The pace of e-commerce development and new technologies that the industry utilizes is extremely dynamic. Trends and directions to be followed always stand for a topic of interest, as companies selling their goods or services on the Internet should not lose vigilance, trying to keep up with the growing demands of consumers. Which ones should you choose? Which will bring the most profit, which will prove to be a long-term investment? Customer experience orientation, personalization, augmented reality and voice search are the four main trends that Sii Poland experts point to based on observation, experience and collaboration with clients.
More and more people point their attention to online shopping. Time-saving, the ability to compare prices and making transactions at any time form habits for consumers, as a result of which they spend more and more often via such channels. This is a huge opportunity and challenge for online stores because more and more commercial and service companies are moving or developing their services on the Internet. The pace of e-commerce development and new technologies that the industry utilizes is extremely dynamic. Is it worth implementing them, and if so, which ones? First of all, it is worth learning about them and understanding what needs they have grown out of and how consumers benefit from them.
– Our selection of the most important development directions of the industry is based on many internal conversations conducted in our team with experienced specialists, as well as discussions directly with our clients – explains Bartłomiej Kiermasz, Leader of E-commerce Offering in Sii Poland. – The end of the year is particularly conducive to reflections on what development plans for the next year and subsequent years the companies with which we cooperate have. In addition, the autumn-winter period is an intensified time of conferences, at which not only did we listen about the experiences and predictions of current and upcoming trends, but also shared our knowledge by appearing as speakers at the international Meet Magento event in Stockholm and Executive Summit in Warsaw. We also participated in the annual Web Summit conference, which took place at the beginning of November in Lisbon – one of the largest, if not the largest, technology conference in the world. This is an extremely inspiring and valuable source of information. In order to be ahead of the competition, which is what we want for our clients, we must not only have the skills and tools that will provide them, but also be an advisory body looking for the best solutions, also among those that have just been implemented for the first time – adds Bartłomiej Kiermasz. As far as most promising trends are concerned, he lists four: Customer experience, personalization, augmented reality and voice search.
Paying attention to Customer Experience related to each aspect of contact with the product or service provided has been indicated as a trend for several years continuously. The growing awareness of this aspect among a growing number of companies not only from the B2C segment, but also from B2B areas and regardless of the industry, as well as the growing expectations of consumers and business partners mean that maintaining priority for customer experience in the plans of enterprises for the next year will only highlight this trend in 2020.
From the point of view of the e-commerce industry, building a good Customer Experience related to online purchasing will be the main driving force behind the development of technologies supporting online sale in the next year. When making a purchase in an online store, a customer pays attention not only to the ease of use, time and cost of delivery, and the price of the product. More and more often it is also a moment of contact with the brand, which develops a specific opinion on its image for the consumer and builds loyalty. Along with growing competition in this segment, customers expect more and more from brands. Companies that identify these needs quickly and address them in their activities will have the greatest growth potential in the online channel.
– What is important, projects and business initiatives undertaken by our clients operating in the e-commerce channel using new tools and technologies are not designed just for the idea of “following” trends – as Bartłomiej Kiermasz explains the role of trends. – They are to increase positive customer experience in dealing with a given brand, product or service, and as a consequence meet the business goals set for departments and persons responsible for e-commerce. Combining these two elements, we will observe the growing importance of areas and related technologies that affect the formation of desired customer experiences – adds E-commerce Offering Leader in Sii Poland.
The topic of personalization has been around for a long time, but with the development of tools, the question arises about two related issues. First, companies that decide to build tailor-made experiences possess tools which potential is often not fully achieved. According to Sii specialists, this is likely to change in the coming year mainly for two reasons. There is a growing awareness that most customers appreciate experiences tailored to their expectations (and in fact, to predict their expectations) and that it can lead to better business results. Secondly, the possibility of using such tools is increasing – they are increasingly available and the cost of their implementation ceases to be a barrier. Additionally, the pressure of competition on the market pushes them to use even more and more advanced functions.
