What will the future of ecommerce look like? – Part 2

tips  November 23, 2018

Ecommerce is a sector that is constantly changing and upgrading as technologies improve and competition increases. It is becoming increasingly important in this changing sector to stay ahead and respond to trends. The future of ecommerce is uncertain, but it is certain that creating an optimal online shopping experience and customer experience is paramount. Let’s have a look at four other predictions about the future of ecommerce in this second part.

In New retail, logistics, data technology, media and gamification are all merged within the branch of retail

1.            Voice search and buys
The first trend that we will encounter a lot in the coming years is voice search and buys. It is becoming more common to order items online with your voice. Research shows that over 40% of millennials have used voice search before making a purchase online and one in three consumers plan to make a purchase through a voice-controlled device next year. Also, voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Alexa become common place. These products give brands a chance to connect with the consumer in the form of a personal assistant.

2.            A new reality with New Retail
In the store of the future the border between online and offline disappears. The so-called New Retail strategy of Alibaba will gain more ground and will shift from a new idea to a mainstream strategy. In New Retail, shopping is dominated by the digital. It is a retail strategy that involves the integration of offline and online, which offers the ‘onlife’ consumer a seamless experience[1]. In this way retailers get the most out of both offline and online activities. In New retail, logistics, data technology, media and gamification are all merged within the branch of retail. Alibaba’s supermarket Hema is a textbook example of New Retail. In the Hema supermarket technology and data are used to provide a seamless and more efficient shopping experience for consumers.

3.            Automated customer service
The continuous development of artificial intelligence ensures that this is being applied in more and more facets within ecommerce. This applies, for example, to the customer service of online stores. Although many online stores currently use customer service departments, they will switch to automated systems in the future. Here, the consumer’s words are identified by the device. This is then analyzed and this results in an automatically generated answer. It is predicted that in 2020 a quarter of the customer service and support departments will use virtual assistants or chatbot technology[2].

4.            Social selling
The importance of social media is increasing within e-commerce. Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are going to play an increasing role in both communication with customers and in the sale of products and services. This phenomenon is called social selling. Social selling is the strategic use of social media through sales and marketing, to gain customer insight, finding the right customers and building a long-term customer relationship[3]. This form of digitalization is an extension of cold acquisition and provides for bonding with (potential) customers. The following numbers show the importance of social media for selling products and services[4]:

-56% of consumers who follow brands on social media do so to browse products.
-31% of online shoppers say that they use social media to browse items.

When applying social selling in ecommerce, it is important that online stores choose the right platform to sell their products or services, to create meaningful content and that the content connects to the website[5].

[1] Over Ondernemen (2018), De versmelting van offline en online winkelen.
[2] Marketingfacts (2018), Geautomatiseerd klantcontact kan ook best persoonlijk.
[3] Frankwatching (2017), Starten met social selling? In 9 stappen naar een succesvolle strategie.
[4] Conversocial (2017), Is Social Selling the future of ecommerce?
[5] Weeby (2017), How to use social selling to drive ecommerce?
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