The global pandemic did most of the heavy lifting to change our daily routines, and that includes shopping, which has shifted definitively to the trends in eCommerce experiences for the “connected consumer” who works and shops from home. Almost twice as many people buy retail products from home now as they did a year ago. Technology is the key factor that has made it possible for people to research and buy easily while using different devices and shopping on different platforms.
From a 2020 report by PYMNTS/VISA, here are some important facts about the tech-driven changes that are changing the entire eCommerce landscape:
24% of people use food delivery apps more now than they did before the pandemic.
Voice assistants are used by 32.6% of consumers.
90.1% of consumers have smartphones, and 55% shop on marketplace apps more now than before the pandemic.
30% of consumers have a connected car, and 17% buy things while driving to work.
31% of people use an app on their phone to do their banking.
Technologies like artificial intelligence, personalized user experiences, and digital currencies have also made eCommerce fulfillment easier and cheaper for online sellers. And you should always be looking for more effective and efficient ways to cut costs, work smarter, and boost sales, right?
Let’s take a closer look at seven technology trends that we think will change eCommerce in 2021 and will continue to do so for years to come.
Trends in eCommerce: Robotic order fulfillment
Combining robots and people to do the work that needs to be done in a warehouse for eCommerce fulfillment is becoming more and more common. Robots are great at moving quickly over long distances and lifting heavy things. Both of these things are important for warehouse fulfillment. As warehouse management systems continue to get better and Internet of Things (IoT) technology becomes more common, robots will be able to collect data, follow instructions, and work better and faster in warehouses.
One global study says that by 2023, nearly 600,000 self-driving mobile robots will be used to fill orders, as it gets harder and harder to find people to work and eCommerce sales keep going up. During the busy season, robots can also be rented out, which gives human workers more stable schedules. Watch this space for sure!
Trends in eCommerce: Chatbots
Chatbots use NLP (natural language processing) technology to act like real people when they talk or write. This is especially true when they are used for live-chatting. The technology isn’t quite there yet when it comes to simulating a real person-to-person interaction, but it’s getting there very quickly. Chatbots are also getting better at communicating with people every year. Today, technology is changing eCommerce mostly in the form of virtual support services on eCommerce sites. These services save both shoppers and e-tailers time and money by automating customer service around the clock. Chatbots are much cheaper than hiring people to run them, and one day they might be hard to tell apart from real people.
Chatbots are also very good at generating leads. They do this by getting initial information about customers and then sending a good prospect to other pages of an eCommerce site where they can find the products and services they are interested in. This is a great way for chatbots to show how much money they make. People like eCommerce sites with chatbots, according to research: 38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company if they offer live chat support, and 63% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company again if they offer live chat support. These are all big reasons why chatbots should be taken seriously.
Trends in eCommerce: Voice Assistants
Voice technology is making a lot of progress in the form of home-based assistants that offer smart, seamless user experiences and have a lot of potential to change eCommerce because they can handle more complicated questions and answer questions about shopping. They are part of a software-enabled future called “ambient computing,” which is giving first-mover eCommerce e-tailers and brands new chances to claim new territory before their competitors figure out how powerful these technologies are.
Users just have to say commands, like “search the internet,” and the device immediately starts doing what was asked. More and more devices, from smartphones to speakers in your home, are adding voice technology, making a connected ecosystem where information can be shared. Services like Siri from Apple, Google Now, Cortana from Microsoft, and Amazon Alexa, which is very popular. From 2018 to 2020, the number of people who use voice assistants on their phones every day has grown by 23%.
People are using Amazon’s Alexa and Echo, as well as Google Home devices, to order goods directly from eCommerce sites by speaking to them. Voice assistants can also suggest the most-requested products on eCommerce sites. Online shoppers are using this technology to find deals and order food delivery from local restaurants. Voice assistants are being used to make purchases by 23 million people. This is a 43% increase from 2018 and a 10% increase from 2019. E-tailers are starting to realize how important it is to optimize for voice. This is similar to how Google algorithms are used to improve the “searchability” of an eCommerce site, and the same method is used in voice search logic.
Take the following steps to get your eCommerce site ready for voice searches:
Optimize the content on your website and social media pages to improve your chances of showing up in voice searches.
Add a skill for both Alexa and Google Voice Assistant devices.
Your website and mobile app should be able to be used by voice.
Make sure a voice command can be used to buy your products.
Trends in eCommerce: Augmented and Virtual Reality
Augmented reality (AR) just adds a few virtual things to the real world, while virtual reality (VR) creates a whole new fake reality. Both could change the future of eCommerce in a big way by letting people virtually interact with items and even touch them before buying them. Imagine trying on clothes online and being able to feel how they feel and see how they look on you. Not only could these technologies change the future of online clothing shopping, but the beauty, home decor, and auto industries are also looking into ways to visualize mobile purchases.
