6 Tech Trends That Will Transform E-Commerce Retailers

Each new year brings new tech trends with the potential to vastly change business, and 2020 is expected to be a big year in new e-commerce technology. It will likely set the stage for online business throughout the coming decade.

Customers will be looking for brands that are up to date on all the latest trends. The most innovative brands will see the most success. E-commerce retailers should be on the lookout for these trends that will transform the way their business is run.

1. Real-time customer service is a must.

In the past, email and phone calls were the dominant customer service platforms. According to findings from Gladly’s 2019 Customer Expectations Report, customers expect to receive a response from an email in 3-4 hours. Unfortunately, this expectation is rarely met. The inefficiencies in traditional customer service platforms are leading companies to move toward customer service platforms that utilize faster and more efficient technology.

Chatbots and live messaging are becoming increasingly popular. They allow businesses to quickly meet customer needs, which ultimately leads to more sales and brand loyalty. The instantaneous response times retain busy customers who would have otherwise moved on to another brand, rather than wait for an answer to their question.

A few major brands have already implemented chatbots and live messaging as part of their customer service strategy. They have seen major success. Brands such as Spotify, Sephora, and TechCrunch have been able to interact with customers more effectively since applying this strategy.

A major mistake some brands make when implementing chatbots is to use them to completely replace customer service employees. A chatbot cannot handle everything. When customers experience major issues, they want to be able to solve them quickly.

If chatbots can’t solve customers’ problems, they’ll want to quickly reach someone else who can. Excellent customer service must be the priority here. Ensure that customers can get their problems quickly resolved or you could lose a sale.

A Microsoft study on the state of customer service found that 58% of customers rank customer service as very important in determining loyalty to a brand, and 61% of customers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience.

These stats show that customer service is an area that e-commerce businesses must rank as a top priority. It’s imperative to keep up with the upcoming trends, especially the shift to real-time support.

2. Headless e-commerce will be everywhere.

Headless e-commerce separates the user experience on the front of a website from the backend processes. While the average customer may not be aware of whether your website functions using a traditional or headless method, this new trend saves time and resources for e-commerce businesses.

There are numerous benefits of headless e-commerce.  The first is that it allows you to deliver content on a greater variety of platforms. Websites that do not use a headless system must redesign content for each new platform, which is costly and tedious.

Additionally, headless e-commerce enables you to more efficiently update your system. Rather than redesigning your system to function for desktop, mobile, and voice command, a headless platform allows you to make adjustments just once and apply them to all platforms.

It’s imperative to be able to easily implement updates because of the rapidly changing nature of consumer technology. If you do not stay up-to-date, competitors can potentially win over your customers.

3. Remember to prioritize mobile optimization.

Last year, mobile e-commerce sales totaled $1.8 trillion worldwide, and that number is expected to grow over the next few years. As we near 2020, leaders in the e-commerce industry are aware of the rising use of mobile phones among shoppers, and they are prioritizing the optimization of websites for mobile phone use.

When optimizing for mobile users, it’s important to minimize clicks, as loading times after clicking can be slower on a mobile device than on a desktop. This is especially important during the checkout process. Many mobile shoppers abandon carts due to the checkout process being too complicated on a small screen. Optimize your checkout page for mobile use to retain those customers.

In addition to minimizing clicks, make the mobile experience more pleasant by avoiding long paragraphs since mobile users are using a smaller screen and will likely not enjoy scrolling through long blocks of text. These simple steps can go a long way toward increasing mobile sales.

It’s a good idea when mobilizing for mobile sales to also include multiple options for payment. It is especially difficult to type in credit card information on a mobile device. Sometimes customers abandon their carts when they reach this step.

Allow for options for checking out with services like PayPal and Google Pay. When users already have an account with these services, a purchase can be as simple as a quick click. Every time you decrease the amount of time it takes to make a purchase, your sales will increase.

4. Voice commerce is on the rise.

Up to this point, voice assistants have made checking the weather, turning on music and searching for fun facts on Google, but looking forward to the future, voice assistants will become a major part of the shopping experience. Voice search reduces the amount of effort it takes to make a purchase. If you can optimize your brand for voice command, your sales will quickly jump.

Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant have already begun to help customers purchase products on the go. By 2021, the number of people making purchases using a smart speaker is expected to be 38 million. E-commerce retailers must be sure their websites are optimized for voice command shoppers or else risk being left behind other competitors.

Because of the nature of voice assistants, users typically only hear the top search result. This means it is imperative to optimize your content around keyword search terms to reach voice commerce customers.

While experts have spent tons of time in recent years learning search engine optimization, voice search optimization is newer. People use different keywords when searching with voice command than when they are typing a question into a search engine.

Because voice optimization is newer, there are fewer experts on the topic, but this could allow you to pull ahead of the competition. Experiment, research, and run A/B tests to determine how to get the most reach through voice search, and you will be far ahead of other e-commerce brands.

A recent Epsilon study found that 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer a personalized experience. Shoppers are ever increasingly looking for a relationship, not just a brand, from the businesses they frequent.

Top e-commerce retailers are aware of the rising interest in personalization, and 2020 will be full of customized user experiences. Companies are moving to using data to cater content to individuals’ unique interests, which is not only creating a more enjoyable experience for customers but also leading to a greater ROI on marketing campaigns and content creation.

In an ever-increasingly competitive world of e-commerce, businesses must increase their efforts to earn brand loyalty from customers. Personalization is the answer to this issue, but it can be difficult to know exactly what your customers are looking for. That’s why it’s important to use tools to understand your customers.

There are several options for getting to know your customers better. Survey tools, analytics software, and social media engagement are great places to start gathering information. It’s important to get as complete a picture as possible. Make an effort to see your customers as whole people and not just as individual pieces of data. This will lead to being able to reach them on a much more personal level.

6. Augmented reality is the next frontier.

Augmented reality is the next big thing in e-commerce with the most potential to completely transform the industry.  Up until now, the major advantage brick-and-mortar business has maintained over e-commerce is the physical experience offered to customers. Augmented reality allows e-commerce businesses to combat this advantage by offering customers the chance to view a product inside their home before making the purchase.

Augmented reality is already growing in popularity among furniture retailers. These retailers have seen major success by allowing customers to test out the look of a new couch or coffee table simply by looking through the camera on their mobile phones.

As this trend progresses, expect to see not only the furniture industry maximizing its use, but the automotive, music, education, and travel industries among many others as well. Nearly every industry will see huge benefits as the implement AR technology into their e-commerce platforms.

Customers are especially drawn to this new piece of technology because it is exciting. Consumers enjoy seeing innovative products. Many customers are tired of traditional marketing strategies. Instead of trying to bring customers to you through old techniques, using augmented reality incentivizes customers to find you.

Customers are looking for an interesting experience while they shop. Augmented reality allows you to give them what they are looking for. E-commerce needs to begin using this as soon as possible.

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