Outlook for online shopping
The widespread proliferation of broadband access has leveled the retail game, making it simple for individuals and enterprises to sell products with no geo-restrictions. In the previous year, USA e-commerce sales, obtaining a boost owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, experienced growth of 44% and signified >21% of cumulative retail sales, going by e-commerce data source Internet retailers.
The expansion and proliferation of e-commerce have not just created a paradigm shift in the way that customers go about shopping, but additionally raised their expectations of how brands tackle customer service, personalize communications, and furnish customers selections and choices.
The outlook for online shopping is contingent on specialists who can develop customized, engaging virtual shopping experiences for customers. Those heading into a career in business administration must adopt the latest digital technologies and tools – like data analytics, ML, and mobile trends – to meet the expectations of today’s online shopper.
5 Trends driving the future of online retail
Retail e-commerce revenue is predicted to experience growth to $5.4 trillion in the next year, according to market information provider Statista. As retailers make adjustments for this electronic sales boom, online markets are altering the way customers shop. Just Amazon was behind approximately 1/3rd of cumulative online retail sales in 2020, according to Internet Retailers. Other leading online retailers witnessed massive increases in their online sales. Walmart, for example, reported that its online sales expanded by 79% in its fiscal year 2021.
The COVID-19 situation, which drove customers to alter how they purchase basic items, electronics, and clothing, has assisted in reshaping the future of internet shopping and forced businesses to evolve to meet the new requirements and demands. Business staff need to be knowledgeable about current innovations and technological trends in order to take advantage of the opportunities presented by e-commerce, including the following:
1. Client data and analytics enhance marketing strategies
Web outlets might not have retail clerks or trial rooms, however they can suggest or recommend products on the basis of the client’s interests, preferences, and purchase history. The outlook for web shopping is reliant on capturing patterns of shopping behaviour. This facilitates a brand to develop strategic pricing, advertising and cross promotions on both an individual basis and on the basis of popular trends. For instance, a brand may carry out a social media ad campaign during peak shopping hours, promote items that are typically bought together, or display an ad for a particular item a customer has previously seen.
Business professionals trained in market research analysis leverage an array of tools to process client data and reveal insights. Analysts and researchers also leverage data to execute product research, and identify which items are selling and how much consumers are willing to shell out. Product development, which includes deciding what new products to sell and how to go about positioning them, is also mostly data-driven.
Analysts and researchers require strategic thinking, computer proficiency, and decision-making abilities to succeed in the future of web shopping. The recent proliferation of online shopping provides a thrilling opportunity for business professionals to step into a digital marketing role. Market research analysis positions by themselves are predicted to witness an 18% expansion between 2019 and 2029, going by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS)
2. Machine Learning Develops a Customized Online Shopping Experience
In the world of e-commerce, shoppers need a more customized experience. According to Accenture, 91% of customers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, recall, and furnish relevant offers and product recommendations. As a matter of fact, when web outlets customize the shopping experience, they can witness a jump in sales conversion rates of 15% to 20%, going by McKinsey statistics.
Instead of undertaking manual analysis of client information, data analysts leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies to compile data and develop client profiles. Analysts and researchers leverage these profiles and insights (with the assistance of AI) to provide customized suggestions and relevant content, on the basis of a smart algorithm. According to a survey released by Liveclicker, a provider of digital marketing solutions, companies investing in intelligent personalisation in e-commerce should anticipate a 20-fold return on their marketing spending.
Even though artificial intelligence drives a lot of the analytical process, market research analysts go about applying their own insights and comprehension of customer behaviour to make suggestions and spearhead the ongoing optimization of e-commerce.
3. Web shopping is going mobile
The retail industry has been considerably influenced by the escalating use of mobile devices. Market data provider Statista forecasts that in 2021, web purchases ordered from smartphones will account for more than $345 billion in retail sales. With mobile e-commerce, shopping occurs everywhere, no brick-and-mortar storefront or notebook is needed. What does mobile bring to the future of online shopping?
Retail purchases made through smartphones make up nearly 54% of internet orders, according to Statista, so smart brands are developing a mobile-friendly e-commerce experience. In addition to being accessible from a computer, a retailer’s website and online store should be optimised with a layout or application which makes it simple to explore and make purchases from a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device.
The mobile e-commerce experience furnishes clients with personalized products, better pricing, and enhanced accessibility. Analysts and business professionals must consider the user journey across several devices, which include mobile, desktop, and in-store, and integrate a multi-channel strategy to go about optimizing sales conversions. For instance, to create a smooth cross-platform purchasing experience, the information should update in real-time if a customer adds products to a cart on mobile and then switches to desktop.
Voice Technology Leads to Automated Commerce
A report from Coupon Follow, the retail coupon code tracker, identified that approximately 50% of millennials have leveraged voice technology to purchase items on the internet. Anyone can add a product to their online shopping basket by simply speaking to Alexa or an Amazon Echo.
While not every person leverages their smart speakers to make internet purchases, a sizable number of device owners are reliant on one of them to assist in making purchasing decisions and begin product searches. For instance, an Adobe Digital Insights report identified that 32% of smart speaker owners leverage their devices to compare product prices. This can have a major influence on customer’s purchase decisions.
Voice-assisted shopping is predicted to reach $40 billion in the U.S. by next year, going by a survey from business consulting leader OC&C Strategy Consultants. In view of this, business leaders must consider how to take complete advantage of this expanding channel for the sale of their products and services. Through strategizing how to integrate voice technology into their marketing, enterprises can connect with more clients and tap into automated commerce as well.