AI is expected to cost online sellers $7.3 billion by 2022, and more than 120,000 stores will use AR to give customers a better shopping experience.
As a result of the global pandemic and the need to keep people apart from each other, beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta stopped letting customers try makeup products on their skin in the store. Instead, they tried out AR to let customers digitally try out thousands of products before they bought them. This helped them decide what to buy. These methods have also been successfully added to their online eCommerce platforms without any trouble. With virtual storefronts, AR technology is helping retailers completely change the way people shop online. Kohl’s recent work with Snapchat to make Kohl’s AR Virtual Closet is a great example. With just a smartphone and the Snapchat app, a customer can step into an AR dressing room. Once they’re inside, they can mix and match clothes and buy something without having to go to a store. They can do all of their shopping on their device, from the comfort of their own home. Items that can be bought online are always getting updated based on what people want and need.
AR and VR are giving online stores new ways to let customers interact with products virtually in ways that have never been possible before. The more customizable these experiences are, the more valuable they are, and this makes people trust a brand even more When they are shopping online.
Trends in eCommerce: Blockchain for Payments
Payment technologies have always been a big part of how well eCommerce businesses do. As the number of online transactions around the world grows, there are bound to be stresses and strains on the global payment infrastructures. This could lead to higher fees, stricter rules, slower transactions, and disputes over who owns goods on eCommerce sites.
Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is a digital system for keeping track of the sales and purchases of assets. The sales and purchases are recorded in multiple places at the same time. Blockchain is the most well-known DLT. It works by putting transactions into blocks that are digitally linked together (like links in a chain) and then sending them to a network. These new technologies make it possible to check the legitimacy of financial transactions without a central authority, like a bank. Blockchain is what makes digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple work. These currencies have already changed the payment industry by making international money transfers cheaper, faster, and safer. They have also given retailers a new way to accept payments. Overstock is just one of many online stores that already accept Bitcoin as a payment method.
eCommerce merchants are hopeful that blockchain technology could make global financial transactions faster, safer, and cheaper when a blockchain is used to record the transaction history of every product and service and stop online fraud.
Trends in eCommerce: Delivery with Drones
At the moment, a lot of the eCommerce delivery system depends on people. However, this is quickly changing as robots and people work together in the warehouse fulfillment space. As with robots in eCommerce fulfillment, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are making it possible to automate even more manual work. We are now at a point in the transportation industry where an automated vehicle can pick up and drop off passengers and goods without a driver. The next step in this process is to use unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to deliver goods that were bought online. This will help e-tailers in many ways, especially by lowering the costs of logistics operations and increasing the number of online purchases. In 2016, a drone helped Domino’s deliver a pizza, and Amazon has been leading the way with its fast drone delivery system for Prime members.
Cutting-edge drone delivery systems use a lot of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), the global positioning system (GPS), and cloud computing. Instead of a physical address, the future will focus on where a person is and where and when they are likely to be. A smartphone app could be used to find a person’s exact location. Then, think about how easy and convenient it would be for your customers to get drone deliveries wherever they are when their package is on its way.
Trends in eCommerce: Automated dropshipping
For those who haven’t heard of it yet, dropshipping is a way for retailers to sell products they don’t have in their warehouse. When a customer places an order in their store, the information is sent to the person who makes the item, who then sends the goods directly to the customer. Dropshipping software will become more popular in 2021, but it is already on the rise. This means that the software needs to have product pages that are ready to be imported, can automatically collect order information, and can fill orders without the shop owner having to do anything.
Then, it’s important for this kind of software to take each order’s tracking number and send it directly to the customer. This saves the shop owner a lot of time and trouble.
Dropship-empire can help you with all of these things and much more. The best dropshipping software is directly compatible with both Shopify and Woocommerce and will help you run your dropshipping store completely automatically. Its unique image recognition technology lets you get quotes for your dropshipping products in real time, import products with just one click, automate the whole fulfillment process, and send tracking information directly to your customers.
dropship-empire also offers fast shipping (3–8 working days) in TIER 1 countries. They check the quality of your items and ship them, if needed, in custom packaging.
Adapt your eCommerce to be in the future
All of the above technologies will have a big effect on your eCommerce business’s future. Some of them are out of your hands, like having a robot do the work in your warehouse, but others are easy to add to your store.
Bringing your eCommerce up to date will help you get more customers, especially if you offer services like augmented reality (AR). If you want a 3D model of your item, the best way to get one is to find a supplier who can find the item and give you the AR file at the same time.
Technology will continue to change eCommerce after 2022, but one thing will stay the same: mobile commerce will continue to drive sales growth in eCommerce. If you want to be a successful eCommerce retailer beyond 2022, your products and services have to be easy to shop for and use on a mobile platform. Some of the technologies mentioned above grew out of mobile commerce or used it as a starting point for other innovations. It is thought that mobile commerce could bring in $3.5 trillion in 2021, and this number is only going to grow in the years to come.