Ecommerce Platforms Evolve Beyond Websites and Apps

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Today’s ecommerce platforms have become smart, efficient, and adaptive. Perhaps it’s because the definition of an ecommerce platform has changed from mere apps and websites; it now stands for a barrage of online experiences.

Another initiator of change that has played a part in the digital transformation of the online retail commerce platform, taking the brand into pockets of users, is changing technology trends.

Multi-pronged developments that take place in the digital sphere expedite instantaneous transformations in ecommerce.

To the extent that while we discuss the future of ecommerce platforms, new technological innovations like AI, Big Data, 5G, and AR/VR pop up and set new limits. And no one knows for sure where its threshold lies.

Being the best ecommerce platform entails leveraging the best technology available.

Ecommerce is more than usual commerce; it’s a technology-driven commercial activity in which user experience and technology have precedence over purely commerce deliverables.

And businesses understand it well. That is why you’ll hardly encounter a business in the ecommerce realm that defers adoption whenever a new advancement takes place in the realm of technology.

Stakes of deferment are high; firstly, steering away could cost you business; secondly, if somehow you did manage to survive, chances of success are abysmally low – in a way that is akin to paying for your own failure.

Delving into the past of ecommerce won’t do any good; to mold past experiences in conformity with the latest technologies available is going to be the key to unlock unforeseen benefits of the commerce-technology ensemble.

In other words, it’s where ecommerce is headed that matters the most, not whence it came from.

Statista has enthralling data to share pertaining to ecommerce. In 2019, sales from retail ecommerce added up to $3.53 trillion worldwide and are projected to reach $6.54 trillion by 2022.

Additionally, the report also revealed that out of all online activities users perform worldwide, online shopping is among the popular ones.

Such promising figures have businesses and store owners on the prowl again, but is hustling for the benefits of the humongous ecommerce market enough in itself?

However bountiful the opportunities ecommerce promises, businesses can’t sit back and relinquish their role as harbingers of digital transformation.

On the one hand, online competition is getting steeper; on the other hand, tech-savvy customers’ expectations skyrocket.

And it calls for ecommerce platforms for small businesses to bring sweeping changes across their platforms in imitation of the latest ecommerce trends.

As businesses grapple with cut-throat competition, only respite and refuge is keeping pace with the ecommerce trends 2020 has set in motion.

Not only are these trends responsible for ensuring backend efficiencies, but they also improve frontend conversion-optimization experiences.

Top Ecommerce Trends (2020)

To get a real picture of ecommerce trends that are unfolding new frontiers of advances in user experience, we need to appreciate technologies that are taking the future of ecommerce platforms by storm.

In fact, the future of ecommerce platforms is firmly tied to the waltz between new technologies and trends that ensue. Here are some of the most influential ecommerce trends to look for in 2020.

1. Artificial Intelligence stands for personalized and contextualized shopping experience for shoppers and better insights for businesses into user behavior.

AI continues to steer changes in our digital experiences. Its transformative power has been immensely overwhelming.

But, its trickle-down and subsequent entry into the ordinary lives and social strata is most surprising.

That has created opportunities for ecommerce platforms to leverage AI to cash in on new business prospects, and also to meet customer expectations.

Doing it for pure business is one thing and doing it because customers want you to is different, and AI’s entry in ecommerce is a mix of both.

All of the best eCommerce platforms of 2020, you’ll see, are AI-driven. It’s safe to say: An ecommerce app or website lacking AI capability is lacking overall.

The real game of ecommerce no longer lies in apps or websites even though they provide the field. It lies in creating personalized buying experiences. That, in turn, is dependent on data sets, which AI has the capability to process intelligently.

The best ecommerce platforms for small businesses have begun incorporating AI capabilities like voice search, chatbot communication, etc., into their digital infrastructures.

AI and machine learning provide ecommerce platforms the tenacity needed to serve the wider range of audience in a personalized manner, particularly if the platform is a Multi-Vendor Ecommerce Platform.

