Blogger’s Park: Tech Trends to Watch
Technology is redefining and reshaping the e-commerce industry. Covid-19 has acted as a catalyst for companies such as Amazon, helping them double the growth they have achieved over the past 10 years. India has also seen digital adoption grow – everything has moved online and people are very comfortable making this change.
Here are the top five technology trends that are transforming the e-commerce industry:
AR and VR: The biggest challenge of e-commerce is that customers cannot try out products for themselves before buying them. Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies alleviate this problem by allowing customers to virtually try on products to get a feel for the look and feel before deciding, further improving the shopping experience. Just turn on the mobile camera. Augmented reality has proven to be a complete game changer, providing a better shopping experience for customers and helping them make better decisions. This technology will surely become the future of e-commerce.
AI-powered user-level customization: Each client is unique, as are their needs. E-commerce platforms bring “user-level personalization” and “super-exclusive experiences” for every customer. By analyzing the customer’s browsing and buying habits, businesses now deliver a personalized experience and provide better product discovery through the ‘show similar’, ‘recommended for you’ and ‘curated for you’ features that recommend products similar to what the customer is looking for. It has also become an important discovery tool for users to find book recommendations and other online curations.
Payment enhancements: The UPI initiative has placed India ahead of China and the United States in terms of digital transactions made each year. This simple-to-use device, which requires no credit score and only a bank account to activate, has been key to unlocking digital payments in India.
Additionally, the “Buy Now, Pay Later” feature further unlocked higher average ticket value purchases for online purchases. Payment gateways have evolved to become more intuitive and mobile-friendly. Additionally, the government also helps by reducing friction for subscriptions and reducing ticket sizes by removing the need for OTPs.
Voice search and chatbots: Virtual assistants such as Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google voice search have changed the way customers search and shop online. Voice search has been one of the significant innovations in the e-commerce industry. In India, in particular, vernacular language support will further strengthen the trend, as we are already seeing an exponential increase in voice search queries with increasing internet penetration.
Likewise, chatbots have become a new means of conversational marketing and selling goods. They have become the first interface to respond to customer queries to reduce the load on customer support teams. The deployment of voice search and bots has been widely adopted for the after-sales experience, but is now making its way into pre-sales – from product selection to payment.
Ubiquitous and omnichannel commerce: With a mobile phone, users can access all kinds of information. Over 70% of users now pre-screen products before showing up for thoughtful purchases.
Being present on multiple channels like retail stores, mobile apps, and social media is now a necessity and a powerful tool for e-commerce because users are already present here and using these tools simultaneously. This ubiquitous presence helps customers approach the brand anywhere, anytime, and enables cross-channel research, consideration and purchase, increasing overall conversion rates.
These emerging trends will focus more on customer experience and level of satisfaction, acting as a catalyst to help e-commerce marketplaces evolve towards platforms that better serve consumers.
The author is co-founder and chief product and technology officer, Lenskart