Every smart IT organization has made getting ahead of competitors their primary business this leads to them striving for emerging trends in eCommerce. Innovations in technology are driving business evolution and in some cases disruption. Most IT departments are continuously scrutinizing the future in the attempt to recognize the next big technology thing that will drive investment decisions. We have outlined the top nine emerging trends which should go on your IT watchlist for this year, as they will impact trends and technology in the next three years.
1. Shopping via Real world Object & Image Scanning – Soon ecommerce customers would not need to browse products using keyword phrase, bar code, QR code etc. Instead, they would have the option to scan a real world object around them or images in media, to find details for an item and shop for them. This revolutionary change in ecommerce will be possible using mobile technology.
2. Mobile POS and showcase using iPad or Android – The goal will be to enable every store colleague to transact, checkout and take payments without needing to go to a till. Apple started this trend and most retailers see the significant advantage that this approach provides by providing access to an entire product range, as well as to drive assisted conversations. With iOS 6 and Android 4.2 Jellybean, the features you can enable in customer assisted app are endless, starting from basic tools such as using the camera for barcode scanning to viewing a virtual makeover for customers in store.
3. Advanced website browsing on mobile/iPad/tablets – Along with the above assisted scenarios, the potential growth of mobile/iPad in retail eCommerce is enormous. Current projections, suggest that in the next couple of years mobile/iPad will exceed desktop numbers. Mobile consumers will expect websites to work like any app (i.e., intuitively they will swipe if they see a carousel or more than one image).
Responsive design is the mantra for any website as we think we have not explored even 20% to 30% of the potential with current technology. Retailers should actively take advantage of mobile functions. Features like compare prices with other retailers by scanning the product, self checkout, payment wallet, store card/loyalty as an app, GPS-enabled advertising on digital screen in store and the likes will be common in next couple of years.
4. Social Media Sale Contribution – Facebook has more than 850M+ subscribers, and it is a known fact that number grows by 20% or more every year in emerging countries. Retailers will take more and more advantage from the various set of data about users’ daily activity using Facebook Connect, like offering promotions on products which they most commented on or identifying what their friends mostly like and recommending the same when they visit the store. Others like Pinterest, Groupon and the likes are catching up slowly but with the existing user base, Facebook will continue to lead the race for 2014.
5. Push notifications – Mobiles have changed the way consumers respond to and look for information. The trends is moving from ‘pull browsing’ to ‘push browsing’, whereby marketers are reaching out to consumers with more relevancy than before to pull them to buying things. What was earlier only marketing emails will turn into relevant SMS notifications when a customer near a physical store or relevant basket notifications when they are tweeting or browsing Facebook updates for selected products on their mobile home screens every morning.
6. Less importance to conversion ratio over customer engagements – The ‘Big Data’ or ‘Hadoop’ methodology and concept will continue to be explored further. Although there is a overhype, the beauty of combining online and offline data from various channels whether structured or unstructured at lightning speed is something which retailers need in order to enhance decision making, as it provides those hidden consumer patterns which were never thought of.
7. Customer Personalized Presentation – Although not new, ecommerce will employ Customer Personalized Presentation more frequently. Personalized recommendations or targeted content will be the key medium to display content. There will be two distinct sets of consumers; one who expects the retailer to make use of cross domain data (i.e., if data was provided on Facebook or Twitter, then the consumer would expect it would be available on affiliates as well) and others who will be wary of their data being shared between sites. We believe numbers-wise the former will be higher than the latter.
8. Multi-channel – Consumers will expect a seamless shopping experience. They would expect that if they add a product to an ecommerce cart at home, they would find it in the basket when they go to the store or if they call up the call center to ask for details. This expectancy will drive IT directors to invest in commerce packages, CRM systems and more importantly integrating their commerce system with POS.
9. Big data – The ‘Big Data’ or ‘Hadoop’ methodology and concept will continue to be explored further. Although there is a overhype about these concepts, the beauty of combining online and offline data from various channels whether structured or unstructured, at lightning speed is something which retailers need in order to enhance decision making, as it provides those hidden consumer patterns which were never thought of earlier.
To sum up, the next three years are going to be very exciting for multi-channel (or Omni-channel) commerce. In our view, banking on the above concepts will help smart ecommerce businesses to emerge as trend-setters, and most importantly to succeed.
Remember, in all this the consumer wins and in their winning ecommerce triumphs!
Plan & Prepare Now! Stay Ahead in the future.
Courtesy: Pinak Vedalankar