Merging Advanced Technologies, Modernizing Businesses, Reshaping the Future
The internet, tailor-made apps and mobile devices have certainly changed the way we shop whether it be food, clothes or cars — consumers are more educated, technology savvy and are interested in a more personal approach. Today, many people have moved from retail to online due to the convenience, expediency and ease that online offers. However, many customers admit that online is informal, impersonal and lonely.
A total of 96% of Americans have made online purchases and 80% have done so in the last month. When individuals are searching for products online — 85% of their search begins on Amazon or Google using a mobile device.
Ecommerce has changed the world and how we see it — with 24/7, 365 days of buying and selling opportunities. Online shopping provides loads of online education and for businesses there is not geographical limitation. Consumers have access to a wealth of local and global information.
Businesses can increase market share by increasing the customer base and offers consumers entertainment including bridging gaps across continents. Individuals can purchase digital goods like music, videos, software, audiobooks, photography, e-courses, graphics, digital art and e-books instantaneously and companies don’t have to pay for employee payroll expenses.
The social impact is enormous — electronic business and online shopping has become intertwined in all aspects of our daily lives. It’s estimated that 95% of purchases will be made online by 2040. Ecommerce was responsible for $2.3 trillion in sales, which is expected to nearly double to $4.5 trillion by 2021. Companies can gain new customers with search engine visibility, have lower costs on rent, utilities and maintenance with higher capability for products as e-business opens new markets.
Ecommerce is rapidly changing and faster than ever before and AI is a leading player — transforming online businesses in powerful ways. In a recent study by Business Insider — 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020 and AI will be the driving force behind these new changes — touching all areas of our life. AI replicates the actions of humans without the fatigue, feelings and time restrictions with error free results and zero mistakes.
Best Examples of Artificial Intelligence in Ecommerce
Gives businesses a way to sense, predict, automate and even understand the consumer and then deliver a more personalize experience for every individual. Enhances products, optimizes processes, opens new markets, automates workflows, informing the creation of new products. Allows businesses to study and acquire customer’s behaviors and habits. AI-based technology enables other technologies seamlessly together and AI is the tool that connects voice search, predictive analytics and chatbot, let’s just say —it’s the brains behind everything.
Can re-route deliveries, change delivery arrival times and adjusts customer orders and checks for accuracy and efficiency. Personalizes the customer journey – utilizing these personalized strategies — companies see an increase in sales by 10%, a rate 3 times faster than retailers.
People search products using their own voice and conversational language or images, just like talking with a real person. AI boosts profitability rate by 59% in wholesale/retail industries. Emails can be automatically generated with content and subject lines chosen by AI.
Collaborative Filtering and Next-In Sequence models can make predictions on goods —AI knows when a customer may need product, resulting in teams making better decisions. Companies use AI algorithms to quickly see small success projects take off. It processes raw text by incorporating predictive models that are created, tested and refined and then saved as reusable analytical assets for operational use and can be used for piloting projects.
Insights and recommendations are created as visualizations, dashboards and reports. Data scrutinized across topics, history and demographics utilizing call logs, voice mail, social profiles, blogs, newspaper articles, calendars, cell phones, white papers, reports all considered unstructured data and it’s worth for companies to spend the time to organize the data in a logical way.
Improves email campaign by predicting the most effective time and day to send customer emails by analyzing customer data, conversion rates, opening rates and engagement rates. This technology allows companies to reduce fraud, improves supply chain management, target recommendations and promotions, determines the highest a customer will pay for product. It enhances business intelligence and increases sales.
Any technology that can improve pricing management, understand pricing trends by looking at historical data on products, studying competitor pricing, past sales and customer history — is extremely powerful. Predictive Analytics optimizing pricing to maximize profits by offering products at the right pricing, at the right time and has after sales service support capabilities.
This technology has a 95% accuracy rate. Voice search is the next big thing in ecommerce with conversational voice technology. Websites are redesigned to accommodate on-site search capabilities. Individuals can use natural language search queries or conversational style speaking that are understood by the search engine. No typing anymore in the search box, just talking will do the trick — and amazingly your product appears instantly. Voicebot reports show 1 in 4 shoppers used voice search, however we don’t speak search the same way we type search.
Ecommerce sites are restructured and optimized according to the evolving user journey. 70% of inquiries into Google Assistant are worded in natural language, so think real-life conversations when optimizing your site.