The second issue is the context of consumer data protection, which are crucial in creating personalized content, products, offers or promotional mechanisms. Personalization itself has the “price” – the data it uses. Information collected by companies selling products or services (or offering these services for “free”, but most often with permission to use very detailed data about us and our behaviour. GDPR, widespread discussions regarding data privacy, issues about who and how uses them and about consumers who more or less consciously leave them on the Internet, are in opposition to the factor necessary for “perfect” personalization.
– The dilemma associated with this was very visible in presentations and discussion panels during the Web Summit conference – says Bartłomiej Kiermasz. – On one hand, large companies presented strategies and activities that allow them to better respond to customer expectations and tailor offers to their needs based on collected data. On the other hand, there were statements of representatives of companies, institutions and associations talking about data protection, an approach to their collection on a large scale and possible – good or bad – use. Opinions of people such as Edward Snowden or Brittany Kaiser were loudly commented during the conference itself and in press reports. The juxtaposition of these opinions with the companies’ desire to provide even more personalized elements to optimize business activities and to provide the best-tailored content can certainly be considered as significantly affecting how the content personalization trend will look next year. This case is worth observing as well as leading the business according to applicable standards that won’t let us lose customers’ trust – he adds while pointing at potential risks.
Thanks to the use of Augmented Reality (AR), i.e. a combination of what we see in reality through the camera of our phone with graphic elements generated digitally and combined with the image from the camera in the phone – another “border” between the real world and digital world fades.
This technology is no longer just a toy for teenagers – it became a tool for increasing sales revenue.
– In our opinion, AR will gain more and more space in online commerce – comments Bartłomiej Kiermasz. – Thanks to the use of AR technologies and tools in the purchasing process, we allow a buyer to “try on” and “see” a selected product. We give the customer the opportunity to virtually “touch” and see the chosen item in his own surrounding when making a purchasing decision – he adds. This applies not only to the fashion industry (clothes, watches, shoes, glasses), but also to all products that are inherent in our environment such as furniture, interior design elements, electronics and household appliances. The use of AR elements in the customer’s shopping in e-commerce channel will definitely increase in the next year.
Voice commerce and voice search
The popularization of voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Google Home is becoming more and more visible. The interference of this access channel in all internet services will have an increasing impact on the e-commerce industry in the coming months. Not only will it increase the frequency of purchase through voice communication, but may also facilitate the very construction of the list of products in the basket, e.g. searching for products by giving their voice description, we can not only refer to the name of the product but also to its characteristics and purposes, e.g. “white men’s sports shoes, size 44”, “lightweight down comforter”, wooden chair with backrest for dining room”.
The use of voice interface will allow us to combine the purchasing process with other activities. It will be possible to search and select a product while being stuck in the morning traffic jam or while walking the dog. – As consumers, we are constantly looking for ways to optimize our activities and make the best use of time. Our natural “interface” that we are using in everyday interactions is speaking, it is highly likely that spoken voice search in the area of e-commerce will become increasingly important. This does not mean that it will completely replace the classic search, but it will be its complement and enrichment – says the Leader of E-commerce Offering in Sii Poland.
Which solutions are worth implementing?
Trends for next year and their predictions appear at the end of each subsequent year – such statements can be found in many places and on many industry portals. So the question arises – what next?
– At E-Commerce Competency Center in Sii, we treat debates on upcoming trends as an inspiring element for specific business activities – explains Bartłomiej Kiermasz. – When discussing with clients about their plans for the next year, about how they want to develop, manage and expand their presence in the e-commerce channel, we collide “trends” with specific business circumstances including the assumed business goal, achievable benefits, time horizon and budget. Adding our experience to the pot, we offer individual analysis together with the client team on how the latest trends and technology can help in business development – he adds.
If you would like to significantly expand your e-commerce channel in the upcoming year, check Sii Poland offer and find the best solutions for your business: https://e-commerce.sii.pl/en.