Thomas K., Clickworker
Chatbots, same day delivery or personalized purchases – 2017 promises to be an interesting year. This post provides information about which e-commerce trends will expand and be established and what is behind them.
Assistants including Cortana, Siri or Amazon’s Alexo prove that people are quite willing to accept assistance from intelligent machines when they have questions or need help making decisions. This is why chatbots are one of the most significant e-commerce trends. These small programs can bring lasting improvement to the customer’s shopping experience and they are just beginning to take off. For instance, when Facebook presented its bot-engine for the Messenger in 2016, over 30,000 bots were registered just six months later. Users can add them to Facebook-Messenger in the same way as a human contact. The chatbot assists them in the selection of the right eveningwear, the search for the best Italian restaurant or whatever else chatbot operators offer.
Why mobile? It has been around for ages! It is not a trend! However, mid-sized companies are poorly positioned when it comes to mobile. Results from the Seybold survey conducted in 2016 revealed that only 28 percent of the small and medium-sized businesses had Internet pages prepared for mobile access. This is frightening because 76 percent of the visitors immediately leave websites that are not optimized for mobile access. Netbiscuits found this out in 2014. Two years earlier, a Google survey revealed that 67 percent of the visitors to an Internet page preferred making a purchase there if it was optimized for tablets or smartphones. Mobile therefore remains one of the important trends in 2017 for anyone who wants to earn money on and with the World Wide Web.
Delivery of items on the same day is also becoming increasingly important. Many customers are not willing to wait two or more days for their goods to arrive. Twenty-nine percent of the customers are perfectly willing to pay the extra charge involved as shown by Forrester 2015. This means that e-commerce must find ways of realizing same day delivery options.
Purchase decisions increasingly depend on social network recommendations, reviews or valuations. This is a known fact and no marketing strategy can ignore Facebook and co. But, as with the “Mobile” trend, there is plenty of room for improvement. In social networks it is wrong to behave like a vendor or a clever expert; it is important to come across as a friend who really wants to help find the right product instead. This leads to lasting and stable customer relationships.
The Business for Business trade is a well-known trend that will intensify in 2017. Employees of mid-sized businesses in particular want to order – as they know from Amazon and co. – upstream products, office materials etc. for their company. However, a digitalized catalogue is not adequate anymore. Business customers expect to be addressed and provided with the service they are accustomed to in B2C. Furthermore, an increasing number of manufacturers are becoming vendors because their concerns regarding their own online shop systems have diminished.
The online shopping experience will continue to be personalized. The data obtained from the customers play a part in basically knowing their needs and wishes beforehand. Concrete recommendations can be made and the customer feels taken care of.
Simply making a few product recommendations on the start page of the online shop is not enough in 2017. The customer must be addressed on every channel. This includes a high-grade newsletter as well as interesting tweets, informative blogs or anecdotes and events on Facebook. Service, product presentation and recommendation must all go hand in hand. This also includes contact via Messenger.
Mobile payment is sluggish in Germany. However, apps with loyalty programs, coupons and similar are very popular. And if the app also enables mobile payment, all the better. In any case, the app improves customer loyalty. In addition, data regarding the customers and their needs can be used to provide a more personalized shopping experience.
While e-commerce was considered the death of retail stores a few years ago, the outlook has changed now. Thanks to customer proximity, retailers now benefit from Internet trade. For instance, online orders can be picked up in the local branch. This often leads to further purchases in the store. This is proved by a survey conducted for Ernsting’s Family. Eighty percent of all online orders were picked up in the store. These customers generated approximately 30 percent more turnover than those who had their items delivered at home.
Retailers must not lose sight of the mobile sector either. Because today, when searching for a shoe store in their vicinity, many customers rely on the recommendation provided by their smartphone.
While you can hold goods in your hand in the store and examine them from all angles, you cannot do this on the Internet. This is where virtual reality comes in. Digitalized goods can be virtually examined and you can sometimes even try them on. For instance with the camera simulator form Canon Labs you can test different lenses on the Canon EOS 5D MkIII, Canon EOS 1DX and the Canon EOS 70 D in virtual reality. This simplifies purchase decisions. Virtual Reality is therefore more than just an entertainment sector trend.
Have we overlooked any e-commerce trends for 2017? You have a different opinion regarding the topic?
Then please leave a comment. Your suggestions are always welcome.
Thomas K., Clickworker