6 Ways Tech is Changing the Game for Ecommerce Merchants

June 7, 2017

7:15 am

In 2017, the relationship between marketing technology and ecommerce is arguably stronger than ever.

Representing a market share worth well over $22 trillion, the opportunities for eCommerce merchants to stake their claim are seemingly endless. As a result, new martech solutions are constantly emerging to move the needle toward over $4 trillion in ecommerce sales by 2020.

As competition within the ecommerce space continues to ramp up, let’s examine the following six tech trends as game-changers in the months and years to come.

ecommerce

Crunching Customer Data by the Numbers

If there’s a sect of marketing that benefits the most from on-site behavioral segmentation, it’s ecommerce.

Understanding even the most minute actions which potential and returning customers take in real-time is paramount to fine-tuning any ecommerce site. For example, consider the many moving moving pieces of the buyer’s journey that need to be optimized. Between imagery and calls-to-action alone, merchants need as much data as they can possibly gather to convert their storefront traffic.

Furthermore, segmenting customers based on where they come from allows ecommerce merchants to personalize the buyer’s journey. Digital intelligence platforms are available on the market to help track every step of a visitor’s experience on-site from the landing page to the shopping cart. Rather than attempt to optimize UX based on assumptions and gut reactions, merchants should strive to look at actual visitor behavior and data.

“In our digital world where everything occurs and changes instantly, it’s really hard for us to wait, for anything, really. With eCommerce, we don’t join queues anymore (well, maybe just to get the new iPhone first). We skip sections in the videos we watch to get to the meme at the end. We even get impatient when it takes a few seconds to load a webpage. It seems justified for us to expect our analytics to be just as fast, providing results instantly,” writes Hagit Ben Shoshan.

The Rise of More Relevant Recommendations

Speaking of personalization, today’s consumers expect a personalized shopping journey versus a cold, one-size-fits-all experience. Rather than show off a laundry list of potential products, personalized recommendations have become a cornerstone of modern ecommerce.

In a recent poll 59 percent of online shoppers note that personalization makes shopping easier. These same consumers also note that they’re more likely to return to a store that provides relevant recommendations. Ecommerce giants such as Amazon thrive on their ability to churn out new recommendations based on their shoppers’ buying behavior and purchase history.

Personalized recommendations can also aid ecommerce email marketers across all industries to beef up their offer and cart abandonment messages. In one poll 31 percent of ecommerce site revenues came as the result of personalized product recommendations in 2014: undoubtedly, email represents a reasonable chunk of that revenue.

ecommerce

The Phenomenon of Chatbots and 24/7 Availability

Although some may see chatbots as little more than a trend, bear in mind that over half of all shoppers believe that businesses should be available around the clock. As a result, chatbots have emerged as a customer retention opportunity for merchants meeting the needs of shoppers 24/7 and effectively keep their storefronts “staffed” at all times.

Brands such as Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger have recently launched chatbots as in the new wave of fashion ecommerce. These bots not only represent a tool for customer service, but also an opportunity for merchants to collect data on their customers. For example, chatbots for brands such as Sephora and H&M essentially “learn” about customers through interactive quizzes.

Despite popular belief, chatbots have the potential to represent a more personalized shopping experience rather than an impersonal one. As these bots are integrated with messaging platforms such as Facebook and KiK, they’re already available in the literal pockets of billions and will continue to evolve over time.

Social Shopping

The concept that social media doesn’t result in sales is dead and buried. In fact, ecommerce sales as a result of social media topped $30 billion in 2015 and only continues its trend upward.

Beyond traditional advertising, more and more merchants are taking advantage of new platforms to increase their social sales. Through shoppable Instagram pages, for example, marketers can essentially use their own customers as ads. The ability for shoppers to make purchases directly via social doesn’t interrupt them from a UX perspective.

UGC is more than a novelty. Given that 93 percent of consumers note that UGC helps them make purchasing decisions and results in higher conversion rates, merchants need to hop on board the bandwagon to turn their social feeds into storefronts.

ecommerce, merchants, mobile

Even More Emphasis on Mobile

Mobile users have overtaken desktop users, signaling a need for merchants to optimize their storefronts for mobile sooner rather than later.

Minimalism is the name of the game for merchants today. Through innovations such as one-click purchasing, anything ecommerce stores can do to simplify the buyer’s journey is a plus. A combination of the previously noted trends such as social shopping, personalization and chatbots will inevitably contribute to the projected 2 billion individual mobile transactions in 2017.

As more ecommerce tech integrates automatically with existing apps (think: chatbots through Facebook), shoppers will be even more married to their mobile devices when it comes time to spend.

Augmented Reality

Representing a “wait and see” trend for technology at large, augmented reality potentially blows the market open for ecommerce. Given Facebook and Apple’s recent investment in AR and the fact that AR apps already exist for Snapchat and Instagram, it appears the technology is here to stay.

Apple Dives Into Augmented Reality 

Considering that some AR fashion apps already exist, eCommerce brands are just now scratching the surface of what this emerging tech has to offer.

The explosion of modern ecommerce has lead to wealth of new technologies and tools to help merchants keep up with the demands of today’s consumers. In short, all signs seem to be pointing toward a data-driven marketing strategy that emphasizes a smooth, interruption-free buyer’s journey.

Read more tips about boosting your ecommerce business at Tech.Co

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A New York native, currently dwelling in Berlin. Always been a Luddite, but now embracing the tech world and trying to make a name for myself as a tech journalist.

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