Many ecommerce companies “incorporate AI tools and functionalities that do not necessarily enhance the customer experience” when they could be prioritising the “fundamentals” of UX, according to Kelly Goetsch, Chief Strategy Officer at Commercetools, a cloud-based headless commerce platform.

We caught up with Goetsch to ask him about multichannel retail, his dream client, more ecommerce bugbears, and what 2030 might look like in online retail.

Here’s what he had to say…

Econsultancy: Other than your own work, which ecommerce experiences do you enjoy and why?

Kelly Goetsch: It has to be eBay! I’m a big bargain hunter and I use it as my go-to platform for finding great deals on hard-to-find clothing. I’ve been a power user of the platform since the late 1990s and have witnessed its evolution over the years. The one thing they have consistently got right is how simple it is to buy or sell goods without any prior experience using the platform – that’s their competitive advantage.

E: Which brand would be your dream client (present clients excepted)?

KG: General Motors! I was impressed with the entire buying process when I purchased my new car from them a few months ago. However, there were a few things that I think they could improve, so I would love the opportunity to elevate their customer experience.

Legacy car manufacturers are not digital first, they outsource that part of the business to suppliers when they should integrate their own digital solutions instead. There’s a real opportunity for a brand like theirs in what is a very competitive market, to really up their game.

E: What are your personal bugbears in ecommerce UX?

KG: There are several areas where brands often fall short or haven’t fully perfected yet. One such example is when websites fail to remember your login information even after you’ve checked the “remember me” box. This forces you to manually enter your details every time you log in, which can be a frustrating experience.

Another bugbear of mine is a lack of, or inaccurate product information, which often results in me abandoning my purchase because I don’t know exactly what I’m paying for.

Additionally, many companies incorporate AI tools and functionalities that do not necessarily enhance the customer experience. These tools are often motivated by marketing strategies and prioritised over fundamental aspects such as simplifying the checkout process, real-time stock updates, integration of customer reviews, and other essential features. By implementing these fundamental elements, ecommerce brands can significantly enhance the overall customer experience.

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E: How do you see ecommerce evolving in a multichannel retail context?

KG: Omnichannel is a difficult experience to get right, look at many of today’s brands still focusing on mastering their strategy. This year is all about multi-channel, leveraging all manner of digital forms, but most importantly mobile.

Another area where we will significant change is point-of-sale. For brands, it is a key cog in the machine, especially if they’re looking to expand the functionality of their website as well as in-store tech to attract larger audiences. The main point here is marrying digital to in-store, creating a frictionless environment that opens up more opportunities to elevate the customer experience.

E: Looking forward to, say, 2030, what does ecommerce look like?

KG: A big trend we’re seeing is consumers wanting to spend time on apps that have multiple functionalities rather than switching between several single-purpose apps. With a growing demand for convenience and seamless user experiences, having multiple services in one place is crucial to keep people interested in using apps.

So, six years from now, there will likely be fewer mobile apps and more super apps like we’ve seen in Asia with WeChat and Rappi in Latin America. Additionally, there will be more payment wallets.

Today, most payments are made digitally, and increasingly over a mobile phone, as a convenient and safe way to pay for their purchases. Whether in-store or online, it’s become a habit. However, the experience for most can be cumbersome with the need to enter your contact details, address, bank information, and so on. Some brands do this well, especially the one-click features of PayPal or Apple Pay. But this has set new expectations around payment features and integrations, revealing an opportunity for businesses to capitalise on.

With regards to generative AI, it will help to create a more informed and effective means for productive discovery. Whether that be for customer research, identifying patterns in data, or idea generation, generative AI will be an indispensable tool in the ecommerce space.

E: Which category of retail excites you the most in your work at the moment?

KG: Healthcare is not a traditional retail category, but there is a lot of change and innovation happening in this space, with many healthcare providers transitioning into retailers.

As with traditional retail, people expect quality, simplicity, and convenience when deciding where to spend their money, and it’s no different for healthcare providers. Retail healthcare is increasingly becoming a crucial model for delivering services to new and existing patients. Although this transition may seem odd, it’s exciting to be a part of it!

E: What’s inspired you recently outside of work?

KG: I’ve been focusing on upping my fitness game recently – working out six times and running 20 miles a week. It’s a real cliche but I find getting outdoors and running, especially in new or unfamiliar areas is a great source of inspiration as you don’t know what you will come across along the way.

Econsultancy offers training in ecommerce and customer experience.

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