15 November 2020
The worldwide spread of COVID-19 has sped up the process of not only on-boarding of crucial platforms to advance operations but also the platforms themselves. This means solutions have had to adapt to the new normal faced by companies looking to grow in ways never seen before. With that, new trends have formed in order to combat the rapid changes taking place in the market.
Below is an exploration of these trends and what they can mean for your business.
1. Online shops are morphing into service platforms
In 2020, online shopping has increasingly migrated from the simple web store towards platforms that combine e-commerce with a range of services. Nevertheless, personal contact with the dealer has always been a mainstay and this is not going away. This is in part because online customers do not always get an online answer to their questions. 76% of customers want contact with a personal sales representative before buying a new product, and 52% seek out a dealer's advice when a product changes specification. So apart from product information and specifications, customers are also able to make appointments for one-to-one advice or book services that match the product, such as online training.
2. Self-service portals: Buyers are doing it for themselves
A development that goes hand-in-hand with the move towards fully-fledged platforms is an explosion of content. Buyers can find everything worth knowing about a product and its application directly from the online shop. The idea is to give a buyer all the information he or she needs, and boost buyer-independence. The commerce shop becomes a self-service portal, where buyers find answers to their questions and are not slowed down by having to contact the sales representative. Platform knowledge bases provide enormous added value for online customers and improve the user experience.
3. Fully personalized online shopping experiences arrive
Personalization is already top-of-mind for many online customers. Commerce functionalities such as predictive ordering, personalization and artificial intelligence (AI) to assist in buying decisions are already present as a top 5 priority for between 18% and 20% of customers. In addition, 19% of buyers would be persuaded to select a vendor based on their ability to offer a personalized online buying experience. As a result of this growing demand, personalization and predictive analytics will continue to get smarter in 2020 and beyond.
4. Marketplaces continue to dominate
As technology has evolved over the past decade, it has become a lot easier and significantly more convenient to communicate with others through text. Chatting with customer support has increasingly become the go-to method for customers to get the help they need. More companies than ever before have chosen to provide this method of communication in an effort to tend to more customers at the same time while also creating effciency for customer support departments. While it is not the same as talking to someone in-person, the convenience factor is definitely a bonus for customers.
5. Headless commerce makes businesses more flexible
For the most part, the ability to visit a company's branch has been taken away from them, essentially removing an entire channel for them to experience. This means that the primary form of "visiting" a company's store or branch is through digital means. An approach companies may feel to be the right move is to bolster their website with features. This has become one of the most logical moves as this approache helps smoothen out the customer experience from start to finish.
6. Customers want everything now
As mentioned earlier, customers now have one way to interact with companies and that is digitally. Companies now have the chance to truly create an experience without any hurdles for the customer and that is through an omnichannel approach. This will help create a unqiue journey for the customer as they have the freedom to move from device to device when they choose without losing any progress they've made prior to the switch. While seemingly a small addition to the a company's digital experience, it is definitely one that customers remember as they use your service and recommend it to their family and friends.