able to decipher upcoming trends by deriving relationships between different variables. Active applications that incorporate machine learning to comprehend buyers’ preferences will ultimately result in better user experiences and conversions, through marketing and re-targeting.
As we have previously stated, whilst online shopping is preferable because it’s easier for the consumer, people still enjoy the experience of physically going into the shops and being able to touch the products. Whilst the two experiences are polar opposites, certain businesses are exploring the combination of both to create one ultimate experience. For example the new Amazon Go that has recently opened in Seattle, lets you walk into the shop to pick up items and see them first hand, but rather than paying for the items you want at a cashier, you simply walk out of the shop. As you leave the premises machines linked with your shopping app will be able to automatically deduct your account, for the total amount of products you have purchased. Even though Amazon is among some of the first businesses to trial this combined experience, is has caused quite a lot of excitement in consumers, so we expect more businesses will be working on similar ideas to incorporate this concept.
This concept allows consumers to simply purchase the products online and then physically go into the shop of the seller to collect it. The same suit can be followed to return the already purchased item.
Whilst some retail stores (the bigger chains) have already got this in place, there are many more businesses still to catch onto this concept, whether this be down to funding or practicality. This option is especially helpful for the sellers who already have a loyal customer base around them, and they simply want to enhance their customers’ experience with better availability.
This particular trend has already been recognised by Jason Strokes, founder of Shopify Expert East side Co., when he stated that “Pinterest and Instagram, two highly visual platforms, let merchants bring their products to their customers without their customers even realizing it”.In other words where social media is vastly growing by the second, we will see an increase in the number of in-app purchasing on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and other crowded social networks. With eye catching visuals and more familiar landscapes these virtual social platforms are far more promising for sellers to better interact with their customers. These platforms will also demonstrate an increase in the impulsive shopping behaviour as more users find them a trustworthy source.