The Covid-19 pandemic has put e-commerce at the absolute forefront of retail, across product categories. According to the Salesforce Q1 Shopping Index, in 2020, e-commerce businesses are witnessing twice the sales from 2019. Country-wide lockdowns and the fear of contracting the Coronavirus are keeping consumers from shopping offline. While online shopping was unfolding long before the pandemic, there is an unforeseen acceleration that will unveil a new normal for shoppers marching into 2021.
2020 is the golden age of e-commerce, where Amazon, Myntra, Ajo, Flipkart, Big Basket, Jio, Etsy, Groffers, and even Walmart are offering everything from groceries to home office essentials to active apparel for remote work. With these evolving dynamics, even the uninitiated consumers have taken to online shopping. The market is abuzz with burgeoning e-commerce companies, attending to the overwhelming demand. As competition for shopper attention increases, e-commerce companies have the opportunity to step up their game and deliver an enhanced customer experience.
E-commerce players are spending millions on improving the customer experience (CX) and acquiring more users. We’re seeing a clear trend leaning towards improving the purchase journey by making it more user-friendly and customer-oriented. Let’s take a look at the top three trends that will define the e-commerce domain in 2021.
Summoning the Shopping Cart with a Voice Search
Voice-enabled searches during online shopping have gained massive traction in the past few years. A forecast from Juniper Research indicates that the voice search industry will reach over a size of $80 billion by 2023. Virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung’s Bixby, Apple’s Siri, Google Home, and Microsoft’s Cortana are experiencing exceptional success with voice queries.
As voice search technology continues to improve, customers can find the products they are looking for faster and more easily. Voice search feature is allowing consumers to keep their hands-free as they continue to fill their shopping cart while doing other things.
Stats from Stanford University suggest that an average person can speak 3 times faster than they can type, which means voice search is speedier for consumers than a conventional keyboard search. Not only can they give more information to the e-commerce application with just a voice command, but they can also close their purchase quickly. Using the voice search feature to make instant online purchases is also akin to a digital personal assistant at one’s beck and call. Rather than relying on search engines, online retailers can enhance the customer experience by optimising their applications with voice accessibility in mind.
Optimising CX with Emotion Insights
In a world turning into a digital hub by the minute, brands aim at boosting their online sales by getting an unbiased and first-hand look into customer experience while buying. Data from tech company Imaginovation establishes that around 80% of customers leave a website that is not optimised. With so many e-retailers arriving on the scene, consumers have more choices than ever. Besides, customers demand a seamless user experience from logging on to the site to checking out of it. To provide an enhanced CX packed with a user-friendly platform and exceptional customer service, companies are increasingly investing in Emotion AI to gain insights into user’s behaviour as they shop.
This opens a whole new universe of opportunities for e-commerce companies to employ Emotion AI tech and delve deep into consumer emotions. Online retail brands can deploy Emotion AI solutions like Affect Lab’s – DigitalEQ and UsabilityEQ to measure customer satisfaction, improve online customer engagement and influence shopper’s experience. Emotion AI uses technologies like eye tracking to understand how online customers are interacting with the products/services offered on e-commerce platform. It also helps brands to capture the users’ emotion and buying behaviour with real-time customer responses, simplifying the path-to-purchase journey of online customers.
An analysis from NetSolutions suggests that marketers can drive an average increase of 20% in sales by offering tailored customer experiences. Companies can gain usability insights, test multiple product designs, and map user journeys through Emotion AI platforms to identify experiences that best resonate with their audience. These platforms also utilise eye-tracking software to determine what catches the user’s eye and what annoys them to help e-commerce business accordingly optimise their website and application.
Conversational Commerce Boom with Chatbots
In the past few months, conversational commerce strategies like chatbots and virtual agents have proved very helpful to fill in for the missing human interaction during shopping experiences. Chatbots have taken the customer service by storm, and a study reports that around 60% of millennials are readily using them to purchase online. Furthermore, more than 43% of online shoppers prefer an online chatbot over calling customer service centres when communicating with an e-commerce brand, states Chatbot Magazine.
What makes chatbots so instrumental in enhancing the customer experience for online retail businesses? For starters, they have a quick response time, know the products, and offer accurate answers to consumer’s long list of queries through a hassle-free experience. Besides, immune to frustration and bad days, chatbots can be present to cater to consumer needs 24X7.
Moreover, to ensure human-like customer engagement, e-commerce companies can also use Emotion AI platforms to enhance user experience across multiple touchpoints on their chatbots. With the help of emotion recognition technologies like eye tracking, these platforms can offer e-retailers with valuable insights about customer’s attention, engagement and responses across the chatbot user journey.
The future of e-commerce holds enormous opportunities for innovation. By embracing technology trends, e-retailers can tap into the needs of young, old, and digitally naïve shoppers, and deliver superior customer experience.
Give new e-commerce shoppers plenty of reasons to return with enabling voice search, utilizing Emotion AI, and deploying responsive chatbots. At a time when the world is reeling from the pandemic, making the e-commerce businesses more easily accessible, user-friendly, and more in touch with human emotions is the way to move forward into 2021.