In the fickle world of online commerce, the only thing you can ever truly rely on is change:
Change in how online brands are expected to interact with consumers, change in the technologies and trends that digital experiences are built on, change in how consumers behave, change in what customers want, and change in the expectations for businesses to react to these changes more and more quickly.
With the never-ending stream of new digital trends, services, and user needs and wants, today’s online retailers are almost expected to innovate their site’s technology in ‘real time’ to meet the demands of their users. In fact, one of the biggest challenges for online retailers today has nothing to do with driving sales or finding customers— it’s keeping up with new technology and industry standards.
2023 brought with it a slew of new technologies that are designed to help online businesses stay ahead of consumer demands and the competition. Smart businesses are regularly taking all these trends and technologies into account and continuously updating their digital presence.
To keep up, ask yourself these key questions:
- When was the last time you updated your ecommerce experience?
- Have you implemented any new technologies in the CX space (e.g., AI)?
- Do you offer a personalized / tailored experience?
- What are your competitors doing?
Reflecting on where you are today is the first step towards creating the innovative ecommerce experience that your consumers expect tomorrow.
Customer Experience and Human Experience
A recent PWC survey showed that 73% of consumers ranked customer experiences (CX) and digital ‘human experiences’ (HX) as two of the most important factors in their purchasing decisions – only price and product quality were ranked higher. CX and HX work together to engage with consumers at every touchpoint with the brand or service. Today, consumers expect the best of both worlds: a human-centered experience that makes every interaction seamless, enjoyable, and meaningful. Meeting this demand can drive up business. According to a recent Forbes study,
- 43% of consumers would pay more for better convenience.
- 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming online experience.
- 40% of consumers would likely pay a 16% price premium for a great customer experience.
Excellent CX and HX helps foster not only a better relationship between company and consumer, but also encourages more engagement and higher sales.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
To stay on top of CX and HX expectations in 2023, top brands are focusing on personalization, customization, and analytic-driven digital experiences – often supported by Artificial Intelligence (AI). According to Forbes research, 83% of surveyed businesses said implementing AI solutions is a strategic priority for their business. AI-driven tools, such as chatbots, content creators, natural language processors, robotic process automations, and rule-based expert systems, are being implemented to deliver the very best and latest in the user experiences consumers have come to expect.
While we know that AI machine learning is the next ‘big thing’ to change the digital world, this technology requires very high-quality data and analytics to work. Reworking your ecommerce platform’s data points to better serve AI/ML search engines will help your site get ahead in the next level of SEO. ‘Data labeling’ and ‘ranking algorithms’ needs to be a key focus in your digital strategy to get the very most from AI/ML.
Conversational UI & Chatbots
Conversational UI, such as voice interfaces and chatbots, is a fast and convenient way to fill the human interaction gap common to many online experiences. With the advent of AI-powered language processing, today’s chatbots can seamlessly emulate natural human conversation. From purchasing to technical assistance, dedicated plugins for your website give customers more personal, intimate and “human” support throughout their eCommerce experience.
Dynamic Pricing and Price Negotiation
Research showed that in 2021, 17% of US and European ecommerce companies planned on implementing dynamic pricing — while 21% of ecommerce businesses surveyed were already using dynamic pricing. Dynamic pricing lets vendors adjust their product and service pricing to better meet consumer demand and market needs in ‘real time’.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality (AR) is one manifestation of visual commerce that’s becoming increasingly popular; global retailer AR spending is expected to surpass $4B in 2023. Integrating AR functionality into ecommerce websites can create some of the most immersive shopping experiences available to online customers.
It should come as no surprise that social media plays a huge role in driving today’s ecommerce sales. Social media platforms are rapidly becoming the preferred search tool for younger generations. According to ‘The Future of Commerce’ Gen Z consumers use TikTok more than Google to find products. Top companies are reevaluating their social media strategies and the platforms they use to reach and engage with new customers.
Many of the best-in-class ecommerce platforms, such as Adobe and Shopify’s new ‘Commerce Components’, are taking their cues from this rapidly changing ecosystem of digital experiences. In developing bespoke, headless, composable tech-stacks, they are helping digital enterprise retail shops stay ahead of consumer expectations and demands. If you’re not already ahead of these trends— you’re already behind.