The e-commerce industry has become incredibly competitive as some of the biggest companies in the world continue to take hold. Buying and selling online has now become incredibly commonplace, with the 2020 global shutdown only increasing the number of items sold online. Users who shop online prefer convenience and cost savings, and this has been made possible through technological innovation.
Technology is helping make e-commerce better for consumers, and it’s also allowing smaller companies to still compete with the largest e-commerce platforms. Over the past few years, the e-commerce industry has changed a lot, and experts predict it could continue to develop and change as new innovations are introduced. Business, International Relations and the Political Economy is the key to creating value, both for businesses and consumers. Here are some of the most exciting innovations that are currently happening or just around the corner.
A growing number of consumers are purchasing goods through social media platforms. Social media has become incredibly popular in recent years, with more than half of the world’s population now using at least one platform to view and share updates, videos and photos with people all over the globe. While social media may have started out as a way to connect with people and share ideas, it’s now being used to sell products too.
Social platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest have harnessed the power of their users and allow consumers to purchase directly through pages. Not only that, but major e-commerce retailers are beginning to include social features, allowing consumers to share information on their purchases. This makes the buying journey smoother and gives purchasers more details about something before they decide to buy.
E-commerce sites have been using personalisation for some time, showing users items based on their search history and buying trends. Consumers today expect to receive a personalised shopping experience when using e-commerce sites, and it helps them to decide what to buy and where to shop. However, AI technology is helping to make this personalisation even more powerful.
AI is far more efficient at studying huge amounts of data and can easily compare consumers with similar purchase histories to find other items they might enjoy. This helps boost conversion rates and the lifetime value of each consumer while also increasing loyalty. Consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases if they feel their needs are being met.
AR, also known as augmented reality, is a technology that has been around for many years, although it’s been underutilised somewhat. AR modifies the real world with virtual elements, creating immersion and providing a unique experience. The technology has been trialled in the gaming industry as well as in sports and marketing. However, one of the most interesting ways it could be used in the future is in e-commerce.
When used in the right way, AR can help consumers make purchases, giving them an idea of how the product will look. This can be used by fashion retailers, letting users try on a virtual product before they buy. It’s also been used by major furniture retailer Ikea to demonstrate to potential buyers how a piece of furniture will look in their homes.
Prioritising Customer Experience
For some customers, e-commerce still ranks below retail shopping. One of the main issues that people have is that the experience just isn’t the same. The lack of sales assistants who can provide support and guidance is a major factor in putting consumers off from buying online. In addition, the process can be complicated for those that aren’t used to it.
E-commerce platforms and companies are starting to innovate to provide a solution to this problem. Platforms are becoming simpler and easier to use. In addition, each product has detailed information available, and questions can be asked of chatbots to provide instant answers.