Important developments are about to transform e-commerce. Here’s what you need to do to seize the opportunities they’ll bring.
E-commerce never stands still. Changing trends, advancing technology, and intense competition combine to propel innovation and growth at a breathless pace.
To maintain traction in this fast-moving industry, online retailers must understand the forces that are shaping how e-commerce will look in the months and years ahead.
So, let’s take a peek into the future and identify what actions you need to take to prepare for the e-commerce developments heading your way.
1. Use More Video
Look at a heat map of an e-commerce web page–a visual representation of what a shopper looks at and for how long–and you’ll see that they gravitate towards any video content present on the page.
On top of being many shoppers’ preferred method of receiving information, video is also a highly effective e-commerce sales tool.
Research by Go Globe shows that visitors who watch product videos are 73% more likely to make a purchase compared to those that don’t. As a result of this massive impact on sales, 95% of marketers already using video plan to either maintain or increase their video spend.
It seems like only yesterday that watching an online video would be to subject yourself to frequent ‘buffering’ delays and frozen screens. Now, with ever-improving technology and Internet connection speeds, watching videos is must less frustrating experience on most Internet-enabled devices.
2. Listen to Your Customers’ Voices
Voice-operated virtual assistants are no longer an emerging trend—they’re here to stay. Voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are now a normal part of everyday life.
At the end of 2018, approximately 28% of the 128 million US households had a smart speaker. A study by Loup Ventures estimates the figure will grow to 75% by 2025.
This would put spoken language front and center of the e-commerce process. Spoken searches, rather than written, will open up a whole new area of SEO marketing possibilities—and voice-based site navigation and checkout could become the norm.
The more languages your company adds, the more widely accessible it will be to global markets. The companies that continue to invest in the development of language and dialect support will therefore pull ahead in the minds of consumers.
Keep in mind – If you’re building a voice recognition system or conversational AI, you’re going to need plenty of data. You have options, and you can learn more about them here.
3. Hyper-personalize the Customer Experience with AI
In recent years, advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) have enabled a more personalized customer experience. A study from Juniper Research reveals that annual spending by e-commerce retailers on features utilizing AI will rise from $2 billion in 2018 to $7.3 billion by 2022.
The hyper-personalized shopper journey that this investment could soon bring about will incorporate such features as real-time decisioning—where the user experience is altered as the shopper interacts with the website. Among other benefits, this valuable tool can be used to present shoppers with targeted content and offers.
4. Expand into Emerging Markets
E-commerce is already well established in the world’s more developed markets. The real growth, however, is happening elsewhere.
The rapid adoption of smartphones in many emerging markets—such as China, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa, whose growing economies are becoming increasingly engaged with global markets—has provided mass access to the Internet and, subsequently, online retail.
Growth has been rapid in recent years and it shows no sign of slowing. It’s estimated that about 3 billion people in emerging markets will be online by 2022. The same report predicts that these digital consumers will account for 20% of all retail sales.
From China, the world’s largest e-commerce market, to India, with its huge population, it is clear that digitally-savvy shoppers with growing disposable incomes are driving unprecedented growth, year after year.
It’s not a one size fits all situation, though. Your e-commerce site must be localized in order to remove barriers among foreign markets.
5. Embrace the Omnichannel Experience
Why limit your e-commerce selling to one device or channel when you can offer a seamless experience across them all? The omnichannel approach gives customers a consistent, seamless shopping experience, whenever, wherever, and however they interact with an e-commerce site.
Almost all online retailers have optimized their website for viewing on a smartphone. Now, with so many more ways to access the Internet, from smart speakers to smart watches, the need to create a unified experience is essential.
Furthermore, the omnichannel experience isn’t limited to the digital world.
6. Reinvent the Traditional Store
The COVID-19 pandemic hastened the shift from brick-and-mortar to digital shopping that many have been predicting for years. Counterintuitively, this could herald a new lease of life for the traditional store.
For most products, browsing and buying is best done online. The speed, ease, and vast choice makes physical stores look like something from a bygone age. The pandemic’s knockout blow, however, may not be directed at the physical store, but rather what’s been happening inside.
There are already signs of stores being reinvented as tangible components of retailers’ overall e-commerce package. Nike, for example, has sought to create a new in-store environment that blends e-commerce with physical retail and mobile technology to provide a personalized, responsive, and engaging experience.
If this trend continues, we could see e-commerce retailers using brick-and-mortar stores to give people something they can’t get online: an in-person, hands-on, brand experience.
The Future Starts Here
The exponential evolution of e-commerce in recent years has caused a paradigm shift in our approach to retail. And the speed of change doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
The future of e-commerce is an exciting place, and the developments outlined in this article are just the beginning of what promises to be a thrilling retail rollercoaster ride at the cutting edge of innovation, business, and customer service.
With a global network of specialist, e-commerce translation and localization professionals, Summa Linguae Technologies always keeps an eye on the future, to help businesses prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.
To ensure your multilingual e-commerce business is ready to not only survive, but thrive in tomorrow’s retail world, contact Summa Linguae today.
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