There’s no denying that we live in a world where technology is accelerating at unprecedented rates. So it’s not surprising that in 2019, a survey from Elastic Path found that 67% of consumers agreed that they would switch brands if the alternative brand provided a more futuristic retail experience. The same report found that consumers and retailers have different views of what it means to be “tech savvy.”
Darin Archer, Chief Strategy Officer at Elastic Path, said in an interview, “What came back was a pretty strong message that said retailers are really not delivering on some of the experiences that technology enables across channels. The brands we surveyed felt like they would get a seven out of 10 on these futuristic shopping experiences; the consumers rated them down at a three or four.”
Already, we’ve seen brands go the extra mile to provide forward-thinking experiences. Modern businesses are upping their security efforts with identity verification systems, using virtual reality in their marketing, and machine learning for streamlined web experiences. But with so many shoppers believing businesses are missing the mark, it’s important to think about how you can step it up and offer them what they want.
One of the best ways to offer a futuristic experience is to step back and analyze how your business can make its operations more convenient for the end consumer. This is exactly what Amazon did when it started to offer one-day shipping. Instant warehouse-to-door transactions are part of the future, and it’s a very convenient feature for shoppers. With Amazon leading the way, instant shopping experiences have become the standard. The ability to offer contactless payments is also becoming increasingly popular; shortcodes, smartwatches, and quick logins are all ways you can streamline the checkout experience.
Technology will continue to impact customer service in many ways. Chat bots, artificial intelligence, and real-time messaging are all ways that technology is aiding customer service efforts today.
There’s no denying that customer service can make or break your business. How your company handles customer service can mean the difference between retaining a customer and losing them to a competitor. Studies have shown that modern consumers expect omni-channel support. They want to be able to reach your customer service through several platforms and media, taking the customer service experience into their own hands and gaining more control over that experience.
If you don’t already have a system in place for 24/7 support for multi-channel support, now is the time to invest in technology. Setting up bots through platforms like Facebook is relatively easy, and you can set it up in a way that simple questions are answered via your bot while your representatives handle more complicated inquiries.
Voice-Activated Shopping Assistance
Studies have shown that 57% of consumers already use or want to use voice commerce for shopping. Of those that are already using it, nearly a quarter of them use it multiple times per week. Another study from VoiceBot found that one out of five American consumers were using voice search to make purchases. Amazon—the poster child for e-commerce trends—stated that the amount of customers using Alexa to shop during the 2018 holiday season tripled compared to 2017. Looking at this growing trend, it’s important to consider how it can help the future of your business.
As consumers become more confident about using voice technology to aid their shopping experiences, you can investigate how to incorporate into your commerce strategy.
The ability to showcase products before it reaches the customer is important. For example, virtual fitting rooms are on the rise. Recently, virtual fitting rooms grew in popularity in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic as retailers clamor to replace the in-store experience with digital experiences.
Similar to the way free trials are effective for increasing software conversion rates, digital try-ons can boost sales. According to analysts, if consumers are presented with a realistic version of what they would look like when trying a new product—whether it’s an outfit or a hairstyle—they are more likely to make a purchase. Already, niche companies are sprouting to help provide that experience, like Sizebay, who develops software programs for fashion brands that strive to create a customizable shopping experience.