The rulebook of ecommerce is only ever written in sand. Any inkling of security and duration are constantly washed away at the smallest wave of change. The ebb-and-flow of the past two years are undeniable proof of this ever-changing industry. As the world learns to adjust to new parameters of living, ecommerce is also molding itself in response to these exterior forces. It is safe to say that the survival kit for any online business must include a degree of adaptability much higher than in previous decades.
If the lifespan of a ‘secular trend’ would previously run between one to three decades, presently one cannot expect a contemporary trend to last past the one year mark, especially in the context of Social Media. Millennials and generations above will remember the days of ‘online skepticism’ when making a purchase on the internet was treated as a risk, rather than a normality. Global online connectivity meant hitting the gas pedal on consumerism, spending culture and market competition. How does a business stand out in the year to come?
Adaptability is the ‘bread and butter’ of online e-commerce
With the increasing number of competitors in just about any online niche, it is only natural that the most prosperous businesses are those which are able to control the waves of changes. A recent report attested that in the past two years, online shopping has soared with a boost of 183 million dollars. This marks a tremendous opportunity for business owners, but in order to stay in control of such an offer, adaptability is key.
So , what must an e-commerce platform adapt to exactly?
1.Trends, algorithms and tech breakthroughs – they rule ecommerce with an iron first
Standing out can happen in a good way, but it can also happen in a bad way. If the trend across e-commerce decides that mobile apps are the future, then all business owners must follow suit. Those who fail to do so will surely see engagement drop and bounce rate increase.
One trend that is estimated to increase by 55% in 2022 is voice shopping. Making sure that people on-the-go have access to vocal search functionality must be a priority for those brand owners looking to modernise their web presence. Another technological breakthrough that all business owners must keep in mind is drone delivery. While still in its inception stage, drone delivery is bound to revolutionise global transportation as we know it. This will result in long-term lower logistics costs as well as faster delivery times, therefore it is safe to say all early adopters of this technology will benefit from their investment.
So, what else can one invest in to stay at the top of the 2021 e-commerce game?
2. Out with the old, in with new: SXO, headless ecommerce and video testimonials
Technologies are meant to be superseded and renewed with better performance in mind, and optimization strategies make no exception to this rule. Search eXperience Optimisation,SXO, is such a performance-focused strategy that it goes far beyond SEO. It marries the best of SEO and UX Design to provide a superior shopping experience. Understandably, SXO is fully customizable, from pop-up windows to order history access, and will surely increase in popularity in the next year.
Speaking (or reading) of customization, another revelation of customizable technology is headless e-commerce. Such a platform is synonymous with superior control. By decoupling the front end from the back-end and allowing for more customization, the customer journey to the checkout process is therefore simplified. But before the customer reaches the checkout stage, a certain amount of research will take place. In a review-centric era, no one makes a purchase without thoroughly informing themselves in advance. In attempting to be one step ahead of the competition, offering video testimonials or product demos will add credibility to the brand, not to mention it will elevate the aesthetics. Such a level of transparency acts as a testament of professionalism and ultimately, will lead to that long-awaited ‘Purchase Now’ button.
So, in short, which is the surest pathway to the checkout process in e-commerce?
3. UX etiquette:streamline, secure, serve
Locking in the three ‘S-es’ of customer etiquette may not guarantee winning the war, but it certainly wins half the battle: streamline processes, secure every nook and cranny, serve clients.
Making an online purchase can be very clunky and messy, depending on the seller. A user-centric experience will be as clutter-free and as smooth as possible. This website declutter manifests in many ways, from a simplified check-out process as exemplified here, to a holistic search function which you can sample here. Another way to streamline processes is to integrate headless e-commerce technologies with the help of such a solution. All these measures will contribute to increased conversions and to make that dreaded bounce rate drop.
Security is another important component of UX etiquette. With the increasing amount of data generated online, consumers are more and more wary of the platforms they use and how safe they feel while browsing them. Though it may seem overly complicated, using 2-step verification, 2-factor authentication, or multi-factor authentication strengthens credibility and reassures authorized users they are safe. The consequences of a breach of security would be much more time-consuming and costly than implementing additional authentication factors.
Highly personalized experience is the cherry on top of an exemplary customer-centric approach. Whether a brand specializes in personalized content or offers targeted promotions based on the specific needs of a user, consumers are more likely to make a purchase when they feel their needs are identified and catered for. Any ecommerce platform that plans to survive the next decade should invest in basic personalization tools.
Though it might seem daunting, the sight of online ecommerce in 2022 is in fact full of hope. The prospects for growth are better than ever and all these exciting new technologies are meant to serve both the customers and the business-owners. While adaptability has never been more necessary, it has also never been easier to attain.