Earlier, in order to sell, it was enough to have a presentable online store with description of each product, which contained some words and photos about it, customized contextual advertising and reasonable SEO. Today this is not enough. Potential buyers become more critical, selective and inaccessible to the seller and a severe competition in online retail reduces the chances of selling something to them.
In the current year, 2021, new trends in ecommerce, which will fundamentally change the process of selling goods in the next 5-10 years, were finally drawn up. The post contains an overview of four trends, which will obviously become the most significant ways of the online retail development.
Visual and voice search for products
The development of neural networks is a worldwide trend. Naturally, the main source of research funding in this area is commercial companies and corporations providing online advertising services. At the moment, the owners of the most “smart” and powerful neural networks that provide the commercial needs of corporations and the actual needs of users are such giants as Google, Facebook and Pinterest.
In the future, search systems and visual content aggregators will go to the direct product search based on the analysis of the depict objects similarity by the use of neural networks with the help of images. Over time, their algorithms will improve and they will complement the range of digital marketers.
In addition to visual content, neural networks will be involved in assessing trade trends and forecasting. Search giants, probably, use neural networks to process statistic data on sales and user interests and then will sell analytics reports to interested customers. Due to this, trends will be determined more accurately and the possibility of a successful sale will increase significantly.
The consumer wants to know as much as possible about the products. Ecommerce limits the shopping experience to the lack of physical contact with the product. However, technology makes it possible to make the product volumetric, which partially compensates for the physical absence of the item.
Today, 360 photos, that is panoramic photos allowing you to view the products from different angles, are still used to demonstrate volumetric products, however, they are gradually being replaced by 3D views – full-fledged 3D models with realistic textures allowing to not only view the products from different angles, but also to demonstrate its physical functionality, for example, to open and to close a laptop, to rotate the camera screen, etc.
Simple forms of offer personalization based on the logical analysis of other users’ purchases have long been used by large online retailers such as Amazon, Aliexpress, Taobao and others. In the future, we will focus on specialized services that will help to collect the picture of specific clients and to form an offer in accordance with their hierarchy of needs and financial capabilities. It is known that most of the large Internet companies and electronics manufacturers such as Google, Facebook and Samsung collect user data and use it to create a non-personalized but very accurate consumer picture of a specific person. Some of this data is sold to advertising partners and also used in targeted advertising.
Today we can say that the process and handling such data are becoming more complicated, passing to the new level of a potential buyer understanding. Previously there was used a trivial comparison of interests and known needs, but now complex systems, using also neural networks and machine learning, are trying to identify the hidden needs and maximally to personalize the information presented on the product page. The authors of the services, forming a personalized proposal, are already experimenting with NLP, deep learning and pattern recognition and obviously the results of these experiments will be implemented in the next 3-5 years.
Fight for logistics
The coronavirus situation has demonstrated to retailers that the flexibility and fast scalability of transport logistics is one of the most important components. Previously, the quality of solutions in the field of delivery and logistics was perceived as an additional conversion factor, but today these factors have become one of the determinants of conversion. The faster the product reaches the addressee, if other conditions are the same, the higher the possibility that it will be bought.
At the same time, unexpected challenges, such as a sharp demand growth, should not affect the quality and timeliness of delivery. In this sense, specialized delivery services and related software such as WMS and TMS take a special role in the development of online retail. Read the article on FiduciaSoft to find out to improve your logistics business and become a reliable partner for your customers.
What is the future of online trade?
All the technological trends described above are leading to the development of ecommerce, on the one hand and to the transformation of offline retail, on the other hand. We can safely expect that in the next 10 years the share of offline stores will decrease by 20-30%, and the number of large Internet retailers will increase at least twice. This is a rough and pessimistic forecast, which takes into account the maximum impact of factors constraining the development of online retail, as well as technologies that extend the life of offline retail, such as AR, shops without checkouts and trade without staff.