Trends in ecommerce that can change the rules of the game

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Angela de la Vieja

Everything indicates that electronic commerce will maintain its growth rate. And predictions such as that of the Forrester Research consultancy assure that we are very close to online sales surpassing the physical ones.

The consequences for the players of electronic commerce are very positive, since the online sale sector grows 23% each year. But the challenges are also important, and competition for consumers will be increasingly tougher. To keep up this competitive pace, ecommerce must look closely at emerging trends and technologies.

There are three trends in particular that have become the key to today's ecommerce success: predictive analytics, chat bots and real-time personalization.


1. Analytical: reaction and anticipation to consumers

Customer experience analytics is an analysis approach that allows us to understand if the integral proposal of the ecommerce, as much in offer of products as in experience of purchase, is really satisfactory for the buyers.

Experience is perhaps one of the most important parameters to measure, even more than the conversion rate for some. While the conversion rate reflects only the positive buying experience, the customer experience reflects both positive and negative. Let's not forget that about 70% of shopping carts are abandoned, a good enough reason to analyse the experience globally and look for improvement points.

With the analysis of the customer experience, it is possible to identify the behaviour of users within an ecommerce and collect key data such as:

Do they scroll because they can´t find what they are looking for?

  • Do they focus on a call to action but do not click on it?
  • Do they accidentally click where they did not want to do it?
  • Are they distracted when adding a product to the shopping cart?

The answers to these questions have a great impact on the overall user experience and are the starting point for introducing changes to the ecommerce proposal.

But this is not the only analytical approach, there is also predictive analytics. If the customer experience analytics approach allows reacting to behaviour, the predictive analytics approach anticipates user behaviour.

The data collected can be used in many ways: to define promotions prices, to improve product supply or to optimize inventories, among other alternatives.

In this last point, using predictive analysis can be crucial for stock management, since it is possible to determine when and how the products will be sold, which in turn affects the whole planning of purchases, deliveries and returns. A Sales force report analysing several predictive analytics application cases in the product recommendation shows that orders resulting from such smart recommendations account for about 35% of the total.


2. Chat bots: customer service with excitement

Chat bots are not a novelty in the world of e-commerce, but their application does not stop growing. Several estimates, such as those of Adrian Swinscoe indicate that by the end of the year more than 8 trillion messages will have been sent through chat bots.

Chat bots use a combination of rules, learning technology, and artificial intelligence to create systems that process natural language and allow answering customer questions.

But it's not all about being reactive and answering questions. Giants of ecommerce like Macys in the United States and global companies, like Uber, use the chat bots to proactively suggest topics to their clients and even show emotions to their users.

3. Customization: real-time and custom-made

Personalization through the use of technology is another key that is already revolutionizing e-commerce, and will do more as it is implanted and spread massively.

It is known that buyers expect a personalization of their experience with the brand. As loyal consumers, they expect brands to know their preferences and interests. While many companies segment their communications and personalize the messages simply by putting the recipient's name in the email, others are exploring new paths through behavioural targeting technology.

Behavioural targeting is neither more nor less than segmenting users according to their behaviour. Brands identify behavioural patterns based on location, devices from which they access the ecommerce or origin of access, so to offer users the maximum degree of customization: a home page layout, browsing the product catalogue to the measurement, and also contents are customised.

As the well-known conversion expert Peep Laja tells us: "500 different people go to Amazon and each one sees a different version of the homepage." How? Because it’s personalized! And it's no secret why Amazon does this: content customization generates money. "

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