Ecommerce is, by definition, a sector of the economy that’s closely linked with technology. After all, people must access the internet to buy and sell on sites such as Amazon, eBay, and others. It makes sense, then, that advances in technology will continue to transform this realm. An obvious example of this is the rapid growth of mobile devices. Not that long ago, most online shopping was done on laptops and desktops. Now, people are more likely to shop using smartphones and tablets. If you’re involved in online selling, it’s important to keep up with the latest developments. Let’s look at some of the major tech trends that are transforming ecommerce right now.
Shopping Directly From Videos
Video has been increasingly dominate on the web, whether we’re looking at YouTube, Facebook or one of the many video sharing sites. New innovations in video, such as 360 video and live streaming, are captivating audiences everywhere. So it’s only natural that ecommerce and video marketing will merge.
For a long time, sellers of both physical and digital products have used videos to educate and sell to consumers. The latest trend is shoppable videos. This is a huge development that lets people go directly from a video to the sales page.
A related development is the convergence of shoppable videos and influencer marketing. This is an especially promising trend for companies that use youth-oriented social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram. Having a celebrity or prominent person in any field promote your product in a video where customers can instantly make a purchase can be a powerful way to motivate impulse buys.
That’s just one possibility, though and we can expect to see more and more businesses large and small utilizing the power of shoppable videos.
Engaging Customers With Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence has come a long way in the last few years. It’s now possible for even small businesses with limited budgets to use this innovative technology. Chatbots, which are a simple form of AI, are getting more and more common on ecommerce sites. This gives businesses an efficient way to instantly engage with website visitors. These are tools that can answer people’s questions, help personalize the shopping experience, and provide guidance at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Another important aspect of AI is the ability for marketers to get more detailed and sophisticated data about their customers. More advanced analytics tools are now feasible for smaller businesses, allowing them to target their customers more precisely.
Advanced Security Measures
Security concerns are one of the major stumbling blocks to the growth of ecommerce. As more and more items are available online, hackers and identity thieves get ever more creative and aggressive. If you want people to feel secure shopping on your ecommerce site, you have to offer them assurances that their information is safe. Some ways to do this include SSL certificates and secure checkout processes. More advanced solutions are needed, however.
If it wasn’t for security concerns, digital wallets would be a lot more popular than they actually are. So far, many consumers are reluctant to use digital wallets due to security concerns. Perhaps the most promising development in ecommerce security is the field of biometrics, a technology that uses the human body to verify identities. This is already familiar in many work environments. Many companies now use fingerprint or facial recognition systems instead of traditional swipe-in type systems for recognizing employees. This is rapidly expanding to the internet and mobile devices. Many smartphones require fingerprints instead of passwords to sign in. Biometric technology is a way to secure ecommerce sites, making it much harder for hackers to steal data.
Multi-Channel and Cross-Channel Promotions
Not that long ago, online marketers felt they had to choose where to focus their efforts based on where their audiences could be found. You might wonder whether it’s best to connect with your customers via Google, Facebook, email, or Twitter. The best answer is, increasingly, “all of the above.” Of course, you still have to make certain decisions about where to allocate your resources. The point is, though, that the most effective promotions reach people across channels and platforms. When people see your message on multiple channels, they get more familiar and comfortable with your brand.
Promoting across channels isn’t a new technology per se. However, it actually depends on many technological innovations. A good example of this is retargeting, which lets you connect with website visitors who might otherwise never return. You can now reach such people via ads or email. Another technology that lets you promote across channels is SMS or text message marketing. Many businesses send their customers text messages to promote products, special sales, and events. Yet these text messages often urge recipients to visit the business’s website or Facebook page or to opt-in to an email list. There are endless ways to cross promote with paid ads, emails, SMS, social media, podcasts, webinars, and more.
Futuristic Delivery Systems
Amazon’s plan to deliver products via drone has gotten lots of publicity, though there are still issues to be worked out before this becomes a reality. Yet, Amazon has successfully sped up delivery times drastically, even using existing technology. It’s done this mainly be building lots of distribution centers and perfecting its logistics. In addition to drones, Amazon is planning other innovative delivery measures such as self-driving trucks.
It remains to be seen how practical these futuristic technologies are for delivering items to consumers. What’s certain, though, is that ever-faster delivery options will come about one way or another. People are no longer content to wait weeks or even too many days to receive their packages. Thus, faster and more creative delivery options are going to be an important part of ecommerce innovation in the coming years.
These are just some of the technological advances that are likely to dominate ecommerce in the near future. Other developments may end up being just as significant. Other possible advances that could be momentous include 3D printing, payments via cryptocurrency, and promoting via virtual and augmented reality. The only thing we can count on is that ecommerce will continue to rapidly evolve in response to increasing demand.