If online shopping has become a regular part of your buying experience, you’re not alone! The global ecommerce market has surpassed $3 trillion in 2019 and is projected to grow to over $6 trillion by 2022.
As convenient as online shopping already is, you should know that software developers at a wide range of companies are working on new ways to make the experience even easier and more satisfying for you. Here are some exciting ecommerce trends to be on the lookout for in the coming months.
Voice Shopping with Smart Speaker Devices
Researchers expect huge growth in consumer shopping using smart speaker devices. They estimate that the percentage of U.S. smart speaker owners making voice purchases will grow from 13% and $2 billion in 2017 to 55% and $4 billion in 2022.
Voice shopping offers an easy, hands-free option to make purchases, especially after you’ve selected your products. The lack of visuals makes voice shopping less useful for browsing but companies are working to improve that process by adapting search keywords and creating more detailed product descriptions to help you find what you want.
Mobile Shopping and Cashless Transactions
As ecommerce has grown, the number of purchases transacted on mobile devices has exploded. Analysts project that 73% of ecommerce sales will take place on mobile devices by 2021. Younger generations are especially comfortable buying on their phones, suggesting even more growth in the future.
Online merchants have recognized this trend, so you should be finding more online stores optimized for easy mobile use. Mobile devices are also useful tools for browsing and researching products prior to making purchases.
This mobile trend includes an increasing number of cashless transactions. Digital wallets offer easy ways to pay for online purchases. The cashless approach has expanded beyond online shopping to include other services like food delivery and ride sharing.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
If you’ve ever worried about not being able to see products firsthand when shopping online, then Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology may provide some help. AR overlays digital images on top of real-world surroundings to create a simulated physical shopping experience online. VR utilizes headsets to put you into a virtual shopping world, similar to a video game.
These technologies allow you to test and explore products before buying them, from the comfort of your home. This added step can help you make smarter choices when buying online, reducing the likelihood of returns. AR and VR technologies offer the opportunity to:
– Place furniture or other household items around your simulated home to see how they fit into the space available and how they coordinate with what you already have, as with the IKEA Place app
– “Try on” clothing items to visualize how you look wearing them and how they match what you already own, as with the Amazon virtual dressing room
– Visit a virtual showroom to examine products as if you were there in person
Personalization Through Artificial Intelligence
As convenient as online shopping is, it can lack the personal touch of shopping in stores. When you buy in person, you can get your questions answered before buying something and receive customized product recommendations from employees. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is allowing companies to replicate that personal experience in an online setting.
A popular form of AI in e-commerce is chatbots, which are computer programs that “learn” how to carry on human conversations. Chatbots can respond quickly and accurately to your product inquiries and can help you find the products that are right for you.
Companies are also using AI to offer discounts, communications, and marketing campaigns designed specifically for you.
Online subscription services allow you to receive products on a scheduled repeat basis, so you don’t have to remember to re-order. When you sign up for a subscription, you can relax and know you’ll never run out or have to pay extra for rush shipping because you forgot to order in time. Subscriptions are especially common with products such as:
– Pet food
– Beauty and skincare products
– Baby products
– Cleaning supplies
In addition to offering convenience and time-saving benefits, subscription services can introduce you to samples of new products you might like, based on your purchasing history.
Social Media Platforms
If you’re like many people, you spend a fair bit of time on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, staying in touch with friends and family and following along with the activities of your favorite celebrities. These platforms are now becoming great places to discover new brands and products that might interest you. Companies are starting to link their online stores to social media platforms, to make purchasing even easier and more streamlined. Look for additional social media buying options like “Buy” buttons within social media posts, “shoppable” stories and posts, and ads within the social platforms.
Ecommerce is here to stay but it will continue to evolve and develop as companies figure out more ways to improve it. Through innovations like AR, personalization, voice shopping, mobile payment options, subscription services, and social media connections, online shopping is poised to provide you with an ever richer and more satisfying shopping experience.