Amazon turned the grand old age of 23 last year.
In the two decades since its digital birth, it has quickly become a key player in the eCommerce world and commands 37% of the market - a number that’s set to rise to 50% in the next
But really, in the grand scheme of things, 23 isn’t that old, is it? Particularly when you look at it in tandem with the lengthy and entrenched history of the commerce world as a whole, Amazon (and the eCommerce world in general) is still just a tiny
toddler thundering around.
And, despite its drastic advances over the years (drone service, anyone?!), there are still huge leaps and bounds for the eCommerce world to take, some of which it’s tentatively started dipping its toes into recently.
We’re talking automation and personalisation but, more than that, the future of the eCommerce world revolves around
experiences rather than one-time purchases as consumers clamour to create connections with the brands they love best.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what’s hot now and what’s set to get hotter in the next few months.
1. Cognitive Commerce
You’ve probably heard of
artificial intelligence; you might even know of some scenarios where eCommerce giants are integrating its futuristic powers.
But have you heard of cognitive commerce (sometimes known as cognitive computing)?
The key difference here is that cognitive commerce unites a human and a machine, giving humanity a chance to collaborate with technology to create even more powerful experiences.
You might be thinking, “Oh yeah, sure! That’s just a fancy word for personalisation, right?”
Well, yes and no.
Cognitive commerce is more than just personalisation; it goes one step further and
allows digital sellers to optimize their processes using unique touchpoints that are original to each and every customer.
Today, eCommerce has been predominantly affected by a few key cognitive pursuits. We’re talking:
- Being able to predict future demand for a specific product
- Generating the right product recommendations for upsells
- Optimising prices according to competitors and customer behaviour
- Analysing spending trends and shopper history to fuel consumer journeys
Cognitive technologies are more intuitive than simple personalisation techniques and, because they have the coveted ability to gather richer customer data,
94% of retail executives already plan to invest in them in the not-too-distant future.
2. We’re About to Go Global
Despite the new landscape of the world in the digitally-connected age, global eCommerce is still in its very early infancy.
Because every country has its own unique sets of restraints and regulations to work around - take Nigeria, for example, where
there is a
huge demand for US products, but it’s a risky order to fulfill because of local rules.
Roadblocks like this have stopped eCommerce stores from venturing too far, but now that digital products are becoming bigger and bigger, it’s easier than ever to monopolise new and emerging markets all over the world.
Online sellers are starting to realising the mammoth amount of opportunities out there and are conjuring up creative ways to work around regulations.
And, as digital products become an increasingly larger part of the eCommerce world, the amount of businesses that operate on a global scale will drastically increase, making localised rules and regulations easier to contend with.
3. The Mobile Minded Generation
“You’ve got to be mobile friendly!”
“Mobile is everything!”
These brash statements convey the importance of mobile-friendly eCommerce stores in the current shopping landscape.
But in the future, it’ll be more than simply having a website that scales appropriately depending on the device it’s being used on.
Surprisingly enough - and given the prevalence of statements like the two listed above - retailers are still struggling to figure out the relatively new arena of mobile shopping.
However, with the need to diversify across channels, and with the knowledge that the majority of consumers spend a
huge portion of their day on their mobiles, it’s increasingly vital that online sellers focus on mobile experiences within their stores.
Consumers are no longer just using their handheld devices to browse cat videos on YouTube or scroll endlessly through trending Twitter hashtags, they’re also using them to make purchases -
in the UK alone, mobile spending tripled in the first half of 2017.
Basically: mobile is a must-have.
4. Native Social-Selling
You’ve probably seen those Facebook ads that have a little “buy now” button tacked to the bottom of the image. While this might be a relatively new feature, the simple act of natively buying on social media sites is opening up a huge amount of possibilities
for online sellers.
According to a report by Flurry,
the average adult spend a whopping five hours a day on their devices, with 50% of that spent on social media sites and messaging apps.
These are the places where consumers are actively hanging out in their lunch breaks, when they wait for the bus, and at any other moments throughout the day when they feel the need to do something with their hands.
But they’re not just tirelessly scrolling; a good portion of them are buying, too.
In fact, 18.2% of people in the report claimed that they had bought products directly through social media - be it via the little “buy button” at the bottom of a Facebook ad or through a direct link on Instagram.
And that number is set to increase as early adopters (a.k.a. Those people who are happy to carry out small screen shopping) validate the experience and show more hesitant shoppers that it’s a great way to buy on the go.
5. The Rise of the Micro-Moment
Consumers are more sceptical of marketing than ever before (it’s why
the number of adblockers installed has increased dramatically over the past few years), and one-size-fits-all campaigns are no longer the “right thing to do” as people look for more personal shopping experiences.
Cue the rise of the micro-moment, which include things like:
- Decisions made quickly while purchasing
- Upsells that come at just the right time
- A need to try out new things in relatively routine moments
Let’s simplify it for a moment.
Instead of running out the same, static campaign to every single potential customer, micro-moments help consumers pick and choose their own journey.
They might land on a specific ad served to them through a specific platform and click through to a landing page that promotes a particular offer that’s only available on that page. Then they might receive an email with a link inviting them to share their
Each of these “moments” is determined by the previous one, and they work like building blocks to create a complete customer journey that’s personalised to each consumer’s actions.
The Future of eCommerce is Here
Look at how far Amazon has come in 23 years.
This is a marker for what’s to come, and we can expect things to snowball even faster than they have in the past two decades thanks to the abundance of new tech that’s emerging every day.
These trends are already happening in the digital selling world, and it’s only a matter of time before they become the norm.
Brands that want to stay ahead of the game should get on board now or risk being left behind as a new wave of Amazons come from nowhere and take over the eCommerce landscape.
Read more about this year`s trends in eCommerce and payments in our article series (Part 1 and
Part 2) on the G2A PAY blog.