Transforming eCommerce, one customer experience at a time

Living in a digital age, an eCommerce website is no longer a luxury or sign of forward thinking, but rather a necessity for businesses, big or small, global or local. If you have a business and don’t have an eCommerce website, you are less likely to see maximum growth in the near future. Your website will be the center of your company`s online presence. By its very nature however, ecommerce is a constantly evolving beast anchored in a fiercely competitive space and those wanting to get ahead in the market need to have their finger on the pulse. Consumers are becoming more demanding and businesses / web development companies in Sri Lanka need to be able to satisfy their appetite for personalization in a convenient and efficient manner. According to eCommerce Statistics, shockingly, 68% of shoppers abandon their carts before completing their intended purchase[1]. This indicates that retailers need to do a lot more to convince their customers to follow through with their purchase items when it’s on an online platform. Enhancing the user experience, improving conversion rates and reducing card abandonment is critical for the success of eCommerce and it is aided by the heavy influx of technological innovations creating smarter ecommerce websites.

Trends are important to take note of, and those who are able to visualize businesses in the light of these trends will lead to further success. This article will help identify the essential elements of eCommerce Web Development Strategy and the right steps you need to take maximize your company’s growth in the near future.

Define your goals

It is critical that your company takes time to properly define goals and strategies from the very beginning. This will be used as the blueprint for all the decisions made for your business moving forward. It should outline your target market, what services you offer and what expertise and capabilities you need to serve your chosen market. It will guide you to you make the right decisions in order for the company to avoid ambiguity whilst achieving its short-term and
long-term goals.

Make it happen

Once your strategy is in place and everyone knows what the right direction is in order to achieve your short-term and long-term goals, your next step is to start making things happen. The execution stage is often where most businesses fail because clear goals are not set by the management in early stages. It is vital that all members in your team have a clear sense of their individual duties and deadlines whilst working towards a company’s overall agenda. Thus, when you set organizational goals for your team members, we can’t stress the importance of having a productive method to measure the success of each step and if set goals are being met.

Spotlight your innovation

Online shopping is not groundbreakingly new, however at the average online cart abandonment rate of 68% among online shoppers, eCommerce sites are looking at massive potential loses. So how should you stay ahead of these stats? by spotlighting the value of your innovation to the market. Uniqueness is what you’re after thus it’s essential you cultivate and bring attention to it. In order for you to showcase your innovation, you must first have a comprehensive understanding of the market, your competitors and your customer’s preferences. Then use this information to determine your target audience better, the problem you set out to solve and the unique reason why your product or service is better than whatever is currently available in the market.

eCommerce in the face of Innovation

Personalize every experience

When it comes to eCommerce, everything boils down to your ability to personalize and contextualize every experience for your customers. This is only possible when you incorporate relevant new technologies to stay ahead of the curve. With eCommerce, consumers tend to be less forgiving and leave no room for second chances, thus it’s vital you deliver on your promises efficiently and seamlessly as possible.

Listed below are few ways we think you can boost personalization and beat the current conversion rate stats.

  1. Augmented and Virtual Reality:  CCS insights estimates that by 2019, 24 million VR devices will be sold globally. From big businesses to entrepreneurs, everyone’s backing the same horse because consumers are no longer willing to buy without testing it first. Retailers can look to build virtual showrooms or virtual stores to build trust with the buyers. These platforms offer customers a virtual experience that is in par with heading out to a physical whilst being in the comfort of your own home.

    A great example of a company adding Virtual Reality to their roster to help with their conversion rates is Lowe’s Holoroom[2]. It is essentially a virtual showroom, where users are able to see and engage with a virtually generated version of their home and see how their home could look when with various items or products available at Lowe’s. This immersive experience allows consumers to be spatially aware of how various products would work as one in certain parts of their own home. The core idea here is that consumers would get a far more immersive shopping experience.  They are also free to browse the virtual products in an almost identical way as they would if they were in a physical store, bridging the gap between online and instore shopping experiences.

  2. Artificial Intelligence: AI has imbedded itself into many different aspects of our lives. From the growing number of self-checkout cash registers to chatbots on eCommerce websites; artificial intelligence is just about everywhere when it comes to our shopping experiences as well. AI technology gives businesses a competitive edge whilst also helping businesses get to know their audience better and customizing experiences for each consumer. A great example of a business using AI to help customer’s conveniently find things online is, Pinterest. Their recent update for its Chrome extension allows users to search for products using any photograph online. [3] Which means if you see an image of a backpack you like on Amazon.com, you could use the extension to browse similar backpacks from Pinterest without ever leaving Amazon’s website.

    Chatbots are also another great example of businesses using AI to build individual experiences. Chatbots can actively take on some of the important responsibilities that come with running an online business: automating order processes and providing real time customer service around the clock.

  3. Upgrading your eCommerce Platform Capabilities: It’s important you have a team to monitor technological and market trends to ensure your eCommerce platform is up-to-date in order to outshine your competition and improve conversions.

Rise of Voice Commerce

We are predicting that this year will be the year voice commerce really picks up, especially as we begin to see behaviors and commercial infrastructures being established around voice assistants. A recent study found out that we are 85% more likely to buy based on virtual assistant’s voice. Merchants who get on board with voice commerce trends are more likely to outshine their competition and help create a more convenient experience for their users.

Smarter Payment Processing

Though voice commerce is the new kid on the block, digital wallets have paid their dues. Over the years we have also noticed that when it comes to checkout, customers want to be in the driver’s seat when deciding on how they want to pay for the purchase. Traditional tedious billing methods are quickly being outshined by digital wallets, cryptocurrency, and smart payment buttons. Smart payment processing solutions that not only offer ease of use, but also security like PayPal, Google Pay and Apple Pay are far more convenient for users than billing forms, thus enhancing the customer’s experience on an eCommerce platform. Merchants who incorporate these solutions are likely to see improvements in eCommerce conversion rate optimization.

Physical Store Heatmaps

Heatmaps give retail store owners the pinpoint data they need to enhance their store’s design. It shows hot and cold zones throughout the store, depicting what areas of the store were visited and/or dwelt in. From the heat map, owners can see their shoppers’ behaviors down to square inches more in-depth than before. It is interesting to see technological advances moving beyond eCommerce storefront and into operational functions, enabling a more cost-effective running of the store.

Conclusion

So many people are already online shoppers, but we are also noticing how unforgiving they can be when they don’t experience a seamless digital journey. Both retailers and digitally native eCommerce companies need to ensure they are in a position to incorporate new technological advances into their everyday customer service offerings if they want to keep up with their competition. Whilst some of the technologies discussed above are becoming the norm of eCommerce (AI, VR), others are becoming the future of eCommerce such as Voice and Heatmaps. Those wanting to get ahead in the market need to keep an eye out for trends and be early adopters with relevant advances. Consumers are definitely becoming more and more demanding and businesses do not get a second chance to satisfy their appetite for personalization when they are online shopping. We hope these essential elements discussed in this article will help you develop eCommerce strategies to maximize your company’s growth in the near future. Happy transforming!

The article has been written by the EFutures team(www.efuturesworld.com).

This information is our opinion, through our experience in the industry and other content sources.

If you would like to contact us, please email @Ricky.