eCommerce Trends and Challenges – Getting Ready For The Future
The internet knows no bounds, no opening times, and especially is immune to lockdowns. Considering the recent corona crisis, the retail industry has suffered immensely in terms of sales — translating into a turbo boost for eCommerce.
According to BusinessWire, online sales had a 19% boost in 2021 globally. Recent reports by Statista states that eCommerce will account for 20.4% of global retail sales by the end of this year. Keeping the numbers in mind, it can be said that the eCommerce industry is becoming more crowded by the day. With that said, keeping abreast of the industry trends has become necessary for eCommerce business owners to stay competitive and successfully overcome the challenges of the eCommerce industry.
The eCommerce Trends are constantly changing, and the coming years are no different. Keep reading to understand some of the biggest trends and resolve the biggest challenges of the eCommerce industry. So, without further ado, let’s begin!
Ecommerce Trends: Leading the Way to Future
1- Augmented reality is the new norm.
The biggest drawback, rather a concern for consumers shopping online, is the limitation of trying on or interacting with the products as one can in a brick-and-mortar store.
Augmented Reality has been a complete game changer for eCommerce trends. Using the technology, shoppers can see the placement of the product or try them on before purchasing it. It helps them with their buying decisions and creates a great shopping experience. In fact, Google found that 66% of people are interested in using AR for shopping, and the numbers are only going to pick up speed in 2022.
Here are three benefits of why you should consider offering your customers Augmented reality shopping
If the shoppers have an idea of what they are purchasing, they are more likely to make the purchase and return to the platform for more. In other words, you can offer the consumers an interactive shopping experience that ultimately impacts your website’s conversion rates.
Reduced Return rates
It’s not new that often customers tend to return the items they buy because the product doesn’t meet their expectations. It may be a different color from what they imagined before purchasing, or it simply doesn’t go with their house décor. The possibilities are infinite. This is where Augmented Reality works and significantly impacts the buying decisions of the buyers. The customer is satisfied with the received product because they have already tried it with AR. This, in turn, decreases the product return rates down to naught.
Providing a personalized experience to the customers is a trend in itself, which we will discuss afterward. However, with AR personalized experience is more like shopping for clothes displayed on mannequins or models. Imagine getting a perfect size and personalized recommendations when shopping online. This level of customized experience offered by AR is likely to result in increased sales.
2- Voice Search is growing exponentially
Voice search enables users to multitask. It helps in saving time and avoiding the hassle of typing a query on the search bar.
With the advancements in the internet of things, people today own smart speakers and rely on voice assistants such as Siri, or Amazon’s Alexa, to complete daily tasks. Research predicts that 75% of U.S. households will own a smart speaker by 2025.
Considering this, as more households adopt smart speakers, more people will utilize voice search — be it ordering food or organizing their lives, or making a purchase on eCommerce platforms. With that said, voice search gives the eCommerce industry an opportunity when in terms of keywords and content. Optimizing keywords with proper execution of a proper keyword strategy can make your eCommerce store get the top position on Google.
3- Personalized experience has become a necessity
Personalized experiences here refer to the eCommerce environment when visitors of the website receive product suggestions and targeted emails based on their previous activities.
Research by Segment states more than 60% of the consumers are likely to become repeated buyers of the company, which provides a personalized experience to the buyers. Customers expect businesses to be proactive and offer suggestions for what they may need next.
Personalizing each customer’s experience on the platform can give you an edge in the market as buyers will not have to look for products elsewhere and will be inclined to make a purchase. In simple words, personalized experiences make the customers feel taken care of.
Amazon is a great example of creating personalized experiences. What it does is simple: showing product recommendations on the home page and every product page, based on the previous actions and searches of the buyer.
Another way to deliver a personalized experience is by creating localized content and providing targeted offers.
Localization means adapting the site to the target market and geographical location. It’s not just limited to translation of content; localized content should appear like it was made for the local audience. It should reflect the interests and values. It should abide by the local arrangements such as units of measurement and more.
4- Improved Shopping experience via Chatbots
Chatbots interact with shoppers like sales associates in stores. Today shoppers want to find and buy a product in a matter of a few clicks, and if they can’t, they are frustrated. This is where chatbots come to save the day.
Think about it: if you are running a business where the same queries overload your call centers and emails, but you are low on support service resources, the result will be unsatisfied customers. Ultimately, your sales will be at risk. This is where it becomes essential to invest in chatbots.
Still skeptical? Take a look at some numbers! Gartner foretells that 85% of all customer interactions will occur through Chatbots by 2020. They also concluded that 53% of the customers happily message than calling the customer service agent. That’s not it. IBM estimated that $8 billion will be saved by 2022 from a business using chatbots. Well, they are a one-time investment, rather than paying salaries to the support service staff answering the customers’ repetitive queries — it is a good deal!
L’Oréal is an excellent example of reaping the benefits of Chatbot. The Luxe team at L’Oréal decided to improve customer experience and increase brand awareness. Through research, they found that shoppers seek conversations with businesses and brands for a better customer experience.
Aware of what their audience required, they chose Facebook Messenger as their messaging channel and deployed the ‘find the perfect fragrance” chatbot — a fun, helping and easy-to-use virtual fragrance consultant. As a result, this interactive experience guided the users through several questions and found the perfect fragrance they required from the L’Oréal store. Soon after its launch, 75% of the users reported the Chatbot as extremely helpful in improving their shopping experience.
