The Future Of Online Shopping & How E-com Trends Are Shaping New Retail
<p><strong><em><u>Increase In Direct Sales From Manufacturing Brands To Consumers</u></em> - </strong>With the kind of rapid growth in demand online stores are experiencing in recent years, it was expected that online sales will at least account for 16.1% of entire retail sales. But as the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown helped e-commerce stores to appear as saviors for people's essential needs, presently this projection can be a few times more. With online retail showing lucrative growth and profitability, an increasing number of product brands are trying to take the opportunity of selling their products directly to customers instead of relying on multi-brand retail stores. This is going to expand the overall e-commerce sector creating more opportunities for direct retail to consumers. Three key benefits that have become the impetus for direct sales to customers include establishing direct customer relationships, allowing personalization in products and services to satisfy customers, and thereby boosting sales and collecting direct customer data for more informed decision making.</p><p><strong><em><u>The Rise of Small, Local and Private Label Brands</u></em> - </strong>The increasing popularity of online stores and mobile stores also gave rise to another trend. Now, a lot of small, local, and often personally owned or household products are making the rounds of sales across stores. Widely dubbed as private label brands, they constitute a significant portion of online sales across major e-commerce stores. Since customers are more price-conscious and often like to try local delicacies and items with slightly different attributes and benefits uncommon with the products of legacy manufacturers, these private-label brands are becoming tremendously successful. With the rise of these private-label brands, brand loyalty is often taking a backseat creating a level playing field for big and small local brands. The emergence of direct sales from manufacturers to consumers is further fueling this trend.</p><p><strong><em><u>Data-Driven Marketing and Analytics-Based Strategy</u></em> - </strong>Online stores in many markets are facing stiff competition since major players such as Amazon and Walmart are still holding the biggest market share while the rest competes for the share of the leftover market pie. Naturally, in business operation, strategy, and marketing they need to embrace measures and tactics of big brands to stay competitive and hold on to its market share. This is why data-driven marketing and using data analytics for strategy building remains so important for all e-commerce brands. Since every major e-commerce store is using customer data analytics for pushing growth, you cannot leave this as blank. Moreover, the e-commerce business organically allows you to get access to customer data that can be utilized to know the market pulse, customer preferences, pain points, and shortcomings. Based on these customer insights an e-commerce store can build its marketing strategy to boost sales and business conversion. You can use a variety of tools for customer data analysis and getting the most relevant data-driven insights for your marketing and business decisions.</p><p><strong><em><u>Personalized Shopping Experience Facilitated By Machine Learning</u></em> - </strong>Since most consumers now access online stores and services right from their smartphone devices, the sheer personal nature of mobile devices creates their expectations for a more personalized shopping experience. Moreover, the world's leading online stores already embraced personalization in their stores and helped customers with personalized access to their preferred products and services. This largely helped deliver an improved shopping experience. Naturally, no e-commerce store now can ensure a great shopping experience without personalized product recommendations, display of items, and payment options based upon earlier purchases. Just by analyzing the earlier preferences and customer behavior, an e-commerce store can quickly help customers to find and purchase what they need and the way they want to purchase. The emergence of machine learning algorithms and sophisticated data analytics tools made this personalization easier. Most CMS platforms now come equipped with plugins for machine learning and artificial intelligence. If you have a Woocommerce store, you can just hire a WordPress plug-in development company and develop your custom machine learning plugin for the store.</p><p><strong><em><u>Progressive Web Pages (PWA) and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)</u></em> - </strong>Most e-commerce sales are now happening on mobile devices and hence digital commerce is slowly becoming the prima facie of online stores. But maintaining a native e-commerce app alongside a fully-fledged e-commerce web store is often difficult and expensive. This is where emerging solutions like the Progressive Web App (PWA) and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) have come as credible alternatives to both native mobile apps and traditional website based storefronts. A progressive web application (PWA) is a website with a lot of attributes common to mobile apps. It can be saved on the mobile screen for instant access and can be loaded instantly. PWAs also can access native device features more easily for better performance and can allow offline access to contents through local in-device caching. An e-commerce store by embracing PWA can deliver a far better shopping experience while just relying on web technology. The accelerated mobile page (AMP) is another similar technology that offers stripped-down HTML web pages to allow instant loading. These web pages are now being embraced by many e-commerce stores for fast-paced and instant loading, enhanced mobile performance, and better search engine ranking.</p><p><strong><em><u>Voice Commands Pushing For The Final Transformation</u></em> - </strong>More than any of the trends mentioned so far, voice interactions and commands have become a major harbinger of transformation for e-commerce stores across the niches. According to most estimates, at least one-third of US households possess one smart speaker and globally at least one-fourth of Google searches now happen through voice commands. Naturally, e-commerce stores cannot be left out of this trend of incorporating voice commands and voice interactions for product browsing and making purchases. On the other hand, the smart speakers and virtual assistants across the platforms are increasingly becoming sophisticated with their capabilities of understanding voice commands better. Natural Language Processing (NLP) and dynamic voice range analysis are helping voice-enabled assistants and smart speakers to understand different voice modulations. Future e-commerce shoppers will likely use voice commands more and sales through voice interactions will hold a considerable portion of business conversion.</p>
KR Expert - Dharmender Atwal
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