Online shopping is growing faster and faster. This also means change. New technologies, innovations and competition change customer expectations every day. The customer experience in brick-and-mortar retail is increasingly becoming a model for e-commerce businesses. Online shops often try to incorporate this special shopping experience into their businesses. But how does your shop become a "temple of experience" for the customer? An overwhelming number of innovations and trends promise excellent results. We have compiled the five biggest e-commerce trends for you, so you know which ones to rely on in 2019.
Trend Nr. 1: Chatbots - Customer Service with Personality
You have not yet integrated a Chatbot into your online shop? That’s something you should change. Chatbot providers such as Onlim or IOX offer a variety of possibilities to both you and your customers. Customer inquiries that cannot be answered immediately and thus delay or even prevent the purchase are a thing of the past. Intelligent Chatbots work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They react immediately to customer inquiries and advise and confirm the purchase decision actively. Chatbots are machines, but not just any machines. They learn from their counterparts in fractions of a second. They understand the live conversations, react and give intelligent answers. They communicate charmingly to the customer and relieve customer service and sales in a personalized way. In this way, they provide the customer with an excellent buying experience.
Chatbots can do even more: They help to find the right product and give suggestions for additional purchases. They check product availability, compare different products and guide customers through the checkout process. Thus making Chatbots become personal shopping advisors. All this makes online shopping an interactive experience which drives up customer engagement.
Chatbots are intelligent. By linking them to your shop system and communicating with your customers, they are constantly learning new things. They adapt their behavior to customer expectations and automatically collect information about customer behavior and preferences for you. Artificial intelligence makes Chatbots a powerful tool to delight online shoppers while turning them into loyal customers.
Trend 2: Pictures - the New Smart Assistant During Online Shopping
You probably already know this: You are looking for something online, but you can't think of the name of your desired product. This already puts you in a difficult starting position. Product searches by pictures is the answer here. eBay has already introduced this feature to their users. Customers can upload photos to their website. Automatic image recognition then suggests offers with similar product images. If a suitable product is listed, it can be ordered directly. Alternatively, customers can also enter the URL of an image that they have discovered at social media platforms such as Pinterest into their search engine. Immediately they receive relevant product recommendations.
H&M also provides product suggestions using image recognition. Customers can photograph clothing with the H&M mobile app and receive relevant product suggestions. Once the customers have found the desired product, the mobile app makes further suggestions to complete the desired outfit.
Amazon’s Echo Look brings image recognition to the mainstream market. A special camera in combination with a voice assistant called Alexa becomes a personal fashion assistant. Using algorithms and the know-how of a styling team, Echo Look analyses the customer's look and provides fashion tips, outfit advice, and of course product suggestions.
Both technologies are designed to make customers happier and shopping easier. At the same time, each image uploaded by the user provides valuable data for the shop owner. The AI-based tools collect data and user preferences. This enables you to give better personalized and automated product suggestions. At the same time, the recommendations encourage customers to make additional purchases and come back again.
Trend 3: Multi-Channel Shopping - Impulse Purchases in New Channels
The path of a buyer seems linear: interest, search, purchase. But in reality, countless impulses distract customers from their product search. Sometimes they see a tempting offer in social media or at one of the marketplaces, while they are actually looking for something completely different. A retailer who is only present in one or a few channels runs the risk of not being visible at the decisive buying impulse of the customer.
The more channels you use, the higher the chance that (potential) customers will find their way to you. It’s all about being online at the right place at the right time to find the optimal channels for your own shop. At the same time, the search and buying behavior of your own and potential customers in different channels must be constantly analyzed. Intelligent tools such as akanoo can assist you. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the tool permanently analyses visitor behaviors and automatically displays purchase incentives in different channels. The tool helps to understand which channel you should strengthen when and how and where and when you should hold back. You want to be present, but you don't want to overwhelm your customers with too much information.
You should also look for new sales channels in which your customers are active. You are present in social media channels and place ads there? But you are not satisfied with the conversion rate? Why shouldn't you let your customers buy directly through these channels? 87 percent of online shoppers say that social media helps them to make the right buying decision. The step to buying directly on social media is logical and reasonable. The e-commerce gap between social media and the shop is filled by social media facilitating transactions and thus the purchase. With Shop & Cop SnapChat already offers the possibility of buying without leaving the app. On Instagram, users can use Shopping in Stories to buy articles that are shown in posts directly. Only the checkout including payment and delivery data entry is still done by the shop, but Instagram is already working on a solution for this as well. Other social media platforms will certainly follow soon and further increase the potential for impulse buying. At best, you should play along in this field right from the start.
Trend 4: Better visibility through dynamic repricing
When customers buy online, they use search engines for product searches, recommendations, and prices. With the abundance of offers that the web offers today, the trend moves from long result lists towards concrete results. It is central for e-commerce dealers to appear at the top of the search results. Google’s algorithm takes various criteria into account. One of the most important aspects is the price. The lowest price usually appears at the top of the search results list.
To be visible at the top three, you must always compare your prices with the competition and adjust them if necessary. How do you do that with a wide variety of products? Dynamic repricing is the keyword. Special automated computer software searches for same or similar products and adjusts your prices within seconds and automatically to the competition and the current demand. In addition, your previous sales figures, your stock levels and even external conditions such as holidays and the weather are taken into account. Tools like Blue Yonder or Prudsys learn continuously with the help of artificial intelligence. They evaluate huge amounts of data and derive forecasts for the future. In this way, you smartly place your products at the top of the results list. Tedious manual price changes are a thing of the past by using these types of tools.
Trend 5: Top Customer Experience through Delivery Options and Transparent Communication
As much as customers want to receive concrete search results, they also want to make the purchase decision themselves. This applies not only to the choice of products but also to the choice of delivery options. Give the customer the opportunity to choose the most convenient way of delivery such as express delivery, a pick-up solution, classic home delivery or the choice between different shipping service providers. It is not only modern delivery options such as trunk delivery or in-home delivery that are making the mode of shipment more and more important. Customers expect ever faster and more convenient delivery solutions in the future.
Don't leave your customers uncertain about the whereabouts of their parcels after the purchase. In the store, customers can enjoy purchased products directly. After an online purchase, the anticipation of the expected package is correspondingly great. Over 80% of online shoppers use shipment tracking to find out the delivery status of their parcel (source: SEVEN SENDERS). Keep your customers proactively informed about the status of their order by email and reduce inquiries in your customer service. By redirecting to the shipper's tracking webpage, you're losing control over customer experiences. This is something you can and should avoid. Keep customer communication with you and provide direct product recommendations for next purchases. Solutions like SENDWISE support you in turning satisfied customers into returning customers.
Artificial intelligence revolutionizes the e-commerce world. The self-learning machines and algorithms create individual and interactive shopping experiences and deliver valuable data about customer behavior. New technologies will continue to create undreamt-of opportunities in the future. To be at the forefront and take your business to the next level, you need to keep your finger on the pulse. Don't miss any trends and developments anymore and get news about e-commerce and logistics delivered directly.