5 Game-changing eCommerce Trends Dominating 2017
It is clear that 2017 will be one of the most innovative years for eCommerce, and by implementing the latest technology, you’ll be able to keep up with the times.
51% of Americans prefer to make online purchases over brick-and-mortar shopping. Forrester Research predicts that online sales will continue to surpass traditional sales for the next several years, at least.
This trend towards online purchasing doesn’t only apply to younger generations — 41% of Baby Boomers and 28% of Seniors are clicking to purchase, in addition to the 69% of Millennials and 56% of Gen X’ers.
The result is that eCommerce is growing by roughly 23% year-over-year. But with the ballooning consumer market, the competition is also growing. In order to stay ahead of the curve in 2017, there are five main trends that eCommerce enterprises should consider and implement:
1. Customer Experience Analytics
Your online store and your ability to sell products are only as good as your customer experience. 69.23% of online shopping carts are abandoned. Experience analytics help you figure out why this is happening—putting meaning behind and quantifying your customer experience—so that you can prioritize optimization tasks for a more effective conversion funnel.
Customer experience is the most important parameter to measure—even more so than conversions. If a customer checked out and had a negative shopping experience they will not return again in the future, whereas a positive experience can turn customers to brand advocates. While conversion rates are important, only by analyzing the customer experience can you measure and improve the performance of your website on a bigger scale.
With customer experience analytics, you’ll be able to quickly identify, measure, and understand why your website visitors act the way they do—not only on just on an individual level but as a whole. It provides you with data beyond the usual customer information and provides answers to key questions, such as:
Are visitors hovering over a CTA but not clicking on it?
Are visitors scrolling up and down on a specific page because they are unable to find what they are looking for?
Are VIP customers providing negative comments in the VoC?
Are visitors getting distracted before they click on “Add to Cart”?
Are visitors accidentally clicking where they did not intend to?
Gathering customer experience data to answer these questions (and more) is key to implementing critical changes and updates to your store and building customer loyalty, which both translate into real business value for the long run.
2. Predictive Analytics
While customer experience analytics allow you to react to your visitors’ behavior, predictive analytics provides a way to anticipate it. This data can then be used to set promotion pricing, determine which products to offer, increase customer engagement, and optimize your supply chain.
For example, in a case study posted by Predictive Analytics World, an education portal was able to achieve a “25% increase in response rate beyond that generated by the existing system, which translates into an estimated $1 million of ad revenue every 19 months.” They did this using predictive analytics to generate 291 models per advertisement and observing which version received the greatest click rate.
Predictive analytics can be used in a variety of ways:
Search: A customer’s interaction with your website most often begins with a search. If you can make your search intelligent by predicting what the customer will look for, and thus offering them the right product, you can increase your chance of conversion. In fact, 45% of customers are more likely to shop from a site that offers personalized recommendations, according to Invesp.
Promotions: Predictive analytics makes it easier to understand consumer behavior—using search history and product performance—to identify the best promotions based on browsing patterns.
Pricing: Your price should correlate with your sales, and with predictive analytics you can use historical data to adjust pricing in real time, based on algorithms that look at such information as competitor pricing and pricing trends.
Customer Service: Engaging with your customers is easier with predictive analytics because you can use models to answer customer questions and problems they might not even know they have yet.
Supply Chain Management: Predictive analytics can take your inventory management to the next level by helping you determine when and how products will sell, so that you can optimize your planning and forecasting, sourcing, fulfillment, delivery, and returns. Based on a report by Salesforce, after 36 months, predictive intelligence 34.71% of brands total orders.
This information can empower your business to reach out to customers proactively in order to more effectively upsell items and improve conversions. Used correctly, predictive analytics can even help you forecast your inventory, manage resources, and function more effectively, overall. By data mining your consumers’ past behavior and looking at all the different variables, you can generate the desired engagement from your customers.
Chatbots aren’t necessarily new, but their use in eCommerce has never been more critical (and their capabilities, greater). In 2017, it is estimated that 8.3 trillion messages will be sent via messaging platforms, so it’s no wonder that eCommerce giants such as Macy’s and Uber use chatbots to answer customer questions, increase engagement, and enhance the user experience.
Source: ecommerce chatbots
The best chatbots use both rules and artificial intelligence to create a natural language processing system, making them more intelligent with each conversation they have. These bots can answer questions, suggest related topics, and even demonstrate emotion. They’re an affordable and less time-consuming way of handling customer service inquiries without having to hire more representatives.
4. Real-Time Personalization
Your customers don’t want to receive emails or advertisements for products that don’t matter to them or from individuals who might as well be robots. Consumers crave personal connection with brands and expect companies to know what their preferences and motivations are.
Consumers these days are a fickle bunch, and one less than ideal experience can send them heading to your competition. In this age of minimal brand loyalty, the best way to cater to your customers’ desires is by personalizing their experiences in real time.
You can personalize experiences in a variety of ways beyond the usual “FNAME” in your email campaigns. For example, let’s say you sell pet supplies. One of your customers is browsing via their mobile device and has 5 items related to cats in her shopping cart. You can create a personalized experience by sending a limited-time discount via text message for one or more of the items in the cart.
You can also segment your users into cohorts based on their preferred price points, enabling you to offer personalized pricing and discounts. If shoppers from cohort A tend to complete purchases at a higher price point, while cohort B consumers usually make purchases at a lower one, you can automatically adjust the price per each user segment. This will help you increase conversions and profits.
5. Delivery Innovation
The expansion of the online sales world means shipping is now as important as everything else. In fact, 44% of customers will abandon their shopping cart if shipping costs are too high, unexpected, or if delivery takes too long. That’s where drones and droids will become invaluable. While this is still not yet a reality in 2017, it’s arriving quickly and already being tested.
Drones offer quick airspace delivery for immediate results. For example, Amazon recently opened a new research facility for drone operations to help the company figure out the logistics, so that they can offer cheaper and faster shipping than their competitors.
Alternatively, droids offer ground-based delivery. This technology not only improves and fast tracks shipping and handling, it also reduces transportation costs by 30% and reduces vehicle emissions. Droids are already being used by some companies to accelerate food delivery in order to avoid traffic jams and parking troubles.
Source: Chicago Tribune
It is clear that 2017 will be one of the most innovative years for eCommerce, and by implementing the latest technology, you’ll be able to keep up with the times. The key is to seamlessly enhance your customer’s shopping experience in order to boost your conversion rates and build a loyal customer base that will continue to purchase from you time and again.