5 Issues eCommerce Needs To Address In 2018

Stuart Elmes

If we know one thing about eCommerce, it’s that the marketplace is constantly embracing new technologies and shaking off whatever isn’t working. Change is constant, and the way successful brands do business is constantly evolving. 

What can we see changing soon? You’re about to find out. 

Here are 5 issues eCommerce needs to address in 2018

 

1) Voice Interface

As we have previously noted, voice shopping is poised to experience massive growth in the coming months. A recent Walker Sands study found that 1 in 3 consumers planned to make a voice purchase sometime this year. You can rest assured that brands are taking note, and developing ways to integrate voice searches into their campaigns. Andrew Mimault, senior digital media specialist at Chacka Marketing notes that “Voice and pay-per-click will merge in the same way we’ve seen programmatic buy placements with television.”

As advertisers figure out the best ways to exploit this technology, look for more integration between voice search and screens. As Judge Graham, CMO of Ansira notes, “Retail is a highly visual space. Consumers may use home assistants to place their usual and routine Amazon orders or fulfil their Amazon Fresh grocery lists, but for larger and more unique retail purchases, mobile and desktop shopping will remain essential.” In order to realize its potential as an eCommerce tool, brands will have to attempt to convince shoppers through purely audio cues, or they’ll need to seamlessly integrate digital assistants and screens. As a recent Channel Advisor article states, “Digital assistants are essentially gateways to the internet and could leverage these other screens to create new shopping experiences. For example, that smart TV that you own could provide the visual aspect of shopping using a digital assistant.”

In order to convince the masses that voice shopping is THE FUTURE, Amazon, Apple and their ilk need to present, and sell the public on, a standard way to buy with voice. People need to be comfortable before they pull their wallets out.

 

2) Delivery Issues

As Amazon continues to invest heavily in logistics, delivery times are getting shorter and shorter. With one and two hour delivery available in certain cities, same day delivery is something Amazon has led consumers to expect, if not demand. If brands are hoping to compete in eCommerce, they’ll need to either develop a supply chain capable of same-day delivery, or offer their products to consumers in other exciting and appealing ways. Clothing giant Zara, for instance, has launched a pop-up “click and collect store” in East London, where customers can grab their online purchases, and take care of any return, exchange, or customer service concerns. As one company executive noted, “the opening marks another milestone in our strategy of integrating our stores with the online world, which defines our identity as a business.” We feel brands would be wise to either create a supply chain capable of instantly delivering products, or to boldly experiment with new ways for consumers to pick up their purchases.

 

3) The Convenience Gap

If you’re buying a plane ticket, you’d much rather use your phone or desk-top than visit a travel agent. When you’re buying a bottle of wine, it seems easier to walk to the shop on the corner than fill in payment information forms with an online retailer. The exact same action seems incredibly convenient in one setting, and daunting in another. While voice shopping technology and grocery store apps exist, they still haven’t taken hold in the popular imagination as THE way to buy things. However, as AI and voice shopping develop, we are confident that they will reach that point. It is incumbent on brands to offer consumers an option that is clearly more convenient than all others, and those that do will be rewarded handsomely. Apps like Adimo Voice are emerging, and they will offer consumers the chance to purchase their favourite product from their favourite retailer by simply uttering a sentence long voice command. If saying “Alexa, buy my favourite ice cream” can deliver it to your door in an hour, you probably won’t be visiting a website, let alone a store.

 

4) Privacy

Following the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal, consumers and regulators are taking a closer look at how their data is collected and used by social media and ecommerce services. The American FTC seems poised to regulate all manner of web businesses, and in the EU the General Data Protection Regulation will kick in this month. The new European laws will apply to all companies that sell products or collect data from EU citizens, and the maximum penalties for failing to protect privacy will be 20 million Euros or 4% of annual revenue. While American retailers are not required by law to have a privacy policy, it is safe to assume that consumers will begin to demand more in terms of data protection and online anonymity. Brands will be wise to establish consumer trust through policies that fiercely protect their consumers’ valuable data.

 

5) Personalisation

According to Forbes, 94% of brands say that “delivering personalization is critical or important to reaching customers.” Personalisation done right allows you to leverage consumer data to hit your customers with recommendations, promotions, and product information that will dramatically improve your conversion rates. However, when it is clumsily used to bombard consumers with useless information, they’re likely to take umbrage. A recent study found that “81% of consumers say relevance is a key in whether or not they redeem promotions, while 75% are not happy to receive generic offers.” Brands need to develop personalization strategies that correctly apply data collected from all of a consumer’s devices, and use that data selectively to send consumers helpful information when they are likely to act on it. Brands also need to be very aware of the privacy concerns of consumers and regulators, and find ways to use the information they collect in a way that won’t irritate or alienate their customers. Threading this needle will be a key to thriving in eCommerce during the coming months.

We at Adimo are excited to meet the challenges facing eCommerce retailers in 2018, and for many years in the future. If you need to know more about overcoming any of these challenges, feel free to contact us!