Due in large part to the current global health situation, a growing number of consumers have understandably turned towards the online community to purchase everyday goods and services. Indeed, this trend has actually been gaining pace for years. The main takeaway point is that it has now taken centre stake thanks to the physical limitations that shoppers need to observe. So, what can we expect to witness in the following twelve months? Are there any profound changes in store and if so, how will these impact the overall online retail community?The Rise of Smart Shopping AlgorithmsIt pays to work smart as opposed to hard. In terms of bespoke retail solutions, consumers are now looking for more targeted methods to find what it is that they are looking for. This is why online sellers need to streamline the entire shopping experience by providing personalised results.Smart algorithms are therefore expected to have an even greater online impact as the sheer number of competitors continues to grow. These automated functions will take into account factors such as age, previous buying habits, the average amount of money spent, location, and even the type of device being used to access the website in question. This will ultimately benefit the average client, as more relevant results and offers will be displayed within a fraction of the time that would have been required in the past.An Increased Sense of Personalised ServicesThe days of generic online shopping portals have certainly come to a close.
The fact of the matter is that tech-savvy shoppers tend to know what they are looking for and as a result, they expected to be catered to. These demands can be met by offering curated services as opposed to nothing more than random advertisements. While this should already be obvious from an end-user point of view, what might it mean for typical and decidedly redundant pop-up and pop-under advertisements?While the notion of spam ever completely vanishing is unrealistic, we should expect these methods (as well as pay-per-click platforms) to become much more discrete in regards to the information that they present to potential customers. Relevant advertisements are more likely to generate further interest and as a result, they can help to increase conversion rates from a long-term perspective.The Introduction of Augmented RealityWhile many consumers have already experienced artificial intelligence while browsing online, relatively few are familiar with another technology known as augmented reality (AR). Augmented reality is a means by which a product or service can be presented in a visually interactive manner. One common example is an image that can rotate 360 degrees. When an individual clicks on a certain portion, he or she is able to modify it according to personal preferences (such as when choosing a certain outfit or piece of jewellery).The main benefit of augmented reality is that it increases online engagement in terms of what a business has to offer. This helps to ensure that a website visitor takes further actions such as making an appointment, registering for a newsletter or contacting a customer service representative.
Here are some other examples of how augmented reality can be leveraged within the digital domain:
- 360-degree tours when examining a home or apartment.
- Navigational guides within hotels.
- Providing a clearer view of complex objects such as an engine.
- Interactive infographics which explain the intricacies of a product or service.
Videos which are entertaining and informative are much more likely to receive a positive response from the end user. This will help to increase the chances of a visitor transforming into a prospective client.Advanced Security Systems to Thwart Online ThreatsAnyone who has followed the news in recent times is already aware that the online retail community is facing more profound threats than ever before. Many of these will come in the form of potential data breaches. Such vulnerabilities cause the entire industry billions of pounds every year. Unless the most appropriate steps are taken, the fact of the matter is that many businesses risk becoming victims.This is why we are witnessing smarter and more advanced security systems entering into the marketplace. From robust cloud-based storage options to flexible anti-virus packages, retail firms will need to determine which methods are the most appropriate. In the same respect, some owners are now choosing to outsource their security solutions to third-party providers. This can save time as well as money; particularly if a dedicated in-house IT team is not present.These are five online retail trends which are certainly expected to gain digital ground in the coming months.
However, it is likely that other advancements will also occur. This is why businesses of all sizes should keep abreast of the latest news and work with professional e-commerce providers. In the virtual landscape, second place has become a decidedly unenviable position.