Guest post by Amanda Peterson at Enlightened Digital
During the past 25 years, eCommerce has grown from the first online transaction ever — the purchase of a Sting CD — to one of the largest revenue channels in the world. In fact, Statista predicts global eCommerce sales will reach $4.88 trillion by 2021, with an estimated 2.14 billion digital buyers. As the eCommerce market continues to grow, it’s imperative businesses keep up with the trends to stay relevant with consumers. Below are five of the most important trends to look for in the coming months.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Though AI’s applications in the eCommerce sector are still being explored, the technology has already begun to have a major impact on the brands employing it. The use of an autonomous database allows for self-regulated maintenance, and such databases experience almost no downtime each month. Not only does this ensure users have constant access to business data, it also frees up time for administrators to focus on other important tasks.
AI’s machine learning capabilities can be used to build personalized consumer profiles and provide a truly customized experience. AI can assess customers based on previous buying patterns and preferences and can even remember different users’ information for the next time they visit.
eCommerce AI tools can gather and sift through massive amounts of data quickly, helping make the sales funnel more efficient and allowing for more well-informed sales and marketing decisions. Automated platforms can also manage administrative and customer service tasks through virtual assistants in the form of chatbots.
Chatbots are one of the fastest growing technologies in the eCommerce field, and their uses are only expanding. Chatbots can handle nearly any form of customer interaction, from service enquiries, to product recommendations. They can help create better customer relationships, drive engagement, and even increase sales.
In fact, 51 percent of customers are more likely to purchase through a company with live chat according to one study. 47 percent of consumers were even open to buying items directly through a chatbot. Not only are customers comfortable with the use of chatbots in eCommerce, but it seems they may even prefer it.
Though chatbots are incredibly useful to consumers who use them, they may be even more useful to the businesses that employ them. Chatbots can handle the time consuming day-to-day organizational tasks and leave more time for employees to focus on driving the business forward. Bots can also gather customer information through conversation and create actionable insights for a business.
In the eCommerce world, one of the biggest hurdles is moving customers from browsing and adding items to their carts, to actually completing the checkout process. The rate of cart abandonment in online shopping ranges from 60 to 80 percent, costing businesses up to $4.6 trillion per year in lost sales. To alleviate this pain point, expect to see more autofill technologies in checkout procedures.
A too-complicated checkout process is among the top reasons for cart abandonment. According to Baynard, checkout optimization can recover up to $260 billion. One of the best ways to speed up the process? Autofill. Consumers know their addresses by heart, but only a small percentage know their credit card information without having to look, and even fewer want to type it all in, especially on their phones.
Streamlining the checkout process is all about cutting down the time and effort it takes to complete a purchase. Businesses that integrate autofill services like Fillr into their apps create a fast, seamless checkout process. Customer information is automatically entered into the required fields with one click. Customers who use Fillr in the checkout process are 2.2 times more likely to complete a sale and spend nearly 20 percent more.
Drop shipping is a form of supply chain management in which a business doesn’t actually stock the items they sell but instead acts as a middle-entity between the manufacturer and the customer. Once an eCommerce store gets a purchase, it sends the customer and shipping information to a supplier, who then ships individual orders.
This trend is especially useful for businesses just starting out or with low start-up capital. Drop shipping eliminates the need to store inventory because companies only buy the product from the manufacturer once it’s been purchased by a customer. Oftentimes, companies that use drop shipping receive an agreed-upon percentage of each sale from the supplier.
A 2018 State of the Merchant Ecommerce Report found 16.4 percent of surveyed companies were using drop shipping, and the businesses employing this model reported an average growth of 32.7 percent in revenue. Though this sales method is often used for companies who need to lower overhead costs, it has also been adopted by larger companies like The Home Depot and Macy’s.
Direct to Consumer (DTC)
Direct-to-consumer brands are also rapidly growing in the eCommerce sector. These companies handle every aspect of their businesses, from manufacturing, to sales and distribution. Brands like Warby Parker and Away operate on a fully DTC platform, and other large brands are beginning to follow suit.
Nike, for example, has seen the benefit to shying away from relying on middle-entities and launched Nike Direct. This division offers more personalized, one-to-one campaigns, selling directly to customers rather than using third-party companies for sales and marketing. In 2018, 29 percent of Nike’s global sales came through their DTC channels.
The direct-to-consumer route eliminates the need for outside resources for everything from manufacturing to advertising. This gives brands more control over each aspect of their products while creating a closer relationship with customers. Though DTC models have a strong appeal, they also require a lot of time, money, and specialized personnel.
The eCommerce market has grown significantly since its inception and is only continuing to grow. With the innovations moving onto the scene, it’s important for businesses to stay on top of the trends transforming the industry in order to keep up with the competition.
Fillr has developed ‘Autofill as a Service’, the world’s most intelligent and accurate autofill that seamlessly integrates into your app. Contact us today to find out how our technology can help your customers to transact faster and more effectively across millions of merchants sites, boosting your conversions and revenue. Fillr is powering transactions on the world's top ecommerce and meta search apps, software platforms and phone manufacturers.