The Future of eCommerce Technologies
By Simon Yencken, CEO & co Founder, Fanplayr
The eCommerce market has been constantly growing over the last few years and the Covid-19 pandemic has forced that adoption into ‘fast forward’: as physical shops closed their doors, and buyers relied on e-commerce channels to purchase almost everything.
As the world inches towards a return to “normal” we will see that the pandemic has forever changed our shopping behavior.
In early 2021, the EY Future Consumer Index , found that 80% of U.S. consumers are still changing the way they shop. 60% are visiting brick-and-mortar stores less than before the pandemic, and 43% shop online for products they would have previously bought in stores.
In this context, the consumer online experience is taking center stage as:
- more and more companies are investing in their online presence; and
- more businesses are utilizing personalized communications to their customers to boost loyalty and to ensure long-term revenue growth
If we want to understand eCommerce technology trends, we have to ask ourselves: ‘What do consumers want?’
Have we all been spoiled by Amazon?
Who amongst us has not relied on Amazon during the pandemic, and what has Jeff Bezos spoiled us with? How about:
Optimized user experience
Well-designed for mobile experience
‘Buy It Again’ options
‘Others You Might Like?’ recommendations
Competitive pricing, and the world’s best logistics are outside the scope of this article, but almost everything else that we have become accustomed to with Amazon are delivered by technology.
The proportion of online commerce that is represented by smartphones continues to increase, at an accelerating rate. Many online sites present a sub-optimal experience on mobile devices. In particular it is often very difficult to ‘actively shop’ on mobile. Every eCommerce executive should test their own site’s mobile experience. How easy is to browse for particular products? Can one readily build a shopping list, edit the items readily in the list, and get back to the list easily after a distraction? In most cases the answer to these questions will be ‘no’ or ‘not really.’ If that is the case, then you have your work plan laid out for you for the next few months!
Those businesses that invest well in eCommerce for smartphones and in apps, will gain an advantage. After all that is what we have come to expect from Amazon!
Easy checkout & payment
Who amongst us ‘loves’ filling in endless personal details and payment methods at the end of our shopping experience? Not me, I can tell you!
When a consumer has a choice of buying it on Amazon – where all those details have been previously saved, or buying the same or a similar product – where one needs to fill in tedious forms, what do we think is the most likely choice?
Apple Pay, PayPal, G Pay and other modern payment apps can make a significant difference to the checkout process if integrated into eCommerce sites. This should be a high priority item for all eCommerce executives.
Personalization: ‘Buy It again’ or ‘Others you might like’
People love places and platforms that help them find the best deals and products in a single place with the least amount of effort. Amazon has done this very well and there is definitely a significant opportunity for other businesses to increase the performance of their online platforms by being more personal, relevant and responsive.
Going forward in 2021 and beyond, sales leaders will need to be more involved in facilitating their buyers’ journeys, understanding buyers’ likely behavior and preferences, and using advanced segmentation to deliver a personalized experience that is relevant to every individual. Businesses that invest in technology focused on their customers’ preferences and objectives will get the best outcomes.
This is an important area where personalization and AI can make the consumer mobile shopping experience more relevant and engaging, leading to improved revenues and loyalty.
New and ever-evolving laws are requiring companies to rethink their eCommerce strategies. For example, many companies are moving away from the once-widespread cookies that track customers’ movement online.
Companies will need to make it worthwhile for buyers to share data voluntarily—and to do more with the data they are legally able to collect and analyze. Understanding user behavior and leveraging this information to provide better more personalized experiences will be essential for businesses in the ‘post-cookie world’.
I believe that the most successful eCommerce businesses in 2021 and 2022 will take a page out of ‘Amazon’s best seller’ and focus on technology that facilitates:
- Mobile First
- Easy Checkout & Payment
- Respects User Privacy