The retail landscape is witnessing a massive transformation as new technologies are shaping this sector like never before. Today, online shopping is more about the experience than possession, while the face of the market is rapidly evolving. At the same time competition has also intensified and to maintain an edge, e-commerce companies are ready to incorporate highly creative and innovative concepts to engage consumers.
This new wave of innovation is creating opportunities for new products, new markets, and new consumer preferences. It is obvious, therefore, retailers now have a wealth of options available to modernize their business and build a relationship with their customers.
Here are some transforming trends that are powerful enough to disrupt the e-commerce sector in 2019 and beyond:
Voice search will make a big impact
Voice search is greatly revolutionizing the way people are shopping online. From finding the right products or services to make purchases, voice commands can help consumers accomplish what they want. Voice search is convenient, interesting, and productive in that consumers can search on the go without even typing a single keyword.
Today, voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant have already made search quite user-friendly that can provide results within a blink of an eye. With further advancements in this technology, people will benefit even more.
According to a study, 40% of consumers have already started using voice assistants, before making a purchase. More and more people are likely to use voice shopping in the coming months because: It is hands-free, it can be used while doing other things, and it delivers faster results.
Voice-activated intelligent assistants can be used for different purposes listening to any type of music, searching for particular information on any topic, executing a home automation function, and even ordering food. Voice search is great for repeat customers, too. They can simply tell their digital assistants to reorder the commodities that they had previously purchased.
Chatbot will skyrocket the customer experience
Chatbots can fundamentally transform the way e-commerce companies can best deliver the best customer experience. From answering common customer queries to around the clock support, chatbots are here to stay. A chatbot is a software technology its imitates real human interaction way in a written or spoken.
These are the new-age customer service agents that will radically shift the way brands interact with customers. According to a study, 75% of companies said their primary objective was to improve customer experience; while chatbots give the edge to online companies. Chatbots are going to add artificial intelligence to the CX, e-commerce companies can significantly learn what their consumers are actually thinking.
In addition to retail, chatbots can be widely used across several industries such as communication, travel, utilities, and finance. Unlike humans, these AI tools will never get tired of answering customer queries.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things is a revolutionary approach that is going to impact today’s e-commerce landscape in a profound way. IoT incorporates a network of devices equipped with software, sensors and other electronics which enable them to exchange data, connect and function as an intelligent system. All the incoming data in the IoT system will be processed by the analytical inference of facilitating systems.
With IoT, online stores are going to be smarter. Sensors installed smart shelve will help to detect low-level inventory, and e-commerce companies can track products if needed to be replenished. The IoT is going to increase customer satisfaction level and it enables sellers to provide a more comprehensive shopping experience to their customers.
This process will definitely lead to a high level of engagement. An excellent example of great customer engagement is provided by Mercato that connects merchants to the consumers so they get direct access to the best quality of food shops. Other main advantages of IoT are Inventory management, logistics management, and delivery tracking, personalization, upselling and modification, and after-sales services.
Augmented Reality will add advanced features to online shopping
Augmented reality will allow brands to create new immersive experiences for customers. It’s highly beneficial from a commercial standpoint as consumers can visualize products in front of them. Furniture brands have understood how AR can help them market their products.
A piece of the wrong furniture can ruin the room’s entire visual appeal. Certain retail brands are coming up with augmented reality apps that use 3D models of their own furniture in their customers’ home. AR provides an interactive virtual window shopping in a more engaging way so that shoppers can browse through various products as though they are present there. According to Global Market Insights, the market for AR products is projected to grow 80 percent to $165 billion by 2024.
Blockchain has promising potential for the future
Termed as one of the most disruptive technologies of today, blockchain is likely to take a giant leap towards mainstream adoption. Blockchain can effectively eliminate the market monopoly as it can decentralize the e-commerce industry.
A blockchain defines a digital record that stores list of transactions (called “blocks”) backed by cryptographic value. Each block contains a link of the previous block, a timestamp, and data about the transactions it represents. One aspect that increases the popularity of the blockchain is transparency because of its decentralized nature.
Blockchain powers modern digital currencies (also called cryptocurrencies), with bitcoin leading the global adoption. So in the e-commerce landscape, blockchain can provide a safe and secure payment option. From payment processors to credit card vendors, blockchain technology can simplify the overall transaction process, thereby benefiting both businesses and consumers. Blockchain can also make shipping ‘smarter’ by providing encryption in deliveries.
With the explosive advancements in technological trends, the face of e-commerce is going to be changed forever. New mechanisms and innovations are bound to disrupt the already evolving industry. These are some of the main trends that will dominate the e-commerce sector in 2019 and beyond.