The Future of Online Shopping
The rapid growth of new technologies and the world’s ever-present internet access, have significantly boosted the growth of the e-commerce industry and provided brands and retailers with an abundance of strategy options.
While the potential for the future of online shopping is simply endless, it can also become a major challenge – both for consumers and online retailers – to navigate and benefit from the latest trends and developments.
From artificial intelligence, hyper personalization, all the way to seamless payment systems, in this article, we’ll be exploring how the latest tech developments are already shaping the future of online shopping.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
Artificial intelligence uses computer systems to simulate human intelligence in order to perform a range of tasks which would otherwise be performed by people. Digital devices using AI tools are able to perceive their environments, analyze and collect data. They can also take actions that optimize task processes and facilitate goal achievement. AI-powered computer systems can perform situational and environmental analysis, language translations, financial transactions, voice recognition, visual perception and self correction.
Machine learning is an important sub-field of AI and data science. It enables computers to learn how to perform and optimize certain tasks, like predictions regarding future outcomes, without being programmed for specific scenarios in advance. ML is frequently applied in fields like credit card fraud detection, climate science and citizen science. As long as there is enough data to train machine learning algorithms, the constant evolution of both AI and ML offers exciting technical solutions to business problems.
Incorporating AI solutions combined with ML, as part of your online retail strategy, will significantly improve your customer experience, boost conversion rates and business revenues. E-commerce strategists can deploy an AI / ML combination in order to automate a wide range of tasks, essentially reducing manual workload related to the operation and maintenance of e-commerce sites. AI and ML can maximize sales by learning from user behavior in real-time, predicting intentions and unique preferences, as well as recommending relevant products in a higher ranking.
The online marketplace can be an unforgiving place for online retailers who fail to adapt and cater to their intended customers’ ever-evolving needs, preferences and expectations. These days, being able to offer a personalized online customer experience is an absolute necessity for e-commerce success. In general, online customers are more likely to stay loyal to a brand that is able to recognize, remember and provide relevant offers and product recommendations.
According to research by McKinsey, online stores that offer customers a personalized shopping experience benefit from a 15-20% rise in sales conversion rates. Based on intelligent algorithms, instead of manually analyzing customer information, data analysts can use AI and ML to create useful customer profiles and gain valuable market insights. Even if AI can handle the customer data analytical process, marketing executives can further apply their own insights and know-how to continually optimize the shopping experience.
Despite customers appreciating brands offering personalized shopping experiences, it is crucial to avoid getting way too personal with ‘creepy’ advertising. According to Accenture’s consumer pulse survey, European consumers identified the top five creepiest advertising techniques as the following: an ad about something you spoke about near a device but never searched for it; an ad that follows you across devices; a text message offer while passing by a store; a mobile notification offer while passing a store; a social media ad based on a previous shopping search on another site.
𝔸𝕣𝕖 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕝𝕠𝕠𝕜𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕒 𝕡𝕒𝕣𝕥𝕟𝕖𝕣 𝕔𝕒𝕡𝕒𝕓𝕝𝕖 𝕠𝕗 𝕡𝕣𝕠𝕕𝕦𝕔𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕙𝕚𝕘𝕙 𝕢𝕦𝕒𝕝𝕚𝕥𝕪 𝕀𝕋 𝕕𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕝𝕠𝕡𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕥 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕡𝕒𝕟𝕪? 𝕐𝕠𝕦 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕖 𝕥𝕠 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕣𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕥 𝕡𝕝𝕒𝕔𝕖, 𝕕𝕚𝕤𝕔𝕠𝕧𝕖𝕣 𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕥𝕖𝕒𝕞 𝕠𝕗 𝕕𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕝𝕠𝕡𝕖𝕣𝕤.
The e-commerce industry would get nowhere without the gradual simplification and optimization of online payments. By using passive authentication methods such as face and touch ID, QR-code-based digital payment systems, as well as in-chat enabled transactions, online retailers can eliminate friction at product check-outs and ultimately increase their sales. It is also worth considering that for the first time in 2023, global consumers are expected to perform more than $1 trillion of non-cash transactions.
As more customers purchase products and services through a mix of online, mobile and connected devices, the payment industry’s tech evolution is transforming shopping experiences both online and in-store. With customers accustomed to digital payment methods, and as we gradually transition to a cashless society, fintech developers have optimized payment processing and financial management. Automated payment systems used by shops like Amazon Go, allow customers to enter a store and pick-up their product choices without having to pass by the check-out counter.
Seamless payments based on digital technology have essentially established faster and more convenient shopping experiences. The key benefits of integrating seamless payment systems for your business include faster transaction speeds, contactless payments, improved security both for your business and clients, as well as an overall optimized user experience. Finally, offering a combination of speed, security and convenience is a guaranteed way for your online brand to attract and retain loyal customers.
You can never underestimate the value of convenience when it comes to online customers returning to your brand or service. This is where the magic of voice shopping comes in. Imagine you are in your kitchen and you suddenly realize that your fridge is half empty and that you need to go grocery shopping as soon as possible. Traditionally, you would write a shopping list and head to the nearest supermarket. In more recent years, you could log into your supermarket’s website and order what you need. How about just speaking to a virtual assistant like Alexa and saying something like ‘Alexa re-order eggs, milk and bread’?
With artificial intelligence increasingly built into smart virtual assistance systems, and as Natural Language Processing (NLP) gets better and better every year, customers can literally order products on the go while simultaneously multitasking other activities. Adding an item to your shopping cart by speaking directly to Google’s Alexa or Amazon’s Echo has never been easier. Within the U.S market, according to a survey by OC&C Strategy Consultants, in 2022, voice-enabled shopping is expected to reach $40billion. Business strategists can no longer ignore this growing channel’s potential for easy shopping.
By integrating voice-enabled shopping into their marketing strategies and retail infrastructure, companies can basically connect with more customers and transition to a more automated version of e-commerce. In addition, voice recognition technology found in smart speakers is not just used for performing direct online purchases. It is also widely deployed for assistance with purchasing decisions such as price comparisons, as well as to search for useful product information.