Technology has the power to transform the online shopping experience for consumers. Advancements in various technologies, including AI, computer-vision and the abundance of data generated by shoppers online every day make it possible for retailers to finally create a truly personal e-commerce experience. And change their bottom lines as a result.
But, retailers should never consider using technology in their e-commerce store for the sake of technology, nor for the sake of selling more products. The only true reason a particular technology should be considered to be included in your e-commerce offering is the value that offering provides to the shoppers. Luckily, the recent advancements in technology are ones that really do help your shoppers in numerous ways. And as a result, are worth considering.
The advancements in technology can help e-commerce retail shoppers in five distinct ways:
- Saving Time. In 2017, shoppers are overwhelmed with opportunities to find information about products and buy products. What shoppers are starved with is time. E-commerce technology solutions, like virtual shopping assistants, digital advisors and guided-selling solutions have the potential to give shoppers their time back. After all, who has the time to browse through 1500 products in an e-commerce store just to find what they are looking for?
- Providing a Personal Experience. Shoppers want to buy products from e-commerce stores. They want to be understood. They want you as a retailer to understand why they are considering a particular product or service. Open API's, data on social media activity and other third-party data sources enable retailers to take advantage of the context in which the shopper is visiting your website and provide a truly personal experience, tailored 1:1 for the individual in question. In the end, an individual shopper is a unique human. Wouldn't you want to be treated as a unique human, even through digital channels?
- Providing Interactions. Navigating to an e-commerce store can feel empty. Like your interacting with your computer screen and not the retailer whose site you are visiting. Technology can help build an online experience where the shopper can interact with your retail brand, provide feedback, receive advice and feel as if the website they visited is in fact YOUR store and feels like you.
- Providing a Cross-channel experience. E-commerce, brick-and-mortar, mobile commerce, social commerce. You name it. Channels are abundant and the shopper is overwhelmed with the opportunities to interact with your retail brand. Technologies like connected shopping carts and cross-channel personalization tools can provide shoppers with the feeling that the customer experience continues across channels. If you've ever had to call a customer-service line only to explain the same problem to 5 different agents at various stages of the same phone call, you understand how bad not connecting the customer experience across channels feels to the shopper.
- Making shopping fun. Never underestimate the enjoyment value of shopping. Enjoyment used to be a big part of going to the mall. It was fun. There's no reason e-commerce couldn't be fun. The technology is there. Technology enables you to bring fun and enjoyment back into the shopping experience. If your e-commerce store is fun to visit, your website will be awfully crowded very soon.
When it comes to e-commerce technology, the question you should ask yourself is "what provides value to our shoppers?"