Tech Trends That Will Shake Up E-Commerce
E-commerce has had a period of massive growth thanks to the pandemic and it’s expected that online sales will only continue increasing in the nearest future. That being said, not every e-commerce business sees the same success as its competitors.
That’s why it’s particularly important for e-commerce business owners and online sellers to keep an eye out for the newest developments in the industry that could help them boost their sales. Hence, here are the top tech trends that will shake up e-commerce.
#1 Social Commerce
Social commerce has been growing in the past few years thanks to more and more social media platforms introducing their own e-commerce features and tools. One of the biggest reasons why social commerce has been so successful so far is that there are already many social media users. Moreover, platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are visual-centric which means showcasing products on them looks natural.
Social commerce allows businesses to deliver a better customer experience to their audiences. After seeing a product they like, a potential customer doesn’t have to leave the platform to make an order. This makes purchasing the said product much easier and allows customers to save a lot of time. The time-saving aspect is particularly important in our fast-paced world where consumers have less time and brands are constantly competing for consumer attention.
At the same time, social media itself is being utilized more for brand promotion and audience engagement. Techniques like influencer marketing are widely used by businesses both big and small. Moreover, you can check out some community marketing ideas to build a solid customer base too.
#2 AR and VR
Another trend that has been around for some time and is only gaining more traction is the integration of AR and VR technologies into e-commerce. Augmented reality and virtual reality features allow businesses to deliver more immersive customer experiences and, in turn, drive sales. In a way, AR and VR help companies make up for the aspects of offline shopping that online shopping does not possess.
For instance, customers can now view products as if in real life through their phone camera thanks to AR. This way, it’s much easier for customers to understand how big a product is, what it looks like from different sides, and what to expect from it. It’s not the same as exploring the product in real life, but it’s close enough to make it easier for the customer to make their final decision and purchase the product.
In addition to that, businesses can also use AR and VR for showcasing their services. For example, virtual walking tours can help customers better understand what a hotel or a resort looks like. Photos and videos are great for this, but there’s nothing like a 360-degree view that a virtual tour can provide.
#3 Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is directly related to AR and VR, but there’s even more to it. AI and machine learning are already being used in so many aspects of our society, so it’s no wonder that e-commerce also heavily relies on them. In the nearest future, there will likely be a trend of more ethical AI as its usage will continue growing.
Michael Gardner, an expert from the custom writing reviews site Writing Judge, says, “E-commerce businesses will have to find new ways to approach AI in the context of data security and privacy. It’s great to provide personalized customer experiences and analyze data more accurately, but there needs to be an ethical approach to data handling. That’s what everyone will focus on.”
#4 Voice Search
Voice search has been around for a while now. Its longevity is likely due to the widespread use of virtual assistants and smart devices. With more and more consumers using voice search, more and more businesses have started optimizing their content for voice search to reach these customers. And that’s why e-commerce companies are adopting voice search optimization as well.
Most of the time, voice search optimization is strictly about SEO (e.g. using queries in the form of questions rather than simpler keywords). However, voice search optimization can also be closely connected to the way you educate and inform your audience about your products.
In many cases, customers first want to research a product they are interested in before purchasing it. This is when you can utilize voice search optimization to direct your customers to relevant content about your products. The goal is not to convince them to make a purchase right away but rather to guide them in their research. Even if they don’t make the purchase, it will still drive traffic to your website and improve its search rankings.
Gamification is by far one of the most effective techniques to use to increase engagement as it allows you to interact with your audience more. While gamification has been mostly used for other purposes and in other areas, it is now being more widely adopted in e-commerce as well.
At its core, gamification is able to make online shopping experiences more fun. Just like AR and VR, it helps brands make up for a crucial aspect of offline shopping absent in online shopping – and that is interaction. Contests and loyalty programs are two popular techniques used by e-commerce companies to integrate gamification into their strategies and interact with their audiences. Of course, using the right tech impacts how well these are executed.
It goes without saying that chatbots have made a huge impact on the way customer support is delivered to customers. Undeniably, companies will continue using them thanks to all their advantages, but also because chatbots are expected to become more efficient and effective with the development of AI and machine learning technologies.
Elle Smyth, an expert from the writing services reviews site Best Writers Online, explains, “For e-commerce companies, providing good online customer support is especially important. That’s why chatbots are so big. Even though there are still many issues with chatbots and they still cause a lot of frustration, they are expected to develop and improve in the nearest future. This will allow e-commerce brands to provide even better support.”
#7 Product Customization
One of the reasons why chatbots are so valued is that they can be used to personalize customer experiences. That is precisely the reason why product customization is also popular nowadays. Customers want to get individualized treatment, but they also want to get the ability to get the products exactly the way they want them to be.
Thanks to the developments in manufacturing technology, e-commerce brands are able to offer more product customization options to their customers. This makes customers somewhat like partners in the production process. In turn, customers can now be more satisfied with their purchases and loyal to brands that offer such customization options.
#8 In-Car Shopping
Last but not least, one of the less expected trends that not every brand is aware of is in-care shopping. Vehicle suppliers are now equipping new car models with Apple Car Play and Android Auto which allow customers to perform all kinds of actions through their car’s system by integrating with the customer’s smartphone.
These new features open a completely new sales channel for e-commerce brands to benefit from. Of course, voice search plays a key role here, but focusing on data is also important as it will give more insight into consumer habits in relation to this new channel. Whether the customer wants to buy a last-minute gift or they want to find out more about a particular product, it will all be possible through in-car shopping.
To sum up, there are definitely many current trends that will continue dominating e-commerce. On the other hand, there will definitely be new developments and innovations that you should be aware of. Use the information in this article to help you get acquainted with the top tech trends important for e-commerce and to start researching them yourself.