E-commerce represents a perfect intersection of technology and people. In the past decade, there has been a massive boost to the e-commerce sector with a rising number of people choosing online shopping options in favour of traditional retail. The driving force behind this revolution has been cutting edge technology that has improved not only the logistics of e-commerce but also how customers interact with brands. The online retail experience is still evolving, with customers relying more and more on their social connections, online recommendations and advertisements to drive their purchase and repurchase decisions. Here are 3 ways technology is changing the future of e-commerce:
- Customer Behavioural Analytics
Web analytics and behavioural analytics are two fields that have started to gain importance in improving the online shopping experience of customers. Even though customers prefer to research products and services that suit their needs, they still expect online retailers to offer them options in terms of their preferences. Online behavioural analytics offers a lot of data on customer buying behaviour that can help retailers improve and tailor their merchandising, marketing, advertising and other strategies. Web analytics can also track how much time customers spend on certain sites and hire e-commerce website design services to improve engagement.
- Increasing Supply-Chain Efficiency
While online shopping, customers expect super-fast, seamless and efficient shipping, delivery, return and exchange processes. As a result, retailers also need to match up to such expectations by improving customer experience for existing customers. Retail technology can help businesses do just that – by streamlining these processes and eliminating any inefficient operations so as to optimise the entire process. In addition, several supply chain practices such as real-time delivery, cross docking, third party logistics and cross functional integration can also be integrated to make the online shopping experience more satisfying. Further, some companies are taking innovative steps in this regard, to combine online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain. This was a model proposed by Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, called New Retail, where retailers, both large businesses and niche category specialists, can leverage technology in order to serve the customer efficiently.
- Use of Artificial Intelligence
Although artificial intelligence in e-commerce seems like a futuristic thought, more and more companies in recent times are incorporating AI into their business processes to enhance customer experiences. AI can be used effectively to provide highly personalised and customised experiences to consumers, for example the use of chatbots on websites to learn customers’ preferences and suggest products accordingly. AI is also increasingly being used to analyse customer data, track buying behaviour, influence and predict consumer behaviour and many other processes to enable automation and increase efficiency.
Technology has thus redefined e-commerce by allowing brands and businesses to find new and innovative ways to interact with their customers. The proper use of technology can allow companies to gain a competitive advantage over other brands in the market; however the acceptance or rejection of such new technologies will depend upon its ease of use and its cost effectiveness.