That’s why businesses around the world broach the idea of leveraging sophisticated versions of AI across ecommerce platforms for enterprises.

Not only is AI useful in offering customers smart product recommendations, but it has also been touted as the gamechanger in the industry for its capabilities to furnish businesses with insights on smart digital ad spending.

And there’s ample data available where companies have registered a 76% increase in social media revenue solely because of inputs provided by artificial intelligence.

2. Augmented and Virtual Realities bring to ecommerce platforms a feel of traditional retail shopping with its immersive, life-like visualization.

A couple of years ago, shoppers had this strange feeling of alienation while shopping online. To some extent, it worked as a deterrent and reason why many still preferred traditional retail over online retail.

That gap or sort of alienation, a feeling of disconnect from the product, is being bridged by AR – making product visualization as life-like as possible.

AR is allowing businesses to offer customers a real-life feel of how, for example, a carpet might fit or look in their own living room.

AR has set a trend for ecommerce platforms to come equipped with virtual reality capabilities, 3D modeling capabilities, and more. In fact, virtual showrooms are in vogue too.

So are mobile applications that have built-in AR functions for visualizing products in virtual reality.

3. Mobile-First Commerce or mcommerce makes ecommerce platforms accessible to common masses and affordable.

Ecommerce is fast becoming mobile-first commerce or mcommerce.

As much as businesses centers focus on web App Ecommerce Platforms, more has to be given to mobile app development, as mobile is disrupting every aspect of human life, ecommerce included, and is emerging as the major market for ecommerce to thrive, scale, and reach lower strata of society.

Customers expect an intuitive shopping experience right on their mobile devices.

As mobile has become the most common platform to access the internet, great opportunities have come to the forefront for businesses to devour; especially in the field of ecommerce.

Consequently, you have now a plethora of apps facilitating transactions via mobile; even banking facilities are available on mobile, right alongside digital content.

Similarly, the purchase and delivery of products are facilitated via mobile.

4. Big Data remains the bedrock of ecommerce platforms for small businesses.

AI and Big Data are the most disruptive ecommerce trends likely to hold sway in 2020 and beyond. As a result, analytics tools have become go-to tools for eCommerce platforms, supplying brands ample data to ensure their customers have a personalized shopping experience.

No one can claim not to have heard of data mining and predictive analytics; likening data to gold and in some cases to petrol, is almost a cliche now.

If used ethically, respecting the privacy of all parties involved in the transaction process, businesses can get hold of valuable data that turns ordinary interaction of a user with your business into a personalized and contextualized one, and that is nothing short of magic.

5. The Multi-Vendor eCommerce Platform emerges as a reliable, long-term, and feasible business model.

Amazon is living proof that multi-vendor not only works wonders but is also a reliable, long-term, and feasible business model.

In simple words, the Multi-Vendor eCommerce Platform is the future of ecommerce.

And its benefits are explicit, which is the reason why businesses are hustling for it in droves.

In terms of product offerings, having multiple vendors on board diversifies the catalog, and therefore can attract users of varied tastes and expectations.

Therefore, with multi-vendor ecommerce platforms, you can easily turn an ordinary ecommerce store into a multi-vendor marketplace.

6. Voice Commerce is vital for the unhindered reach of ecommerce to a larger audience through the medium of smart speakers.

Riding on the back of AI is another special feature of ecommerce called Voice Commerce in which customers place orders via voice assistants.

A forecast by Loop Ventures predicts the percentage of US households to own a voice assistant or smart speaker to be 75% by 2025. Ruling the roost are Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Voice commerce could be the next big thing to happen in the evolution of ecommerce beyond apps and websites.

As people’s proficiency in using voice assistants for shopping increases, businesses have a real opportunity to tap into voice commerce.

7. Blockchain opens countless possibilities and could be a real game-changer in the ecommerce realm.

Blockchain works on another front: Striving to bring transparency and sustainability to ecommerce businesses.

Blockchain leverages technology to record data in real-time on a grand scale and store it on a transparent ledger shared among all stakeholders of a business.

