At an event called The Future of eCommerce, 4mation gathered a panel of experts to discuss the trends that they expected to be at the forefront of eCommerce in 2019. As a web design agency in Halifax, Digital Renovators would like to provide you with a roundup of what was discussed at this event as 2019 begins to unfold.

Many of the most innovative companies in eCommerce use technology to create unmatched customer experiences. Due to the continuous advancements in technology, customers shopping habits lean towards convenience rather than competitive pricing. This makes it challenging for eCommerce business owners to keep up with the ever-evolving landscape.

However, there are some companies who are making it easier for business owners to stay ahead of the curve. 4mation gathered key members of dotmailer and Neopost Shipping Temando to share their experiences in eCommerce, what their predictions are for the future and how they are using technology to deliver better online shopping experiences for their customers. So, let’s dig into some of the ideas that were discussed at the event.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

You will be aware that Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are used to blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds and this has led to some amazing advancements. These technologies offer us new ways to experience the world and they are now making their way into the eCommerce landscape.

For retailers who sell online, this means that they are able to provide their customers with ways to experience their products without visiting a physical store.

Advanced Product Filtering

As mentioned previously, customers are choosing convenience over price and advanced filtering enhances this experience. It allows customers to search for and find what they want faster than ever with more options to narrow down the item they are looking for. This includes adding many filters for them to work through to narrow their search, including size, colour, material and price.

Automation

The number of people shopping online is growing almost daily and they are doing so in a virtual environment that has minimal staff. This means that there has to be streamlined processes for an eCommerce website to run effectively.

To be effective with automation you need to implement it from the customers very first interaction with your site, all the way to the checkout. Doing so will improve your customer’s experience with your store, help to increase your conversion rate and allow you to reduce the time spent on manual tasks.

Chatbots

Over the last few years, chatbots have had an increasing presence in our daily lives and are being used across the internet from social media to eCommerce stores. At their core, chatbots are a simple program designed to simulate human interaction with a customer and provide them with help without the need for a person to be present.

For online retailers, they can be used for a variety of website functions, from providing customers with basic customer support to personalised sales interactions based on cookies.

Delivery Options

The way customers receive their products is changing and you may need to invest in new options to enhance the experience of your customers. Of course, traditional methods are still being used to deliver parcels and most people are happy waiting for a couple of days, but there are ways of beating out the competition.

Many online retailers are now offering same-day delivery and even delivery within the hour if customers are based in a city. This is why eCommerce business owners need to invest in new ways to make this experience as good as possible for their customers. Amazon is even trialling the use of drones to deliver parcels, which has been met with a lot of praise.

Digitising Real World Experiences

It is becoming more and more popular to include interactive digital experiences in real-world stores. If you have a physical location, this can help create a sense of wonder for those shopping in your store and makes their experience seamless.

Again, Amazon is at the forefront of experimenting in this space. They recently launched a concept store called Amazon go, which allowed shoppers to simply pick up the groceries they want and walk out of the store with their Amazon account being charged for the products. Imagine that! Just walking into a store and walking out with what you need without having to check out.

Easier Checkouts

Gone are the days of clunky checkouts, every online store needs an easy checkout experience if they want to convert customers. You need to make this experience as simple as possible for your customers to encourage them to return in the future. If your checkout system is poor or outdated, you may face your customers choosing a rival who has an easier checkout process.

You should also be upfront about all costs as it has been shown that the most common reason for someone abandoning their cart is hidden extra costs. However, ranking most highly in cart abandonment is their experience while checking out.

Mobile-first Commerce

The smartphone takeover is unquestionable, they are a part of our everyday lives and make it more convenient than ever to shop on-the-go. This is why you can no longer have an eCommerce store that is poorly optimised for mobile devices. Often, this can be harder to implement down the road, so it needs to be considered during the initial stages of development.

However, this doesn’t have to be a daunting task, you can start by simply reviewing your mobile checkout process – it should be as user-friendly as possible. A more advanced implementation would be to consider Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This is a framework that allows you to provide customers with super fast page loading speeds across mobile devices.

Multi-channel Attribution

The lines between the digital and physical worlds are continuously being blurred and this is why multi-channel attribution is becoming more important than ever. It is how you interpret what marketing channels and campaigns contribute the traffic that is driven to your website.

These can be optimised by knowing what your customers touch points before they reach your website to inform what works and what doesn’t in your marketing and where your budget should be spent. Google Analytics is a great free tool provided by Google that allows you to see where your traffic is coming from and what leads to more conversions.

Multi-channel Messaging

Now, users are on more channels than ever before. People have accounts on multiple social media platforms, so it is important to reach them at the right point otherwise you could be missing out on custom. Implementing multi-channel messaging will allow you to make your marketing strategy more effective.

At its most basic level, this means that you should have a presence and interaction across all major channels to maintain regular customer outreach. The mistake most eCommerce companies currently make is that they prioritise one channel of communication over multiple. Recently, it was discovered that customers who are exposed to a brand on two or more channels are 166% more likely to convert that those who are only exposed on one channel.