Online retail is evolving at lightspeed with new and better technology arriving seemingly daily. Here, we take a look at innovations that will get better, faster and more powerful in 2016.
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Personalisation, the growth of mCommerce, real-time support and the importance of analytics will all play a part in improving conversions and profits for retailers in 2016.
That's the view of online retail consultancy and software business, Moxie. Here are a few more predictions for the coming year:
Context is everything
Much is made of the importance of personalisation in eCommerce. While having a site remember your preferences (if you are a member or registered) is useful, and can save the customer time and effort, the next step in meeting the ever-changing demands of the consumer is to provide contextual engagement.
By providing a context-based online experience, businesses can be sure that customers don’t have to be registered or logged into a site to be given relevant information or content.
Now, with contextual engagement technology brands can map customers’ journeys, anticipating their needs and providing shoppers with tailored, relevant information at the right time, ensuring a more convenient online shopping experience.
Proactive engagement is the new black
Online shopping often suffers from comparisons with the in-store experience as, unlike your favourite high street shop, an online retailer has no-one to greet you when you enter, no one to signal to when you have a question and no one to help you when you encounter a problem (like a voucher code not working or being stuck in an item of clothing that may have been a little too tight).
The majority of online customer interactions take place after something has gone wrong, unlike in-store where assistants can witness a shopper’s struggles and act accordingly. As a result, online conversion rates are much lower than in-store conversion rates, 1 to 3 percent versus 20 to 30 percent.
Customer service online is set to get a boost
This will change in 2016, where online retailers instead will actively engage consumers on product pages, helping to guide them through the customer journey. We’re already seeing brands, like Shinola, engaging more customers and as a result, seeing greater conversion rates.
By offering engagement tools such as live chat and sharing relevant information with customers to provide immediate assistance when shoppers encounter a problem, retailers can unlock greater conversion rates themselves.
mCommerce will grow
As consumers grow increasingly reliant on their mobile devices for everything from booking restaurants to online shopping, businesses will adapt their models to address this growing trend.
Now, if a brand isn’t able to reach and interact with their customers via smartphone or tablet, they are leaving a great many customers unengaged. Ensuring that support is offered on mobile devices is paramount to success, as retailers look to guide customers through their online shopping experience regardless of device.
If you can't connect with customers through their phones then you're losing sales
American Eagle, for example, is a brand whose target audience is 15 to 25 year olds, a highly mobile group. Since adding live chat on mobile, American Eagle discovered that more than half of the chats were related to sales.
By being able to address these questions, sales should improve and conversion rates will increase. Mobile will become even more important as a sales channel in the coming years.
Actionable, real-time analytics will play a bigger part in identifying immediate sales opportunities
Unlike traditional analytics which provide valuable insights on historical data, real-time analytics can offer immediate insight into customer transactions.
For example, when a customer inputs a voucher code at checkout which may have expired or included a typo, this can be flagged to the live chat team who can remedy the issue or provide a new code, securing the sale. These kinds of real-time analytical tools will see wider deployment and help to drive increased conversions in 2016.