The bug has smashed ‘fast forward’ on many pre-existing trends, making the ecommerce space even more fast-paced and competitive than ever.
Below are 8 tips that’ll help your ecommerce clients stay ahead of the pack.
1. Conduct rapid consumer research
This will increasingly accelerate innovation. Change is the only constant, so it follows that constant innovation based on observing current behaviour patterns is essential in this ever-changing environment.
Rather than slowing down innovation, such an approach can help ensure brands are responding appropriately to constantly evolving and ever more demanding consumer expectations.
We’re working on a crystal ball solution.
In the meantime, brands equipped with a customer-centric perspective and team can — to an extent — foresee what will make their consumers’ experience effortless, exciting and engaging, from major transformations to minor optimisations.
2. Bring physical experiences into the digital sphere
VR / AR are here to stay. Those brands that stay on top or make big headway are those that’ll find interesting, new and appropriate ways to use these technologies to enrich the customer experience at various points in their customer journey.
Using these technologies may also save brands money, with consumers more sure of their purchases before they buy, thus decreasing the product return ratio.
3. Virtual Services
One to one retail gives many advantages, which is why adapting this fact to digital shopping is so important.
Features like live chat — already a norm for so many businesses — will continue to flourish; showroom experiences including consultations and tours will become standard for those brands that normally depended on in-person sales.
4. Personalised Selling to consumers where they are
Loyalty programs that only reward purchases in physical stores will be a thing of the past. Consumers use various platforms and are open to considering interesting offers that are relevant to them wherever they are in digital space.
Leveraging features like Instagram’s live shopping experiences and other social selling features will provide brands with ample opportunities to experiment with different permutations of omni-channel approaches, with pertinent, unobtrusive personalisation playing a prominent role.
Integrating online and offline personalisation will further help drive customer loyalty.
Exceptional consumer experiences will be more likely to convert satisfied consumers into brand advocates.
5. Virtual marketplaces will continue to evolve
Amazon, Alibaba and eBay are here to stay for the foreseeable future, but their market share will be eroded by direct-to-consumer experiences such as Shopify’s Shop app.
Starting life as a quick way for consumers to track order status, the Shop app has morphed into a means for merchants to recommend products to their customers directly.
Buyers can ‘follow’ brands, allowing companies to provide consumers with a ceaseless carousel of new products they’ll likely be interested in.
Even Walmart has jumped on the bandwagon, offering a means for merchants to sell through its platform and utilise the brand’s considerable reach.
Gear patrol, formerly a product review blog, has evolved into a rich marketplace featuring curated products, brand collaborations and super-editorialised product content.
Market adoption of delivery apps, previously focused on grocery and takeaway delivery, has increased dramatically, as well as having increased their scope to include a wide variety of products.
6. All the payment options
2021 will very likely see an explosion in the number of payment options available to consumers.
Merchant financing solutions and paying by crypto might also be features, but it’s likely that these won’t take off as global trends. Apart from the US, people don’t use ‘buy now, pay later’ features all that often, and crypto is still a niche market, not having been adopted at nearly the rate fans predicted.
7. Conscious consumers — environmental ethics matter
According to a recent IBM report, 57% of shoppers will change their consumer habits to help mitigate their negative impact on the environment. Nearly 8 in 10 say sustainability is important to them.
As an additional feature to encourage consumers to hit ‘buy now’, vendors are increasingly providing options to offset the carbon footprint of purchases, allowing consumers to rest easy when ordering.
Another potentially significant aspect of this is brands adopting alternative advertising strategies like using CGI in their ads instead of organising costly traditional photoshoots, decreasing their costs as well as carbon footprint in one go.
8. Blazing-fast site performance
No one likes a slow page or app.
Over 25% of consumers say they will not return to a slow site.
▪ A 100ms delay hurts conversion by up to 7%
▪ Every 1 second of page load improvement boosts conversions by 2%
▪ Every 100ms in page load improvement boosts revenue by at least 1%
Appropriate, restrained omni-channel personalisation, features based on rapid consumer research, melding the physical with the digital, going the extra mile with a host of virtual services, a plethora of payment choices, catering to conscious consumers and near-instant load speeds are what e-commerce consumers are coming to expect next in this rapidly evolving market.
Next week we’ll be taking a look at why Home Depot’s app has been on top for years, and how you can help your clients get the results they need by adopting a few key approaches.
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By: Nick Lucek