Predicting the future is difficult. Therefore, we decided to go from the opposite and see what does not change in the future. Spoiler: nothing.
We thought about where e-commerce would go, took our own expertise and combined it with the conclusions of market analysts. Here are the trends highlighted.
1. New Retail will replace omnichannel
New Retail is a term that replaces omnichannel. If omnichannel is a combination of offline and online sales into a single whole, then New Retail is a complete digitization and optimization of all components of retail in general.
Mobile CRM-applications are already guides to New Retail and directly affect relations with the brand. For example, one of the features of the trend is the emergence of online ratings in retail. So, there are supermarket chains, ratings with QR codes hanging next to the products. Customers can quickly get to the product page online and, for example, read reviews.
It will become easier and simpler to attract people from offline, and Internet traffic will become more expensive and bring less efficiency. At the same time, the shop-window space will continue to decrease, while the warehouse space will increase.
Delivery for online and offline customers will be faster and will take place from distributed outlets. Large retailers will develop and optimize their own logistics, striving to make the “last mile”, influencing the final impression of customers.
2. Expertise retailers will enter the niche of D2C sales
D2C (Direct To Consumer) is a model in which inefficient intermediaries between a producer and a consumer are eliminated. A D2C-based business delivers goods directly from the factory to the customer. That is, the sales chain is becoming shorter and more profitable for all participants.
D2C will become a factor in the growth of e-commerce. Companies will be able to get new customers if they offer their own products with the characteristics they need for the consumer at an interesting price.
Madrobots online store is an example of a retailer who has gained expertise and released a competitive product. Their smart Picooc scales are a direct and strong competitor to Xiaomi scales.
Among the highly specialized online stores with a D2C model – Blue Sleep, this is a Russian manufacturer of sleep products and a bright representative of the model.
3. Customer service evolves into customer experience
Technology blurred the boundaries and stimulated competition for the quality of customer service. Now customer service will evolve into a customer experience that will become the center of everything.
Some CRMs are transforming into CDP (Customer Data Platform), a user data platform. Like retailCRM, for example. It will turn out to look at clients from a different angle. Their profiles can be used as efficiently as possible. CDP helps answer such interesting questions as:
- Is it possible to increase the efficiency of trading with suppliers by improving customer interactions?
- What is the client showing interest in and what are his immediate intentions?
- What value will the e-commerce company’s client give?
- What are the client’s needs and at what stage in the Customer Journey Map is he?
4. Large retailers will actively make and develop their own marketplaces
Due to the intense competition between the big four marketplaces (Wildberries, Ozon, Goods, Beru) and Chinese AliExpress, large retailers will have no choice but to actively create and develop their own marketplaces. Medium and small retailers will go to them to trade.
In turn, large retailers themselves will sell through the country’s main marketplaces, as, for example, 220 Volts or All Instruments do it. Those who have not started the process will be tightened.
5. The popularity of chatbots will continue to grow
Consumers get used to interacting with chat bots. This reduces the number of calls to the company, and in some cases works more efficiently than communicating with managers.
Many large companies have already gained experience using chatbots. With their help, the client can quickly find out the answers to questions, reducing their path. In the new decade, chatbots will become cheaper and smarter, and therefore more common. They will be used as a search engine, it will be possible to predict the wishes of customers.
6. Artificial intelligence will help in personalizing
The personalization request will be stronger. The mechanisms for issuing recommendations are rapidly improving. This means that the choice for customers will be simplified, and repeat sales from retailers in e-commerce will increase.
Online stores need to not only collect customer information but create detailed profiles. Take into account preferences and let customers choose some parameters themselves – like, for example, at a supermarket, where for a while you can choose your favorite product and get a big discount on it.
7. AR will come into everyday life
Augmented Reality will be an integral part of the future of e-commerce, which will help the client with the choice. And if you want to increase the likelihood of a purchase, now there is every chance to stand out among competitors, until everyone has started to use it.
Some major retailers already offer such opportunities. For example, IKEA, who did this first: in their application, you can see how the furniture will look in the apartment.
AR as well as chatbots will become cheaper and easier to manufacture. Therefore, it will be possible not only to view products in the interior, but also to simulate fitting.
So, if a client wants to buy a TV, then give him the opportunity to see how he will look in the room. This will give the client an excellent experience, and the company – a potential profit.
8. Sales evolve into a personalized approach through the Customer Journey Map
Black Friday sales do not last 1-3 days, but 1-2 weeks. Retailers are trying to overtake each other, starting to throw discounts on all customers long before the event, stretching the sales cycle. The consumer feels this and begins to pay less attention.
Customer Journey Map or consumer travel cards will help improve communication with customers and increase sales in e-commerce in a different way. With them, you can identify customer problems and understand how to solve them using their products.
Therefore, CJM will move from the category of business hobbies to the necessary tool, where the contact points of each customer and company segment will be fixed.
9. Caring for the environment will be an important part for companies
Over the past decade, environmental issues have gained momentum and become one of the main topics. Therefore, more and more consumers are beginning to give preference to companies that, for example, use biodegradable materials in packaging.
The trend towards caring for the environment allows us to take a fresh look at familiar things. For example, if it used to be a trend to buy an artificial Christmas tree, rather than a living one, worrying about deforestation, now the paradigm is changing. The production of artificial Christmas trees does much more harm to the environment, and sellers of living trees now regain customers and increase sales. In Europe, we have gone further and generally rent live Christmas trees for rent.
All this contributes to the fact that customers will support those who contribute to reducing harm to nature and honestly talk about their role in society. E-commerce companies will turn green and ultimately it will benefit everyone.
10. Social commerce and, in particular, video content will be even more popular
Social commerce is an additional sales channel for retail, which includes the use of social media. A sales channel where people can get advice, learn about products or services in a visual form, understand the issues that concern them and eventually become customers. This is not just the usual maintenance of the company’s page, for example, on Instagram with the laying out of beautiful photos of goods.
A particular example of social commerce is video content. It already has the best ability to make customers out of leads. A cool and possibly unique approach to video content is the Ukrainian online store Rozetka, which has more than 1 million subscribers on the main YouTube channel. Moreover, they have additional specialized channels, for example, with household appliances and a separate channel with the unpacking of goods, where there are all (!) Goods of the online store. The videos themselves are added to the site to the goods. It turns out that both the site and the YouTube channel work for each other.
Rozetka managed to create a customer community around its content – this is a great example of social commerce. A trend that you need to continue to strive always, mastering all its forms.
11. The number of retailers with signature models will increase
Consumers are beginning to get used to quickly receiving goods or services through online purchases. It feels like going to the shops for everyday and household items less and less. And while traditional retail is striving for online, subscription to products of regular demand will be distributed online.
The development of our own logistics at large ecommerce retailers will only improve the quantity and quality of subscription models.
12. Seamless online payment via smartphones will be an important part of the shopping journey
About 50% of buyers make purchases from their phones. Literally already doing everything on smartphones: make an appointment with the doctor, order food delivery, call a taxi, choose clothes.
When you need to enter bank card details when paying, this creates an extra barrier for customers. Retailers began to understand this. Paying in online stores using Apple Pay, Google Pay and similar payment systems will become commonplace and will be firmly entrenched in ecommerce.
Such payment will not only improve the customer experience and shorten the path for the customer, but will increase the number of prepaid orders.
About the author
Melisa Marzett is a former journalist and a current article writer who is working for findwritingservice and living in Bali at the moment. She enjoys traveling and islands obviously, its nature, people, and the ocean. Along with writing, she is involved in charity work.