Doesn’t it seem that each year has passed more quickly than the one that preceded it? 2016 is already here, and with it will likely come a lot of changes to e-commerce and the web in general. In the past few years, e-commerce has changed immensely. Have you felt that you’ve missed out on sales because important trends passed you by? You don’t have to let that happen in 2016 because many of the incoming changes are already starting to take shape. If you want to be successful in the future, it’s important to recognize the potential power of these new innovations, and adapt to them as quickly as possible. It may not be possible to implement all of these features on your site, but you should at least focus on a few of them.
Have you ever been in a department store, obviously struggling to find a specific item, only to be approached by a helpful sales associate who asks if they can help? In a brick-and-mortar store, you’re unlikely to leave right away since you probably had to travel for at least a few minutes to get there, but can the same be said of an online store? If a customer is having a problem with your shopping cart experience, a coupon code, or with a page that just won’t load properly, do you think they’ll keep trying to work it out for more than a couple of minutes? Probably not, and that means that you’re missing out on sales from motivated buyers, and that can be a huge problem.
In the past few years, online store owners had to hope that customers would inform them when these problems occurred. When customers have these problems and don’t ask for help, that sale will never be completed. What if you could take control of the situation and interact with your customers the instant that they begin to have an issue?
While live chat features have been around for a few years, a trend that’s starting to catch fire involves the website proactively offering the live chat to a customer. When this feature is used, a live chat window opens in the corner of the browser window complete with a greeting from an associate who is available to help. This helps customers feel comfortable with asking for help since they know there’s an associate there who is ready to help.
Mobile Sales Will Increase
Thanks in part to improvements in mobile platforms and app development, mobile sales are still on the rise. You’ve probably been hearing about the importance of mobile friendliness for years. In 2016, this trend will continue, and many online retailers will begin to see mobile traffic overtake desktop traffic. As app development becomes less expensive, more retailers will make mobile apps available to make shopping on a phone or tablet even easier. If you haven’t already worked to ensure that your site is friendly to mobile devices, this should be a priority for you in 2016. If you don’t have a great mobile experience and you see bounce rates and abandonment rates increase, this may be part of the problem, and now is the time to fix it.
Artificial intelligence running a website might sound intimidating and ultra-futuristic, but it’s already happening. Major online retailers are using a form of artificial intelligence to try to guess what an online visitor will be interested in purchasing based on big data and context. Amazon, one of the world’s largest online retailers, uses AI and big data to sell. If you’ve ever shopped there, you know that their AI engine suggests other products you may wish to buy. This is done using complex algorithms that factor in keywords, previous personal behavior, and the behavior of other shoppers.
As the years progress, these features will become a staple in e-commerce. Often times, people go to online stores looking for something fun, interesting, or helpful to purchase. In a physical store, they can walk through the aisles in a store, looking for something that piques their interest, but this isn’t often simple to do in an online store. However, customers crave this kind of shopping experience online, and that may be part of the reason the largest online retailers are so successful.
- 6 Jan, 2016