“The only way to predict the future is to create it.”Abraham Linkoln
This quote can surely be applied in the ecommerce industry, too. Online retail is, more than ever, evolving in order for businesses to remain competitive.
Our list of innovations that can blaze a trail in ecommerce includes:
- VR and AR to ameliorate product’s presentation
- AI to personalize shopping experience
- Blockchain technology to improve security
- Livestream shopping to engage customers
- Mobile devices due to their convenience
- Headless ecommerce platforms development
1 – Augmented and Virtual Reality in ecommerce
As ecommerce keeps growing, shoppers’ expectations for a more interactive and fun shopping experience. Another area of innovations in e-commerce is the use of virtual (VR) and especially augmented reality (AR) for product visualization and demonstration. These two terms are actually very different.
VR is a completely virtual setting which usually requires some hardware. On the other hand, AR requires less physical equipment, and it blends the real-life environment with virtual elements. Both are fundamentally interactive and, as a result, lead to increased customer engagement. Even if a visitor doesn’t buy anything from your webshop, the time spent on your site will help to build a relationship with your brand and products.
These technologies are allowing customers to see how a product will look in their home or on their body. Trying out clothes, eyeglasses, or make-up products, for example, is of a great importance. Before making a purchase, consumers must be sure of how a product would look on them. It also allows preview of the placement of a certain furniture piece. Would those chairs look good next to your dining table? “Try before you buy” possibility assures you have a clearer picture of what you are purchasing. Besides improving buyer decision-making, virtual and augmented reality also reduce the return rate of the products that were bought online.
2 – Artificial intelligence in ecommerce
One of the trending innovations in ecommerce that has been gaining momentum is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to personalize the shopping experience for customers. This can include recommending products based on a customer’s past purchases or browsing history, as well as dynamically pricing products based on demand and other factors.
Personalized recommendations are being created by using different algorithms like collaborative filtering, content-based filtering etc. The AI is taking the feedback ranging from the information such as: which links user clicks on, which categories are the main interest, which website does the user spend more time on, purchase history, user reviews on the products, etc. After getting all the data, the real-time analytics provide the personal recommendation for that user. This increases the engagement of the user on the platform and thus results in more purchasing. Statistics now show that 89% of businesses are investing in personalization.
This is another domain where AI plays its role. Online commerce platforms are getting millions and millions of searches per minute on their websites. In order to provide user-centric results for the customer, machine learning algorithms are being used. These algorithms analyze customer search patterns and behaviors to “see the world like you do”. Better understanding of preferences and intent empowers businesses to develop a customer-centric experience by search query auto-completion. The AI predictive analytics make it easier and faster for customers to find what they are looking for.
Many ecommerce retailers are already becoming more sophisticated with their AI capabilities, and one approach widely developing is known as conversational commerce. So what is a chatbot? By definition, it is a specific program that is designed to stimulate or maintain a conversation between human users and the robots. By automating order processes and providing all repetitive customer service, businesses lower cost, time and energy. Nowadays, chatbots are maturing and leveraging themselves to that extent that this become a necessity for the e-commerce industry. Online retailers, that have to manage a huge number of users at a single time, can’t find it practical to hire sales or customer representatives. The chatbot is the innovation in ecommerce that doesn’t only lay down the cost, but also provides a much better experience and at a much faster pace.
Managing the orders
Just imagine getting thousands of orders per hour and managing all of these orders manually. Won’t it be a mess? But again – here is the AI to save the day! AI is providing some out-of-the-box solutions to manage the orders and track the progress of them. They can manage the path of dispersing the orders in an optimized manner, with real-time updates for customers. Besides, the AI can decide routs in an optimized way, which reduces both costs to the company and delivery time. And convenient delivery options are providing a company a way to stand out in a competitive and demanding online market.
This is merely the tip of the iceberg of how the AI is playing a vital role in the future of the e-commerce industry.
3 – Blockchain technology in ecommerce
This innovative technology has a potential to improve payment security and supply chain transparency in ecommerce.
It can securely store and process payment information, making it more difficult for hackers to attack and access sensitive data. It can also be used to prevent fraudulent activities by creating a tamer-proof record of transactions. Blockchain payments are decentralized, they allow for transactions to be tracked from beginning to end, and recorded transparently. It also eliminates the need for third-party verification and can make it easier for customers to return and receive refunds.
Another area it can help with is the logistics business. Blockchain can track the entire supply chain process, from the origin of a product to its final destination. This increases the traceability and efficiency of, and reduces shipping costs and potential risks of counterfeiting.
4 – Livestream Shopping
Livestreaming isn’t a new thing. Its popularity rocketed within the gaming industry and social networking. However, livestream shopping is still something uncommonly practiced. Everywhere, except in China, it represents innovation in ecommerce. Livestream ecommerce has become a huge trend in China, logically, since it is the market with the biggest ecommerce empire in the world. After the dramatic growth among Chinese, this form of shopping became popular with the merchants in the whole Southeast Asia. Moreover, this marketing strategy also found its way to the west – Amazon has upgraded its livestreaming functions in 2022.
Live-streaming shopping represents a fun experience where a host, usually an influencer or a celebrity, streams a video to showcase a product with the purpose of selling it to viewers in real-time. While demonstrating the goods, the host answers questions from viewers and offers special discounts. Viewers have options to purchase the shown products directly through the streaming platform or website. It is the entertaining way of engaging with customers online, covering the importance of the social aspect. The interaction helps businesses build a sense of community and connection over the same product with their customers.
5 – Mobile devices
Not so much the innovation in ecommerce, but more of a trend, is using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. They have become increasingly popular in ecommerce in recent years. Due to their portable nature and constant internet connection, they are convenient to be used for online shopping anytime, anywhere. Many businesses are optimizing their websites and creating mobile apps, making it easier for customers to shop on-the-go. Mobile devices also store user’s information such as location, browsing history, and preferences. These can be used to provide a personalized online shopping experience. This trend is likely to continue as a number of mobile users constantly grows. Statista.com predicts that m-commerce retail sales are going to reach the growth to approximately 710 billion U.S. dollars.
6 – Headless ecommerce
Headless ecommerce is, by definition, an ecommerce platform where the frontend and backend are decoupled. This separation allows developers greater flexibility when building frontends, using any technology they choose. The backend remains used for managing products, processing orders, and handling customer payments. The connection between the frontend and backend is an API bridge, which allows development to be done faster. This innovative approach leads to improvements in scalability and better user experience. The website built this way behaves like a progressive web app (PWA) with all its virtues. Even when the connection is unstable or off, browsing and filling the shopping cart is allowed. It also boosts SEO rankings and supports personalized push notifications, which proved great importance in the competitive world of ecommerce.
Overall, it is likely that ecommerce will continue to evolve and be shaped by advances in technology, changing consumer preferences, and the needs of retailers. These and other innovations are helping to make online shopping faster, easier, and more convenient for consumers, and are driving the growth of the ecommerce industry. There is a list of ongoing things and we at Factor Blue are excited to be part of this exciting future.
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