5- Mobile Commerce is on the move
Shopping on mobile allows customers to make purchases from anywhere, which is essential for the world we live in today. It will enable customers to access a broader range of products, research before purchase and shop from the comfort of their couch.
However, if your eCommerce website is not mobile responsive, you are missing out on greater opportunities for business growth. The rapid growth of mobile shopping has benefitted shop owners in numerous ways, and it’s no wonder that more and more brands are looking into methods to adapt to the eCommerce trend.
The most crucial yet often overlooked way brands can adapt to the trend is through creating a mobile-friendly eCommerce store by choosing a responsive design, optimizing the product presentation and simplifying the checkout process. Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify or BigCommerce offer a variety of integrations and excellent features to support the shopping experience of the clients.
6- More ways to pay
Before, it was only credit or debit cards for payments. Then came PayPal, a tool to make payments easier. But now, online consumers want more payment options. The more options you have on your website, the more likely they are going to make a purchase from your online store.
One emerging trend is digital wallets such as Venmo that lets the customers pay using its app or using a QR Code that is specific to your business.
Another popular way of making payments is Buy Now Pay Later options that soaring in the eCommerce industry. Offers like Pay in four by PayPal are a common BNPL option. It enables the customers to pay in installments for a larger amount of purchase. An interesting fact, you don’t have to qualify for credit checks or traditional financing.
Ecommerce Business Challenges
1- Being Consistent
Consistency is an essential element when tailoring an omnichannel strategy. Customers use various platforms to search for items before purchasing them. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to provide smooth touchpoints through every product or service. However, analyzing and understanding customer interactions across all channels and using them to build a smooth customer experience is by far the biggest and one of the most significant challenges for eCommerce business owners.
So how do retailers overcome this challenge? The answer is the optimization of their online platform.
Brands can optimize their online shops to deliver complete consistency in search options, shopping pages, and shipping details. Doing this will not only deliver a seamless shopping experience to the customer, but it will leave the customer satisfied with your services. Shop owners must also work on product quality, fulfillment, and distribution.
2- Data Security
Strong eCommerce security is crucial to success in the eCommerce industry. With the increase in eCommerce has raised security concerns. Hackers threaten to attack the host servers and steal confidential data or introduce viruses, which is a pressing concern for businesses and shoppers.
Breach of credit and debit card information is common, and such problems seriously impact the user’s trust. Phishing is another security threat that concerns businesses when requesting sensitive information from consumers. Users are concerned about the ability of eCommerce websites to protect their identity and transaction details effectively.
Therefore, to avoid tarnishing the brand’s reputation and attract more customers, every business operating online must prioritize managing security concerns for their customers. Switching to HTTP protocols and using credible third-party payment methods is one way to maintain the security of the platform. Furthermore, obtaining payment card industry data security standard (PCI DSS) accreditation for your website can also protect the businesses and customer data.
3- Customer Retention
Customer retention is a challenge even for the big players in the eCommerce industry. These challenges can evolve numerous factors such as expectations of the customers, similar options, the failure to create a bespoke shopping experience and more.
Maintaining customer loyalty to the business is an important aspect of leading a business to its success. However, even a minor glitch in services from the retailer can affect it. Customer loyalty is sometimes underestimated as many businesses fail to understand that retaining customers is a part o maintaining a steady and rewarding relationship with the customers — that happens by winning them over time.
With that said, it is important for businesses to engage their customers in different ways. It is not just limited to transactional correspondents but making them feel valued. While providing an excellent experience on the platform is a part of it, brands need to nurture their customer using personalized communication using various communication channels.
Customer loyalty is built by channeling an emotional connection with the brand, and every business should align its marketing efforts to create that bond with the customers. A strategic customer retention plan can work wonders for the brand and turn customers to brand promoters.
4- Relevant Leads
While attracting good traffic may be achievable for eCommerce websites through marketing but getting relevant leads still remains a challenge for eCommerce businesses. It is no wonder that average eCommerce conversion rates are minimal. According to a report, only 2.57% of the eCommerce website visitors convert to purchasing from a website in the U.S.
The challenge here is to target the right audience at the right time with a product they want. Unfortunately, brands often fail to communicate the right message about their product or service and hence cannot engage the interested audience.
An efficient marketing strategy can help you boost your platform. For example, optimizing your brand for the search engines can improve the pages’ rank and reach potential customers actively. Not just that, running pay per click adds ads on google can also communicate the correct information and draw the attention of the audience with clear interest.
For marketers, follow-ups are essential. Personalized emails can also work magic on your marketing efforts as they can connect with visitors who may convert to potential over time.
5- Cart Abandonment
There are numerous factors resulting in increased cart abandonment rates — the most common being unsatisfactory user experience. Others may be slow loading pages, complicated checkout processes, or unsafe payment methods.
But how does one overcome this problem? It is simple. The buying process must stay seamless and easy. Make the checkout processes easier for the users and make sure it doesn’t take more than a minute to finish the process.
Not just that, transparent pricing, easy navigation, and fast loading page are also essential for the customers to get through the buying process. You can also retarget the customers who abandoned the cart and entice them with special and personalized offers.
2022 is an exciting year for eCommerce — however, it does come with some complications that businesses need to address effectively. While there is no doubt that sales will grow, to make it happen, retailers and business owners need to work on the customer’s shopping experience. With that said, it is important to keep an eye on what’s working in the eCommerce industry and what challenges eCommerce businesses need to overcome to succeed.