The quarter one of 2017 has ended, making the world realize that the gears of the e-commerce industry have changed. With technology making in-roads into the online retailing domain, the industry is experiencing exponential growth in terms of revenue figures as well as customer satisfaction. According to Statista, 40% of internet users across the globe have indulged in online shopping through desktop, smartphones and other devices. This is equivalent to over 1 billion internet buyers. The hair-raising figure throws light on the explosive pace at which the industry is flourishing. Moreover, that time of the century has passed when users used to scroll the sites, trying to gauge the risk of buying a product of their choice. The situation today is very different. With a large number of consumers turning tech-savvy and mobile-friendly, the ecommerce ecosystem is becoming much stronger and larger, and technology has a major role to play in its humongous success.
Changing how consumers engage with online retailers, technology has transformed the industry in and out. A quick look at some of the emerging tech trends surfacing the online retail business in 2017.
Smart buttons – The concept of dash buttons is gaining traction among e-commerce firms. Amazon is the pioneer of the trend, and it is currently dominating this cutting-edge technology. Ordering or reordering anything is made quick, easy and fast, with the push of a button, and has resulted in a significant increase in the number of orders placed by customers on Amazon. In the coming years, other retailing companies are sure to follow suit, with the trend slowly catching up in the market.
Drones – E-commerce drones are changing the face of the online retail industry. Speedy delivery is going to be a major factor that will determine consumer retention and satisfaction in future, making it probable that Drones will transform the way products are shipped. With drones coming to the forefront, the dependence on third parties for delivery of goods will get eliminated, and an era of faster, seamless and hassle-free dispatch of products, will set in.
E-wallets – The advent of e-wallets is going to make payment and check-outs an easy-breezy affair. E-wallets like Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, etc., will become the first choice of consumers as well as retailers to make and receive payments. Lack of unity among retailers is a major hindrance that is forbidding the online payment mechanism to take full shape. In the near future, e-wallets are going to be the most-preferred choice for making payments, thanks to the superlative security and safety they provide.
Social Commerce – The combination of e-commerce and social media is in vogue these days. Social commerce can more commonly be noticed on popular platforms like Facebook and also on shopping sites like Polyvore. A new way to delight customers, social commerce is making waves in the market and changing the rules of the e-tail business. By connecting with famous social media platforms, online retail companies will be able to expand their reach, enlarge their customer base and have access to a large pool of shoppers who spend a major part of their time online. Features like reviews, tagging, polls, will further give a fillip to potential purchases and will also help e-commerce firms identify the shopping trends.
Personalized customer experience – Technology is enabling e-commerce firms to deliver excellent shopping experience to customers that is tailor-made to their needs. The emergence of mobile personal assistants has heightened the quality of experience delivered to online shoppers. Developing a loyal line of customers has become the top most priority of e-tail companies, and the only way to achieve this is by analyzing the social media networks users are active on and providing them unmatched services across the platforms they have access to.
Small and medium scale businesses coming forward – Gone are the days when renowned brands were the only entities enjoying higher profits and popularity. With technology becoming ubiquitous in the form of smartphones, tablets, and computers, there is an equal chance for businesses of all size to shine in the crowd and carve their footprints in the market. Small emerging businesses can now compete with retailing giants like Walmart, giving startups the motivation to join the e-commerce club and be part of a landscape that is flooded with innovations and disruptions. Also, brick and mortar companies are jumping into the online world, thanks to the increasing influence of social media and mobile technology.
Mobile marketing to take center stage – 2017 will see many e-commerce empires turning to digital mobile marketing to attain top-of-the-mind brand recall and increase their presence in the market. According to a report by Marketing Land, mobile devices drive a whopping 56% of the traffic generated on shopping sites, which indicates that more that half of the traffic comes from mobile users. Also, Internet Retailer has confirmed that 30% of the sales in U.S. is from mobile devices. With the industry registering a positive year on year growth due to mobile marketing, hence it is one of the most lucrative trends to look out for in the current year. Shopping apps, video ads, and PPC ads will occupy the major part of the mobile marketing strategies of companies. The report by Invesp sums it all up as it predicts 2 billion purchases globally from handheld devices in the current year.
According to a report by Forrester, Direct eCommerce sales (including mobile and tablets) will top $370 billion by 2017 and the total retail sales in the US will reach $3.6 trillion by 2017, 60% of which will be either transacted directly on PCs, phones, or tablets, or influenced by research on those devices.”
This year will see the above tech trends transforming the e-commerce industry and cementing the relationship between online retailers and their customers, with robust and seamless shopping experience delivered. Mobile will become the focal point of e-tail companies, and even those who haven’t taken the mobile route yet might start walking on this path. Customer will continue to be a king in 2017.