Ecommerce is predicted to be a $638 billion industry by 2022. Meanwhile, it’s already responsible for nine percent of all retail revenue. If growth in an already strong industry is so inevitable, why would anything need to be different? Turns out, there are several reasons.
Here are three essential ways the ecommerce industry needs to change.
More Personalized Experiences
Despite what some early pundits predicted when e-commerce started snowballing, brick-and-mortar stores aren’t going away. For one thing, hey offer a more personal experience than e-commerce has yet to replicate. People’s time is precious, which is partly why e-commerce has taken off to date, however, most online shopping experiences still can’t come close to a physical store’s. Whether it’s a clunky interface, way too many products to reasonably sift through, or a company simply being too much about themselves instead of the customer, consumers aren’t settling for average experiences.
However, these details can be made up for with an online shopping experience that revolves around the specific user shopping. It’s no coincidence that Amazon’s homepage for Prime members is full of personal suggestions or reminders to buy products ordered in the past. It makes users feel like they’re being waited on versus digging through bins of goods at a yard sale. One of the ways this can be met is through the increase of curated shopping platforms. Consider sites like Canopy that suggest different Amazon products, and Repick, which recommends household items, furniture, and lifestyle products from around the web. Each provides a semblance of the personal clerk experience shoppers enjoy.
Digital assistants, particularly where grocery e-commerce is concerned, will play a bigger role going forward. With an artificial intelligence-powered digital assistant doing the heavy lifting, you’ll find relevant products in a fraction of the time.
Our attention is being sought from all angles these days. Distractions lurk at every turn. Thus, it’s unreasonable to expect anyone to pay attention to a company that doesn’t engage. The marketing of yesteryear, simply getting the word out, is futile. Consumers need to be presented with personal messaging—and on their terms. Here again, the use of artificial intelligence will be key as marketers create more nuanced customer profiles and more segmented user bases. With predictive analytics, marketers have the potential to send a personal email at an ideal time to improve open rates, as well as click-throughs.
Customer feedback also needs to play a bigger part. Using chatbots to discover and log customer questions and/or issues, a wealth of information will be had regarding what makes various consumers tick, and what they’re ultimately looking for. Imagine how much more effective an email blast would be if the messaging was tailored to a specific user instead of a broader customer base. For e-commerce to hit its true stride, this level of engagement needs to happen.
Build on Customer Trust
Having secure site badges and using https to encrypt information are prerequisites to operating at this stage of the game, as evidenced by their widespread inclusion with popular hosted e-commerce website theme providers, but they don’t make a store immune to cyberattacks. If e-commerce companies continue having a hard time proving they can keep customer data safe, churn will continue to happen. The average data breach costs e-retailers $172 per record, and the average attack costs $4 million. For a small company without a fully established user base, one bad hack could destroy the business in one fell swoop.
While Amazon will continue to shift consumer preferences and help themselves to seconds and thirds of the overall e-commerce pie, there’s plenty of opportunity for companies that can engage their consumers, offer a personal shopping experience, and establish trust with their customers.
What areas do you think the e-commerce industry needs to improve? Share your thoughts below.