The success of e-commerce depends largely on the execution of the delivery process and customer service. But anyone involved in the e-commerce game will know it’s an environment that’s constantly evolving as technologies improve and companies battle it out to win consumer loyalty.
One thing’s for sure, the future of e-commerce is unpredictable, but some key advancements are almost guaranteed – delivery times will improve, customer service will get increasingly better, and product selection will become ever greater. But how might the future of buying online actually look from the consumer perspective, and what trends should you be implementing in your own business to stay ahead of the curve?
At a recent Commercial CIO round table, we discussed some of the top hot trends set to transform the future of e-commerce in 2019 and beyond and here’s what they think we need to watch out for…
1. Delivery Drones
Perhaps one of the most exciting developments in e-commerce is one we are already starting to see in testing – drone delivery. In the not too distant future, drones will allow companies to deliver packages much more efficiently, with delivery times of just 30-60 minutes from point of order. Drones will be sent out from distribution centres and travel directly to the delivery addresses provided, at significantly lower cost and logistical hassle than at present. Amazon, among others, are already seriously close to making this a reality across the entirety of their business, and it seems that others will be clambering to follow suit as quickly as possible.
2. Pop-up Shops
Customers are already shopping in new, alternative ways than ever before. “Showrooming” and “webrooming”, where customers visit a local shop then buy online for a cheaper price, or vice versa, present new challenges for retailers when it comes to bridging the gap between the on and offline. As an online-only e-commerce retailer, you miss out on the webrooming aspect, because any sales made in a physical retail environment off the back of research on your site will be lost on you and your business.
Pop up shops can provide the answer and can serve as a low-cost way of reaching out to new customers and winning new long-term fans. Pop up shops give customers a chance to connect with your brand in a physical way, while helping you reach corners of your market that might otherwise have been impossible for you through online channels.
3. Native Social Selling
The average adult spends 5 hours per day on digital devices and 50% of that time is spent browsing social, messaging, media and entertainment apps. Even more promisingly for Ecommerce organisations, a good chunk of this time is spent making purchases. 18.2% of respondents to a survey conducted last year by mobile analytics experts Flurry, reported having purchased products directly via social media and this trend is expected grow in the coming years.
4. Free Trials
Free trials of digital products have been common for a long time, but now the trend is moving beyond digital into physical products. Sites that offer “free try on” are taking the world by storm. One of the main barriers to purchasing online is the inability to touch and feel a product, to try it out, before placing the order. Free trial products radically change this. Stores are beginning to explore the concept of allowing customers to try on one or several products and sizes for free, without even charging their credit cards. In the end, customers are only charged for what they keep. If they don’t keep anything, the entire experience is free.
5. Live Chat & Chat Bots
While Live chat and chat bots aren’t anything new, they are becoming increasingly popular for sales and customer service. For higher end products or B2B businesses, live chat can be a great way to convert site visitors. You can answer their questions right then and there so that the barrier to purchase disappears.
The UK’s biggest retail and Ecommerce organisations are already delivering on their customer’s expectations with the support of ANS. From infinite scalability to establishing the foundations to embrace AI and ML, we are helping Ecommerce leaders to innovate and operate better, faster.
To hear how our customers are embracing a world of opportunity to adapt and evolve, click here.