North America, which encompasses Canada and the United States, has around 1.3 million ecommerce companies. Even though the competition may seem fierce, one company alone controls almost half of the American market: Amazon. This means that there 1.3 million ecommerce companies scrambling to compete over half of the ecommerce pie.
So, unless your name is Jeff Bezos, you want to buckle down and get to work if you want to give your ecommerce business a chance in hell to succeed because the sad fact of the matter is that most ecommerce businesses go bust sooner rather than later. One thing you definitely want to do is to keep up with current trends; otherwise, if you sleep at the wheel and don’t keep up with the times, you risk being surpassed by the competition, the ones savvy enough to know what today’s consumers want and to anticipate where tomorrow’s tastes might head.
Where ecommerce is heading in 2020:
With the abundance of data at your fingertips, you have no excuse not to tailor the content and product offerings to your customers. In fact, with all the machine learning and AI software floating around, it has become standard practice to generate behavioral models for each consumer based on how they act on your site, the products they look at, and the pages they hover on. This use of personalization applies to B2C businesses as well as B2B businesses.
Now, another part of personalization involves opening different channels of communication with each customer. So, you want to have chatbots on your site, and you also want to give your visitors the ability to reach a real-live person. Then, let each person choose whatever channel suits them best.
In addition to personalizing the experience on your site, you can actually personalize the products you sell themselves. In fact, customizable products tend to be cherished by consumers more than generic products. You can achieve this by offering your customers interactive quizzes and surveys, and based on the results, you can build a product that is tailored for them.
From chatbots to personalized interactions, artificial intelligence has a huge role to play in the ecommerce sphere, and this role will only expand with time. It is no longer a matter of whether your ecommerce business can afford to incorporate AI solutions into the business or not. The answer here is that your platform has to use AI to survive.
Instead, the question most ecommerce platforms will have to answer is which AI solutions are suitable for it and its customers. Having the right technology stack can help a company be productive and stay ahead of the curve.
More importantly, AI will prove instrumental in transforming ecommerce platforms from reactive entities to proactive ones. It will enable these platforms to reach out to customers at the right time and nudge them towards the wanted action.
When it comes to payment options, customers are looking for flexible platforms. This means that ecommerce companies need to accept more than one payment method to accommodate different customers. Some of the popular payment methods out there include credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal. You also want to offer your customers the option of paying you over a period of time rather than having to doll out the entire sum all at once.
This flexibility is all the more important if your store is selling expensive products. In such a scenario, you want to offer your customers different options, such as refunding products they might not want and paying for something only when they are sure it is in working condition. This flexibility will reduce the amount of risk your customers are exposed to, making them feel safe doing business with you.
- Environmental and social consciousness:
Gen Z are known for being environmentally conscious and for fighting for green solutions. And, as their purchasing power increases over the next decade, they will dictate which business practices they are willing to endorse and which practices they will not tolerate.
So, what does this mean for ecommerce?
For one thing, environmentally detrimental practices or ones that exploit certain individuals will be penalized. An excellent case in point is that of fast fashion, an unsustainable business model that has been angering socially conscious individuals. Therefore, it would come as no surprise if stores that sold second-hand clothing ended up trumping fast fashion stores.
For another thing, young consumers are willing to part with their cash to brands that work to reduce social inequity or are acting in an environmentally responsible way. So, companies that are working hard to reduce their carbon footprint are bound to be rewarded for their green efforts.
The ecommerce business will only grow from here:
Thanks to emerging technology like IoT and drones, ecommerce spending is expected to grow considerably over the next few years. By some estimates, the global size of the ecommerce market should reach around five trillion dollars by 2021. So, the rewards in this space are lucrative. But, with everyone fighting to get a piece of a pie that is already divided among a few big players, you are going to have to work overtime just to get a little more than a crumb.
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