Future of E-Commerce from the Industry Experts’ Point of View

Last Updated on March 17, 2021 by Editor Futurescope

The e-commerce world is ever-evolving. Customer behavior has made it necessary for companies to innovate. The use of technology is on the rise as a way to respond to customer needs. Indeed it is a space that needs keeping a close eye on.  Even the industry experts are weighing in with their predictions of the sector.

So what do the experts have to say about the future of the e-commerce industry?

Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR) Will Play a Significant Role

Augmented and virtual reality will be game-changers for retail. It will impact the sector like the internet did. – Michael Valdsgaard, Leader Digital Transformation at Inter IKEA Systems.

Augmented and virtual reality are by no means new concepts. It has managed to revolutionize the sector. Customers interact with virtual products. They can then make sound decisions on whether to buy or not.  

The beauty industry, construction, and even home decor are already using AR. IKEA has an app that allows people to design their spaces using true-to-scale, 3D products. More businesses will use the platform. It may very well become a standard business model in e-commerce.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning To Personalize Customer Experience

Good customer experience determines whether a business will succeed or not. Companies are beginning to realize that it is so much more than good products or services. While these are important, more focus should go into personalizing experiences.

Companies are starting to embrace conversational marketing. It uses dialogue to communicate with customers. It could explain why businesses are investing in chatbots. AI chatbots use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP).

You get a machine that has human-like qualities. They can interact with customers and respond to queries or concerns fast. The chatbot’s technology learns human behavior. It can recommend products and guide the customer on the buying journey. 

They also collect data, which the company can use as a basis for decisions. Investing in the right technology will no longer be an option.

The Growth of Social Commerce

Social e-commerce uses social media to reach customers. Companies can get a lot of brand awareness from third-party endorsements.  Every time an audience member likes, comments or shares, people take note.  It is a fantastic way to drive more traffic to your website. In the end, you increase organic traffic. Such is more likely to translate into conversions.

Some companies are also allowing audiences to complete purchases on social media platforms. It allows for a better shopping experience. Customers do not have to logout of one platform and sign onto another to buy. They can complete everything from their Social Media accounts.

It leads to greater efficiency and higher chances of making sales.  Industry experts are confident that this is a trend that will continue to grow in the future.

The Shopify strategic partnership manager Alli Burg weighs in. She has already started seeing the effects of social Commerce.  Merchants have become more creative in how they reach customers.  The 2020 pandemic was perhaps the push companies needed to reinvent themselves.  

There is a lot of collaboration between the different platforms.  Shopify, for example, has entered partnerships with Google, Tik-Tok, and Facebook.

The Use of Live Streaming and Influencers to Sell Products

Senior director of e-commerce content, Yu Feng says, companies need to speed up digital makeovers. It helps businesses become more resilient and dynamic in the ever-changing business environment.

China is already enjoying the benefits of live streaming to sell products.  Alibaba, for example, experienced a 719% increase in sales. This came through the use of the Taobao Live platform. The platform has been very successful. It directly targets over 800 million active users on the e-commerce platform. Tik-Tok and Instagram will continue to grow as go-to sources for online sales.

Companies will invest more in looking for the right influencers. Before, many would gravitate towards the use of celebrities. But now, the shift is towards the use of micro-influencers. 

Micro-Influencers are typical individuals who have a larger-than-usual social media following. Customers engage with them better because they bring in an aspect of authenticity. It helps build a better connection with the brand.

Mobile Shopping Becomes More Significant

The former senior vice president at Coca-Cola, Wendy Clarke, could not have put it better. “If your plans don’t include mobile, your plans are not finished.”

According to Statista, by the end of 2021, over 73% of e-commerce sales will be through mobile devices. The industry can expect to bring in over $3.5 trillion or 72.9% from e-commerce sales.

There are optimistic predictions for further growth. Companies must invest in mobile technology to maximize the potential. The company must invest in providing seamless experiences on such platforms. Web design, for example, will lean more towards mobile-first applications. It will ensure that the experience on mobile is even better than that on desktop devices.

Companies must ensure accessibility and competitive pricing to compete in the mobile space. The user journey across such devices will be critical considerations. 

For the greatest conversions, companies will embrace the use of multi-channel strategies.  It doesn’t matter whether the customer is using mobile or desktop. There should be a seamless movement between the devices.

Final Thoughts

The modern customer is more demanding and with good reason. The digital space has opened up so many choices. That was not the case when options were dependent on what the brick and mortar stores stocked.  

Brands are starting to understand that the customer is in control. They must step up or perish. We have looked at some of the future trends that will have an impact on e-commerce.

The focus will be on providing the best customer experience. It will need a deeper personalization of communication methods. The use of AI chatbots, for example, will make the customer experience better. Customers will no longer depend on business opening hours. They will access 24/7 customer service.

Companies will also need to take the products right to where the consumers are. That is why social e-commerce, mobile Commerce, and live streaming will catch on. There is a lot to look forward to as brands compete with each other. The end customer will enjoy better shopping experiences.

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Founding writer of Futurescope. Nascent futures, foresight, future emerging technology, high-tech and amazing visions of the future change our world. The Future is closer than you think!

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