Why do people love the latest phones, cars, and tech gadgets? A new device is faster, more compatible, and has better options. Consumers have wants and needs. Merchants have only needs… whatever the customer wants.
When it comes to an eCommerce tech stack, merchants are in a never-ending upward spiral of keeping up with customer demands of speed, compatibility, ease of use, and security.
While some of the technology we’ll list might not be new, the technology continuously evolves, and retailers must upgrade to keep pace with consumer demands.
New Tech Improves Results
There are three primary areas where retailers must focus on staying ahead of their competition and consumer demands. They are improving the shopping experience, streamlining merchant processes, and updating security. When choosing new technology, consider how it can improve one of these areas of your business.
Making Shopping Easier
In a recent survey of 300 companies, 62% of them cited customer experience as a competitive differentiator. Here are a few of the evolving technologies consumers are embracing.
1. Shoppable Videos
Image Credit: Adweek
Shoppable videos make it easier for shoppers to buy. The videos feature products and use embedded links that enable shoppers to click and purchase without leaving the video. They allow brands to replicate the experience of visiting their website without the consumer having to exit the social platform they’re enjoying.
A recent buyer survey concluded that 91% of buyers prefer visual and interactive content over traditional formats. Shoppable videos are ahead-of-the-curve, live interaction that provides undisrupted engagement, and a smooth path from motivation to purchase.
2. AI, Chatbots and Voice ShoppingEditorial Credit: CoinUp / Shutterstock.com
We’ve grouped AI, voice shopping, and chatbots as the latter related technologies rely on AI for everything they do. As AI improves, so do the responses and capabilities of chatbots. 40% of millennial shoppers are already using voice shopping and assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Home, and Amazon Echo. Here are some of the ways eCommerce need to incorporate AI to improve customer experience:
- AI-Generated Product Descriptions
- Intelligent Searches
- Smart Product Recommendations
- Post-Sale Follow-up
As that trend continues to grow, merchants must continually enhance their AI to provide instant answers for the best customer experience.
3. Mobile Commerce and the IoT
Mobile is not an emerging technology, but it does serve as the bridge between intelligent systems and people. With over half of all online purchases coming from a smartphone, retailers need to optimize for mobile. Some of the ways to upgrade and check include:
- Ensure every page of your store is mobile-friendly.
- All buttons and links should be “Tap-Friendly” on a mobile phone.
- Navigation and forms are easy to use on a small screen.
The phone has become the go-to device for ordering online whether by touching a link in a video, CTA button, or voice. As the IoT expands to more devices, be sure your site works visually and functionally on all screens.
4. Fast & Easy Checkout ProcessesImage Credit: Apple
Nothing drives customers away faster than slow checkout, especially online. With global cart abandonment rates hovering around 75%, implementing one-click checkouts is one way to reduce that percentage.
Retailers should adopt these methods to reduce checkout friction and lower their cart abandonment rates:
- eWallet payments such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Android Pay.
- Opt to save the card details, to hasten future purchases.
- Provide one-page or one-click checkouts.
Implementing the latest payment and checkout solutions can increase sales and reduce cart abandonment.
Efficient eCommerce Processes
Keeping your customer happy is a big part of retail technology. Managing the business behind the scenes is critical for retailers to stay on track and create experiences for customers, as well as delight for the business managers behind the scenes. This includes streamlining your internal operations, improving CRM adoption and management, and leveraging all the available benefits of highly trained eCommerce web development teams that can increase loading speed for customers, and innovate with frontend merchandising.
Digital Supply Chain Management
Optimizing the supply chain management for Enterprise eCommerce is critical for guaranteeing on-time delivery. Fast delivery has become a differentiator for most retail and B2B suppliers. Retailers must have the technology in place to handle seasonal spikes in demand. Some of the technologies available for improving the supply chain workflow include:
- Inventory Management - Hack-proof RFID chips.
- Brand Protection - Inserting digital markers to fight counterfeit products.
- Warehouse Management - Robot technology for automated order picking.
- Delivery - Using drones to deliver shipments.
eCommerce companies are investing in warehousing and logistics technology solutions to gain a competitive advantage.
Did you know that 96% of first-time visitors leave a site because they are not ready to buy? Re-targeting across all channels has become the most effective way to bring them back. Customers who receive retargeting ads are 70% more likely to buy from a retailer’s site the next time they visit.
An eCommerce digital marketing company uses a variety of new tools and technology to develop personalized retargeting campaigns. Retailers should partner with a digital marketing company to avoid having to invest in the latest marketing tools that are always changing.
Open SaaS for eCommerce
Enterprise, as well as mid-market retailers, are adopting open SaaS rather than building complex back-end systems that take a dedicated, full-time team of developers to maintain. With an open SaaS solution, the IT team can focus on selecting and maintaining the best systems that integrate. This can greatly reduce costs and expedite future upgrades for scaling.
Blockchain for Faster, More Secure Transactions
Blockchain began as a new decentralized currency and method of payment in 2008, and in just ten years has climbed to $1.2 trillion in value.
Blockchains are a perfect way to store every bit of transactional data. A blockchain is a permanent digital record that stores a list of transactions, called "blocks,” that cannot be altered. eCommerce stores can benefit three ways from this technology:
- Alternative Cryptocurrency Payment Methods
- Faster Transactions
- Secure Payments
The benefit of blockchain technology is that it documents each part of a transaction from payment to fulfillment. A blockchain is a cloud-based, transparent, and unalterable public record. It can facilitate faster transactions, foster better trust between all parties and provide another global payment method.
Tighter Store and Website Security
Internet hacking is like the flu. It’s always lurking out there, and you never know when you’re going to get it. The difference is that a hack can be devastating and cost millions of dollars.
Security should be layered like good armor. Here are the security measures your company should have in place.
Multi-Factor Authentication – Add a detailed contact form plus strong passwords for users to enter the site.
VPN – A Virtual Private Network uses offsite servers and encrypted communications to keep transactions safe over public networks.
Biometrics – Allow customers to sign up using biometric verification from their phones. Instead of passwords, the system can identify a customer’s unique physical characteristics such as fingerprints, palm, face, or voice.
Employing the latest security tech like biometrics can improve security while reducing the hassle to the customer.
Emerging eCommerce Technology - Not New, Just Better
Much of today’s eCommerce technology is not brand new, but proven apps that continue to improve. For example, the Air Force developed Augmented Reality in 1992. It wasn’t until the application made its way into gaming that retailers discovered a use for it by selling products in stores and online.
Artificial Intelligence, or Augmented Intelligence, is another older technology that continues to evolve and benefit consumers and store owners alike.
However, technology is not driving the way people shop. It’s the other way around. Shoppers want fast, convenient, personalized service whether in-store or online. Merchants must balance between the technology that delivers the best experience to the customer while creating more efficiency in the back-end processes.
Image Credit: Apple