Industry Trends

Ecommerce Technology Trends: 5 Ways To Keep Up (or Fall Behind)

Industry Trends

Ecommerce Technology Trends: 5 Ways To Keep Up (or Fall Behind)

A technology stack is essential to almost any modern-day business: Even if you milk your own goats and make cheese, your farmer’s-market sales will depend in part on your ability to process credit and debit cards.

That’s especially so for ecommerce retailers, whose entire business model is driven by their reliance on these stacks. The problem is that technology is the ultimate in fast-moving fields, and if you’re not keeping up you are — by definition — falling behind. With that in mind, let’s look at a handful of the most crucial ecommerce technology trends.

Targeting Mobile Shoppers

The COVID pandemic turbocharged ecommerce as an industry, but it has especially emphasized the importance of mobile devices (sometimes called m-commerce, to distinguish it from ecommerce in general). The numbers will take a while to firm up, but estimates place m-commerce at roughly 45% of all ecommerce at the end of 2020, and project out to be over 10% of all retail by 2025. 

At a minimum your site needs to be fully mobile-aware and mobile-forward. Test it yourself on both Android and iOS devices, to check for basic functionality: Is navigation clear and straightforward? Is the search box easy to find and use? Are your banners intrusive? Do images display correctly, with accompanying text properly formatted? Then hire outsiders to evaluate it in depth for convenience and ease of use.

Incorporating an e-Wallet Service To Streamline Checkout

Researchers at the Baymard Institute keep a close eye on cart-abandonment rates across the ecommerce industry, which — at the time of writing — sit at over 69%. A lot of factors play into that unsettling statistic, but one of the largest is the checkout process itself. Far too often it’s clumsy, inconvenient or downright confusing for shoppers, so they leave in search of a better option. 

If you’ve developed your platform in-house, fixing it is a significant project. If you rely on a third-party shopping platform, tweaking the UX may simply be beyond your control. Adding support for one or more popular e-wallet services provides a simple way to make your checkout quicker and more convenient. Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal are the highest-profile options, though there are plenty of others from major banks and tech start-ups alike. 

It’s a win-win: You can deploy a wallet with minimal time and effort, and your customers will gain an easy, secure payment option they already trust.

Leveraging AI To Maximize Personalization, Cross-Selling and Upselling

In the heyday of traditional fashion retail, skilled salespeople helped customers navigate a store’s offerings. The best of them inspired powerful trust and loyalty among their customers, who felt understood and downright pampered by “their” salesperson’s ability to know what they liked and wanted. 

You can’t replicate that online if your site’s personalization capability is still limited to a “because you clicked this…” level of functionality. Going from surface-level insights (tracking a visitor’s clicks, searches and prior purchases) to a deeper understanding of why they’ve done those things is the future of personalization, and that requires Lily AI

Our proprietary machine-learning algorithm analyzes your existing inventory and applies hundreds or even thousands of tags to each garment or accessory. That “deep tagging” process gives you the tools you’ll need to draw connections between the things each visitor looks at (even when they remain anonymous) and understand that specific user’s psychology. 

The end result? Your shoppers find exactly what they wanted, and your targeted cross-selling and upselling options are perceived as helpful rather than pushy or creepy.

Finding Transparency in a “Smart” Supply Chain

The COVID pandemic’s impact on pop culture has been almost as significant as its impact on ecommerce. Erratic, unpredictable shortages and unavailabilities have gotten us to the point that the phrase “supply chain,” offered up with an eye roll, is the universal explanation for every inconvenience. 

It’s funny because it’s true, but it’s a lot less amusing in real life than on social media. A hot trend in e-commerce technology is the arrival of the “smart” supply chain. Forward-looking manufacturers and logistics companies have invested heavily in internet-enabled sensors and supporting technologies, so you can know in real time (or something close to it) exactly where your inventory is at any given moment. 

That kind of transparency is solid gold for a retailer. Not only does it enable tighter control of your inventory and ordering, it means you’ll know about availability issues as soon as they begin to evolve. That gives you the time you need to adjust your marketing plans, or to pick up stock from an alternative supplier in time to fill in the gaps.

Playing Well With Voice Search

You may not think of it in those terms, but Siri and Google Assistant are gatekeepers standing between you and your potential customers (Alexa as well, but its search results are predictably Amazon-centric). If a shopper in your prime demographic asks their phone or smart speaker to find a product you carry, will it point them to you or to a competitor? If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s time to find out. 

Priming your site for voice-friendly search doesn’t mean a full-scale reinvention of the SEO wheel; you’ll just need to tweak a few things to maximize the value of voice search. For example, where typed keywords tend to be terse and cryptic (“best price work shoes”), voice searches skew to long-tail keywords and natural language (“where can I find the best price on shoes for work?”). Voice search also tends to disproportionately favor local vendors (“what’s the best place to find work shoes near me?”). 

The details of voice optimization are beyond the scope of this discussion, but its impact as a piece of e-commerce technology is beyond doubt: in 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions were screenless, and that percentage will continue to increase.

Prioritize Spending on Ecommerce Technology Trends 

Our short list highlights just a few of the current trends shaping ecommerce. The guiding principle is that these are really fundamental, while many other hot new technologies are less so. Many retailers are working hard at creating video content for their product pages, for example, or augmented/virtual-reality content. 

Those are exciting technologies, but they’re secondary: A cool video won’t keep your customers from abandoning their cart, and even before enriched content can sway your shoppers, you need to bring them to the right product pages.

Prioritizing the highest-impact technologies — the ones that give you the biggest return in the shortest time — is the smart way to maximize your budget. LilyAI excels on both of those measures, with a typical deployment needing just a few weeks to utterly transform your personalization strategy. 


Contact us today to request a consultation, and see how we can help you upgrade the quality of your data and harness its power.

Sources

Business Insider/Insider Intelligence: Rise of M-Commerce: Mobile Ecommerce Shopping Stats & Trends in 2021

Statista: Mobile Commerce Sales as Percentage of Total Retail Sales in the United States from 2018 to 2025

Baymard Institute: Cart & Checkout UX

KPMG: Supply Chain Transparency: Creating Stakeholder Value

BigCommerce: How to Optimize Voice Search Feature for Your E-Commerce Store