For some reason, even people from the business world confine Blockchain to Cryptocurrencies. But the reality is that it’s a travesty of its real and untapped potential.

Its applications are far and wide, covering a range of businesses and industries. Though it is just beginning, ecommerce platforms are slowly waking up to the promising reality that Blockchain is about to break.

For instance, decentralized cross-border trade is a rare possibility, and Blockchain is promising exactly that. Additionally, crypto payments are not far-fetched anymore, and if so is the case, ecommerce will surely be in for a great haul.

That is why it’s better to be prepared beforehand than being caught off guard.

8. 5G provides ecommerce platforms speed to serve customers more efficiently and faster.

Adobe Digital projects that by 2021 5G will add an additional $12 billion to global mobile ecommerce revenue. Not only will it make shopping faster but it’s also convenient enough for instantaneous purchases.

5G will eventually make its way into marketing and support systems too, rendering such services more effective, efficient, and seamless.

For ecommerce, 5G is going to be a force to reckon with in driving more sales and providing immersive user experiences.

9. Chatbots replace human support as a preferred medium to get quick responses.

Inquiries being answered by Chatbots has been a growing ecommerce trend and 2020 is no different. In fact, demand for Chatbot availability on ecommerce platforms is coming from customers, preferring Chatbots to human support for the former’s quick response.

And more and more businesses are likely to use Chatbots even more actively going into 2020.

10. Growing video consumption creates demand for ecommerce platforms to show brand videos on website and app homepages.

Growing video consumption worldwide has rendered video uploading on ecommerce apps and websites incumbent on businesses.

Rightly so, so long as it’s increasing the conversion rate, as revealed by many studies. Customers too have become smarter; videos of product reviews before purchasing has become a new norm, pushing ecommerce platforms to provide streaming facilities on website and app homepages.

The Future of Ecommerce Beyond 2020 at Glance

a) Emerging markets beyond the US including countries like China, India, Russia, etc. are expected to drive the future of ecommerce.

Businesses worldwide will be hustling for maximum presence in emerging markets to reap maximum benefits.

b) Potential customers are projected to skyrocket as the internet penetration reaches the lower strata of the population across emerging markets.

Figures projected are a gigantic 3 billion potential buyers by 2022. That constitutes a great percentage of the total world population.

c) Retail sales coming from emerging markets will amount to 20% of total sales by the year 2022.

As said, ecommerce platforms will have to put robust technology in place in order to turn projections into reality; after all, such growth is possible only if the necessary infrastructure is put in place.

d) B2B is quickly ending the monopoly of B2C as a dominant force in the ecommerce realm. By the end of 2020, projections are that B2B will be adding $6.6 trillion to the coffers of ecommerce sales.

In all likelihood, B2B is likely to imitate B2C more intimately because customers expect it, and if it succeeds in doing so, B2B may just overtake B2C completely.

e) Ecommerce automation will become mainstream going beyond 2020. And for ecommerce, it means plenty of time and workforce saved. Consequently, warehouse investment in robotics is likely to surge.

f) Supply chain management via automation software capable of scheduling inventories and sending timely alerts of when stocks go down, forcing reordering, is the future of eCommerce.

Conclusion

Suffice it to say, just like the word “IMPOSSIBLE” is absent in many a daredevil’s dictionaries, “PERMANENCY” is a forbidden word in the realm of technology.

Nothing remains the same even for a year, leave alone a decade or so. One moment it’s innovation, the next moment it’s become redundant; maybe that is why technology is inherently so dynamic in nature and fast-evolving.

As the congenital extension of the complex maze of technology, ecommerce too grows, breathes innovation, and changes as technology changes.

The ecommerce trends for 2020 that have been enumerated here are footsteps of an open-ended ladder, each step uprooting you from the past, unless you become prey to redundancy.

Yet if you do not cling set of steps the moment they emerge out of nowhere (or at least what seems to be out of nowhere) you risk forfeiting your fortunes anyway!