Global Trends in Web & Mobile E-commerce Solutions in 2017
February 28th, 2017
Ecommerce and retail trade skyrocketed in popularity last year, and in 2017 this area of business still has a lot of potential for growth. What are the tools and trends will influence the ecommerce area and online shopping habits this year?
The beginning of this year saw the fall of the “Buy” button in the Twitter social network. The plans for its success didn’t materialize to the full extent and Twitter gave that idea up after almost two years. However, the experts say that, despite the flop of the “Buy” button, there is the tendency of new ecommerce tools emerging that will allow online merchants to attract their target audience and take their share of the market.
These tools will determine not only the development of the ecommerce industry, but the surrounding areas as well, including marketing, advertising, and software development.
Internet Grocery Stores becomes Commonplace in the US
As of the end of 2016,
- over 30% of the Internet users shopped online.
- 25% of those shoppers bought groceries online and over 55% are willing to try it.
- 10% of those who bought food products online plan to switch to online grocery shopping instead of the regular stores.
Major retailers have made significant progress in expanding their online tools and yet there is a lot to do in this area. For example, the analysts say that attractive and efficient options like same-day delivery, subscription purchases, and scheduled delivery are going to be very profitable for retailers.
Virtual / Augmented Reality and Retail
E-commerce can also profit from integrating virtual and augmented reality into the shopping experience. There are numerous companies that already are starting to implement these tools in furniture and make-up segments of the market.
For example, an app called WayfairView, designed for the Wayfair furniture manufacturer uses augmented reality as one of their key features. Using the app and your camera, you can “see” how a piece of furniture would look like in your apartment or house.
IKEA, the well-known furniture manufacturer, launched a pilot virtual reality app for potential customers, who can use it to see the kitchen furniture and other design items and how they would look in their own kitchens.
Sephora, the cosmetics company, introduced a mobile and web application with augmented reality that helps to overlay virtual make-up onto the user’s face. The application works in conjunction with 3D Augmented Reality Mirror.
The mirror allows the store visitors to evaluate how the new makeup items will make their face look like. In short, if someone looks in the mirror, it will look as if the person has applied makeup when in reality, her face might be completely makeup-free.
Sephora believes that 3D Augmented Reality Mirror will increase shoppers’ loyalty.
Virtual reality found a place even in the tourism industry. North Face has offered their clients to use virtual reality headset to “visit” various world’s sights virtually to entice customers to go on a real journey. According to the company, getting a taste of the sights this way would help people to make the decision to go see it in person.
Buyers appreciate the use of virtual and augmented reality. A study conducted by Walker Sands agency reported that
More than a third of consumers say virtual reality would make them more open to purchasing products online since they could get a feel for the product remotely.
In the gaming industry, infamous PokemonGo mobile game demonstrated the willingness of mobile users to accept and actively interact with AR tools.
One of the reasons such tools are becoming essential for e-commerce is because consumers are becoming less dependent on the actual offline stores.
One of the major barriers that keep many of the people from shopping online for everything is the inability to see the goods in person. 60% of American consumers prefer to shop in a physical store because they can see and touch the things they want to buy. However, virtual reality might change that very soon, increasing the interest of customers as well as sales.
Very Smart Salesman: Artificial Intelligence in Retail
Besides the virtual and augmented realities boosting the sales in ecommerce, there is another technology that is developing rapidly - artificial intelligence.
AI technology is used primarily for the “smart” sales forecasting and more accurate targeting for the company’s marketing activities. It does require a lot of data for the actual data analysis and forecasting needs, which means actively monitoring various user actions and behavior. However, there is an abundance of data that users freely provide and the so-called era of post-privacy has made the protection of personal data almost an anachronism.
Therefore, use the information available at your fingertips to analyze your target audience to create personalized offers for your consumers.
Bot - Man’s New Best Shopping Friend
The emergence of bots and their use in business has been one of the main trends in 2016. Chatbot platforms, apps for them, and a well-defined tasks that a bot can solve - all this will cause the growth of their popularity in the future, especially this is a more specific application of the artificial intelligence trend we’ve mentioned above.
Chatbot can act as a consultant, will help solve different kinds of frequently asked customer questions, or ask general preliminary information for a human assistant to help in the future. It can also be used as the first point of contact with the brand.
Using a chatbot for your e-commerce (or any other, actually) business can increase the number of platforms where you can maintain communication with your users.
The chatbots have become commonplace and trend analysis shows that customers who use chat on e-commerce websites spend from 5% to 30% more on average than those who don’t. The chances of the user making a purchase increase 5x - 10x after a chat.
Chatbots also help minimize the operational expenses since you don’t need as many call center operators.
Mobile Technologies in E-commerce
Smartphones continue to permeate our daily lives and they are more and more actively used for different tasks, which includes online shopping.
Traditional ecommerce nowadays is transforming into mobile commerce - a segment that describes a process of sale and/or purchase of goods and services online through mobile devices.
Mobile commerce segment takes up almost a half of the total e-commerce market and this trend will become even more evident in the future. Companies working in the field of e-commerce simply don’t have the luxury to ignore mobile customers and their devices anymore.
In the past two years, the consumers generally checked out the information about goods and services using their mobile devices but ordered them from their desktop. This tendency is changing toward fully-mobile transactions. Even in the last year alone, US consumers made 17% more orders on mobile devices than in a year before that.
Ecommerce is booming and with so many new innovative technologies sprouting like flowers in spring, it’s definitely going to be an interesting adventure for everyone involved.
By the way, we’ve got e-commerce developers here at Grossum.
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