4. Shopping on Social Media Platforms Expands the Web Storefront
Billions of people leverage social media platforms on a daily basis. While several businesses appreciate the requirement for a solid presence on social media for marketing reasons, more and more look at these platforms as efficient places to make direct sales.
More than 50% of Instagram users leverage the platform to identify products. Several online shoppers look to Pinterest, Facebook and others for ideas about what to purchase. Providing social media users an opportunity to make purchases within the networks they already leverage provides for a faster, simpler purchasing procedure with fewer steps.
Also, social media platforms are ideally positioned to implement augmented reality (AR) experiences. A staggering 71% of shoppers state AR technology compels them to purchase, according to Deloitte research. Having the capability to evaluate or try out products develops confidence in a purchase. The growing leveraging of social e-commerce, and the avenues it puts forth for more interactive and personalized purchase experiences, indicate more enterprises should explore the potential of leveraging social media platforms to grow their web storefronts.
5. AR/VR – The Transformation of e-commerce
Client satisfaction, brand awareness, and sales process efficiency—with technology gradually proliferating the e-commerce space, retail businesses are looking for fresh and innovative solutions to improve these aspects and keep ahead of the curve. Through the integration of current e-commerce stores with immersive smart technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), retailers are seeking to make shopping and purchase experiences more intuitive, accessible, friendly, and satisfying. These innovations are revolutionizing the e-commerce sector and changing how corporations operate.
What role does AR and VR play in the future of online shopping?
Research indicates that approximately 78.65% of shoppers abandon their carts prior to completing a purchase. This shows the retailer is required to put in a lot more effort to sway the opinion of customers into going ahead with the items in their carts. Emergent technologies such as AR and VR hold the prospect of reshaping the world of retail.
As a matter of fact, various major investments are being made to generate potent, technologically sophisticated AR and VR products for the e-commerce market. According to CGS Insight, at the end of 2018, AR Smart Glasses were valued at $1.2 billion, and approximately 24 million VR devices will be sold internationally. Here are some considerable transformations that AR and VR are bringing to the e-commerce domain.
AR and VR have had a significant impact on the e-commerce they offer to customers and retailers, with comfort and efficiency having become essential factors within it. Further, it considerably reduces the time spent looking for products and making payments and enables more people to achieve an array of tasks in reduced time frames. Conventionally, individuals would go to physical, brick-and-mortar stores to try and experience products. But, AR and VR are totally altering this dynamic, enabling retailers to:
- Develop virtual showrooms and enable customers to explore products from the convenience of their own homes without having to step out.
- Furnish virtual landscapes of projects and facilitate customers’ experiences to get a feel for all of the features and capacities firsthand.
Aside from reducing time and adding convenience for customers, AR and VR also have the potential to slash end-consumer expenditure. With the capability to visualize any product of their selection, the phrase “try before you buy” couldn’t be more relevant. With the help of VR and AR, consumers can now be aware if their purchases are the correct match to what they require even prior to purchasing them, rather than discovering it just after they’ve purchased the product. Leveraging AR and VR, consumers can:
- From the convenience of their living rooms, they can wear an AR headset, go through a catalogue, and make more informed purchase decisions.
- See what they want, in the space they wish for it to be, rather than going to retail stores and flipping through product descriptions and dimensions.
Real life simulation
Probably one of the most significant advantages conferred by AR and VR on businesses would be the capability to develop an immersive experience, with the capacity to simulate real life. Even though AR and VR have long been prominent fixtures within the video gaming industry, the same technology can be harnessed when used in the context of virtual stores, which can provide customers with really immersive experiences. Leveraging AR and VR:
- Clients can’t just shop for products on the internet through real-life interfaces, they can also try out products in a virtual setting.
- Retailers can surpass physical restrictions and provide access to each product feature, eventually drawing more consumers into the sales funnel for increased conversions.
What the outlook looks like
Despite the capabilities that AR and VR offer the e-commerce sector, few e-commerce businesses have used these technologies. While this technology is comparatively new, it makes logical sense for retailers to make the most of it and provide unmatched experiences to clients while attempting to outpace the competition.
Retailers can develop virtual variations of their brick-and-mortar stores and take their online stores to a totally different level – either as a precise replica of their physical store or as a fabricated environment over which they have total control. Retailers can develop the space as they prefer and modify it on an ongoing basis to meet fluctuating consumer trends and product preferences. These features extend the customer experience beyond mere reality; it is an augmented and enhanced variation of reality and a completely immersive experience.
Maximization of sales
Degree of immersion, customer engagement, and impact are only a few of the reasons why AR and VR are becoming buzzwords within the e-commerce world. Innovative businesses and some of the biggest e-commerce companies on the planet are utilising the power of VR to deliver incredible experiences and gain a competitive advantage.
One of the more recent research studies indicates that customers are more likely to purchase from brands that leverage immersive tech to market themselves, AR and VR can facilitate clients exploring virtual showrooms, giving them the opportunity to touch, get a feel for, and give them a reasonable reason to go to your online store – totally transforming the shopping experience. Regardless of whether you provide a 360-degree video catalog or just an engaging and enthralling digital experience, AR and VR will facilitate shoppers’ immersion into the e-commerce experience and enable the potential for quick growth and accelerated sales.