It’s not enough to just ‘be on the internet’ any more. E-commerce developers are looking to the future, and seeing how they can serve their customers the best possible experience to create a uniquely valuable online shopping opportunity. Basically, how can they create something new and shiny that keeps people coming back for more.
What is changing?
We are expecting to see a move from the business-to-consumer model to a consumer-to-business model; online stores will reflect their interpretation of the customers needs, rather than providing a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the online experience. As AI is further integrated into websites, we can make it increasingly responsive to what we already know about the customer.
Shopping sites like ASOS can already recognise your favourite styles and brands, and recommend your sizing based on what you keep (or return!). Chatbots who can automatically respond to customers with relevant, interesting and helpful advice provide a valuable resource for customers. Whilst some brands are hiring ‘virtual consultants’ who talk to their customers, others are going straight to AI development.
Are we there yet?
No. AI chatbots are still a ‘work in progress’; they are rarely used in an effective or ‘interesting’ way in ecommerce, apart from in customer service (and even then there are still sometimes spectacular fails). Watch this space though. In the meantime, having a good CRM in place which works alongside your e-commerce platform can help your customers to feel personally valued (and ultimately up the time that they spend on your site/increase the items in their basket). It makes the experience feel more seamless, preventing drop off of customers along their purchasing journey. If the customer contacts you, they expect you to know who they are, their order history, and be able to help them accordingly.
What can I do now?
Predictive marketing has been around for a while, but with the additional developments in tracking and analytics, product recommendations and targeted adverts are more specific and effective than ever before. Localisation means that personalised adverts can be delivered on a more ‘local’ scale; if someone is searching for your service in the local area, it would be rather timely if you popped up!
Ultimately, you want to adapt your e-commerce alongside your customer base. Understand where the market is going and stay ahead of the curve. With industry giants like Amazon and Google taking over the generalised product sphere, the personal touch will become increasingly pivotal to success.
Are you making the most of your e-commerce site? Or would you like to find out more about the future of personal shopping? Get in touch with the Web Monkey team.