As unbelievable as it might appear, the end of the year is upon us again. And while it is a terrific time to reflect on all of the successes of the past couple of months, it is also an important time to get ready for the months ahead.
Odds are you’ve been doing plenty of things right in 2019, but with a new year comes new tendencies. Even though you might not be falling behind however, many businesses have been inventing new ways to place themselves ahead of their competition.
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They say hindsight is 20/20, but we would like to offer you a bit of foresight into what you can expect for 2020. Listed below are our predictions on emerging trends that ecommerce businesses should consider adopting in the year ahead:
1. Buy Now, Pay Later
Layaway might have been laid to rest, but it doesn’t mean shoppers are not searching for similar alternatives for spaced out payments. Today’s customers want to get their purchases immediately, even if they can not cover it in full until afterwards. Meanwhile, brands are realizing that flexible payment methods help reduce abandoned cart prices.
Services such as Afterpay, Affirm, and Klarna have been gaining traction because they function as a win-win — shoppers can pay for the things they would like to take home in installments, and brands have a tool for acquiring customers that might have otherwise determined the purchase was too costly.
This option will not make sense for every company, but those who sell products with higher price points are going to want to think about executing a buy now, pay later alternative as part of the checkout procedure since these services continue to popularize.
2. Social Media Shopping
Most contemporary brands are already on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and perhaps some other social networking channels posting updates and pictures. However, not every brand is using social media to produce sales right from the app.
Consumers are constantly looking towards social websites to find out what trusted peers, actors, and influencers are wearing and having to notify their own purchases, making these stations a gold mine for conversion. When 30 percent of customers say they’d make purchases through Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat, theses channels shouldn’t be overlooked in the new year, particularly as they continue to roll out new features like in-app checkout to make shopping easier and more convenient for consumers.
So long as ecommerce companies guarantee a smooth omnichannel experience across these platforms and on their site, they can anticipate social networking shopping to be a significant differentiator in both brand awareness and buyer conversion.
3. Stakeholder Experience
While we endlessly concentrate our discussions on the client experience in ecommerce (and for good reason) there is another experience which shouldn’t be so readily disregarded — the experience of all stakeholders engaged with the customer journey.
Today’s customers have buying journeys with many touchpoints, particularly when they’re thinking of a product or brand they have never purchased from before.
For instance, imagine somebody who wants to buy a new washing machine or fridge. They may conduct research online and on site, in addition to through third party providers like Home Depot before making their final choice. However, their customer journey does not stop there. Then they must work not just with the manufacturer or distributor to be certain their new product is sent and delivered, but with builders to make sure it’s installed and functioning properly.
In cases like this, there are far more stakeholders than just the consumer and the brand. The businesses that have the ability to harness the information supplied at each of those touchpoints in one, unified-branded experience, arm their stakeholders with this crucial information, and make seamless conversation for the entirety of this purchasing trip is going to get an edge up in every customer engagement.
4. Live Chat
In an age where customer service and support are getting to be essential to a positive customer experience, companies need to make their teams available to shoppers at any point in their journey, whether they are wondering whether a sold out merchandise will be restocked, or even if they are checking on a lost order.
Live chat provides customers with immediate access to the most people that could help them when they are on the fence with a purchase, or deciding if they would like to make another. When 51 percent of customers are more inclined to buy from a company that provides live chat, ecommerce stores will need to make certain that their customer service teams are available on the internet, where clients are already shopping, and reacting quickly.
Businesses that just provide numbers that lead clients to robot answering machines and email contacts with long wait times will also watch their retention and acquisition numbers plummet as shoppers find more responsive, human brands to participate with.
The importance of personalization in ecommerce advertising is not anything new, but some organizations are taking it a step farther by producing products based on each customer’s individual preferences.
Brands such as Curology, Care/of, and Prose use online quizzes to curate one-of-a-kind results for each client. This hyper-personalization means that every individual is getting something that’s made especially for them. This is particularly appealing when it comes to health, beauty, and health where factors such as stress and environment can influence what products best fit your lifestyle.
However, even when you’re outside this business or do not have the capacity to individualize the product to each and every shopper, companies that find ways to personalize the customer experience through interactive content such as quizzes and product personalization pages are also those actively impacting repeat purchases and customer loyalty in the next few years.
6. AR and VR
While many consumers are attracted to online shopping because of the convenience of not having to leave their home to receive their errands done, many are also deterred by the fact that you can not really touch products as you would in-store.
Particularly when browsing new brands that clients have not built up confidence in yet, many may be hesitant to make a first purchase when they do not understand how the item will match or look in real life. In actuality, not being able to see, touch, or try on things is your top reason consumers decide to shop in physical shops versus online.
This of course can make an obstacle as soon as your brand works primarily or entirely via ecommerce.
In addition, it is precisely why firms like Wayfair, Warby Parker, and Sephora have been experimenting with using virtual and augmented reality (AR and VR) to level up their online experience. As more online brands look for ways to improve conversion while also reducing returns and exchanges, they will start looking to AR and VR to provide customers the ability to try before they buy.
The world of ecommerce moves quickly, and the standard is continually changing in regards to what approaches attract, convert, and retain customers best.
As you shouldn’t embrace every fashion you see just because it is working for a different brand, you need to pay attention. Evaluate whether these strategies would make sense for your distinctive business and fit in the work you are already doing.
As 2020 approaches, now is the time to get a head start on the year ahead by taking a closer look at ways to enhance the customer experience.
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