There are a number of technologies which will bring innovation to the online retail space in the next several years. Some have already arrived and will continue to make a larger impact.
To be successful as e-commerce marketers, we typically strive to be on the very cusp of emerging technology. We try to foresee trends before they begin.
In this post, we’ll look at the three emerging technologies that have us most excited.
Let’s do it.
1. Augmented Reality
AR will surely have an immediate impact on retailers in the fashion and decor spaces. These would be the most obvious verticals to benefit from AR, but that’s not to say that innovative marketers in other verticals will not find valuable ways to apply the technology in their spaces.
We foresee AR iterating on the direction that 360 photography has been going by providing an even more immersive online experience of the product to the customer prior to purchasing.
Picture visualizing a garment or outfit on one’s self via an AR mirror experience, or visualizing how a piece of furniture would fit into and interact with your space.
2. Chatbots & Conversational Sales
Chatbots and conversational sales have already begun to enter the e-commerce space.
China’s WeChat is already leading the way in chatbot and conversational sales having more than 200 million users with payment information saved to the app. Facebook messenger is quickly working to follow suit.
To further conversational and chatbot technology, with the progression of the digital assistant race (Siri, Google, Alexa) it’s only a matter of time before users will be able to conduct transactions by simply speaking to digital assistants. It’s likely that Amazon will lead the way here, being the world’s largest online retailer themselves.
3. Seamless Omnichannel Customer Experience
Omnichannel customer experience still has a ways to go before we realize it’s full potential.
Of the three, I have to say that this one has me most excited. I’m anticipating the value this will yield for both the marketer and the customer.
I know, omnichannel, the overused buzzword of the last few years. However, we have still yet to realize a truly seamless end-to-end customer experience across all channels.
In today’s market, there are a number of channels at play in our customer’s experience: brick-and-mortar storefront, e-commerce site, mobile e-commerce site, native app, call center, just to name a few.
The type of experience that we’ve yet to achieve is one where a user can add a product to the cart on desktop, then return to the site from their mobile later in the day to complete the purchase with that same cart waiting for them.
When a user calls into the customer support center, the agent should already know who they are, what they’ve purchased, what’s in their cart, etc. This is the type of truly seamless customer experience that we should see within the next several years.
The benefits of such an experience to the customer would be unprecedented. The convenience and fluidity would raise the delight of purchasing, and the personal experience of being “known” everywhere would surely catalyze a feeling of VIP status.
In turn, the heightened convenience in the buying journey would lend itself to increased conversion rates.
Additionally, marketers would benefit from a never-before-seen level of data detail. The extent to which we would be able to know our customers would be unparalleled, leading to a greater depth of personalized marketing.
These are our two cents on the direction of e-commerce technology, and only the tip of the iceberg.
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