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Seamless customer experience
Matt Curry, Head of Ecommerce at LoveHoney:
I think we’ll be seeing a lot more zero-friction experiences. The recent announcement of Amazon Shop is a good example of this in the real world, but online we’ll be doing everything we can to get out of the way of someone trying to order.
Everything from seamless identification, automated intelligent orders, native payments in the browser and on IoT devices, to sites that customise their UI on the fly.
James Gurd, Owner of Digital Juggler:
I’m not going to get excited yet by IoT and VR – I know they’re already established in some markets, but I just can’t see mass adoption coming in the UK yet, and especially not in retail ecommerce.
For me, marketing automation based on product lifecycles and user-level behaviour will become more and more apparent.
We’ll see less bucket emails and more targeted communication, which has been happening over the past few years but at a slow rate.
I think ecommerce specialists are growing in maturity and confidence, so data driven decision-making is becoming more of a norm, even though opinions and ‘it’s good practice’ do still influence many decisions.
Mobile payment still threatens to break free but it hinges on successfully integrating loyalty programs and rewards.
So far brands like Starbucks have nailed it, and 2016 has seen some other high profile brands like Kohls push in this area. What’s lacking to make me confident 2017 is the year, is one of the big tech/payment companies resolving loyalty across a wide range of merchants.
Personalisation of shopper bots
Depesh Mandalia, CMO of ToucanBox:
The emergence of bots and apps which provide a convenience shopping play will be a growing trend in 2017. Both Apple and Facebook are investing here with a view to enabling brands to deploy shopper bots that can create personalised recommendations.
Personalisation has lacked an element of context in the past, but a bot could both dig deep into a customer’s history and ask questions in real-time to better tailor products.
While I can order items on my Amazon Echo, it doesn’t yet have awareness of my history to better tailor my requests. Asking Echo “buy some vests for my son”, it should ask contextual questions like ‘how old?’ or ‘what size?’, but should also check my browsing/purchase history to tailor those results.
Having an in-home shopping assistant could be a huge advantage for retailers to connect in a more intimate manner with potential and new customers.
Uptake of A/B testing
Paul Rouke, founder & CEO, PRWD:
The free-to-use Google Optimize is going to bring a significant increase in both the awareness (and uptake) of A/B testing amongst retailers.
With this, my word of warning for retailers would be – when a tool is free, there is less value placed on the importance of having the correctly skilled people available to get the most out of the tool.
A/B testing carried out intelligently (and even strategically), requires a multidisciplinary team with hypotheses underpinned by user research, data analysis and heuristics.
Ensure that your business doesn’t end up with “all the gear, but no idea” when it comes to A/B testing in 2017.
Now that Mobile is by far the largest driver of traffic and revenue, we have to presume the next device type will be wearables.
The re-invented HIPPO
An increasing amount of humility being exhibited by retailers, as they evolve to becoming customer-centric.
The re-invented HIPPO characteristics will continue to be harnessed by businesses and individuals as egotism, opinion and “what competitors are doing” are slowly removed from decision making around how we improve our user experience.