Subscription-Based Business Models
Subscription-based Ecommerce is exploding and have gained a lot of traction with the ease of monthly automated direct debit and the excitement of monthly products delivered. Subscription has become the new and exciting offer, enticing consumers by offering personalized boxes right to their door. From food boxes to shavers and from pet products to makeup. This is a booming business model and lucrative way to bring in millions. It has high staying power to lure in new customers through word of mouth and has a super high success rate. Many companies are turning their business to box delivery service — with 5.7 million subscription box shoppers in the US alone.
Social commerce is without a doubt a lot more a socially engaging experience from Facebook to Instagram – consumers are easily hooked with brightly colored graphics — all while on their favorite social platform. People are loving this way of purchasing items are displayed with short videos to drive the message — there is no denying the potential for social feeds to drive instant sales. The biggest players in social selling is Facebook with 2.23 billion, YouTube with 1.9 billion, Instagram with 1 billion, Messenger with 1.3 billion.
Social selling attracts 45% more business opportunities with 51% more likely to reach quotas. Social selling has more influence than peers. Consistent social selling increases sales goals by 40% than non-social sellers — it generates leads and creates a deeper relationship and gives consumers better access to information about companies and products they sell.
The top 100 brands engage in social selling with 98% on Twitter, 96% on Facebook and 85% on Instagram. Consumers feel comfortable purchasing through social selling by companies and believe they are thought leaders or the authority in their industry; just by viewing social selling on a social platform.
Chatbots is super smart way to go for businesses — saves time and provides fast, automated answers to most questions. Customers receive answers instantly, instead of waiting days for someone to call. It’s saves companies money when implemented on ecommerce site and cheaper than hiring workers. The cost to have Chatbot built is between $2K – $4K, depending on the complexity. Provides greater customer satisfaction and they are always available for online customers. It’s a very affordable option and easy to implement. The ROI for Chatbots are extremely high with 1000% return, huge revenue gains with bot.
Customers can ask questions in the middle of the night; early morning. You don’t need to pay overtime, 401K, vacation time or sick time. Businesses can reach more people which increases customer base and Chatbots cuts down on errors. Chatbots always respond politely and courteously, no bad mood to deal with. Businesses can add a bit of humor, so they can sound humanlike.
Businesses and consumers love this from of pay system due to the payment process is super easy and purchasing is seamless. The cost for a business to have a mobile card reader or barcode scanner is easy and offers another option for customers. Consumers pay for products or services using their smartphone or mobile device. Convenience, speed, security, safety are top reasons this tool has become popular.
Many companies are struggling to be competitive, sell more but with weakening profitability, executives are concerned. Companies are looking to new technologies like artificial intelligence to analyze data, reduce errors and can complete impossible tasks with precision, accuracy and speed.
Some of the strongest companies like Starbucks are feeling the pain with slowing sales growth and shrinking operating income. Many executives are worried and for good reason. Starbucks is literally on every street corner with a total of 14,000 in the US — it has surpassed McDonalds. In June, Starbucks announced the closing of 150 stores by end of 2019.
Many executives are looking to AI to help them analyze customer data in new ways. Ecommerce is using AI to reduce the time it takes to perform a complicated, high-volume, computerized task with reliability. With the ability to multi-task with consistent performance across multiple AI machines and works 24/7 without interruption — companies are adding this to their systems. It’s no wonder this technology is reshaping the future.
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Top Ecommerce Companies
- Amazon – Highest revenue generating/world’s largest online. Net sales $233 billion 2018
- Alibaba – Net worth reach US $550 billion, 3 web portals Alibaba, Taobao, and Tmall
- eBay, Inc. – Total sales volume $37.52 billion 2018
- Jingdong – Net revenue reach 134.8 billion 2018
A recent survey showed shoppers are still frustrated and disappointed with retail shopping and are looking for a “feel good” experience. They demand convenience and expect products delivered to their door step promptly and in record time. Amazon has been able to do just that — and has changed shoppers with a more personalized approach with daily product recommendations combined with same-day deliveries.
Mobile devices are creating more educated sales people with Surface Pro 4 delivering detailed product information that directly drives foot traffic to stores by offering smart recommendations to in-store customers. Microsoft Dynamics 365 on mobile devices — retail teams can check inventory/stock levels instantly without ever leaving the customer’s side. Retailers can view a customer’s purchasing history and recommend products based on preference.
Technologies Impacting Offline — Retail Shopping
Beacons – Will enhance in-store experience, bridging your physical and online experience together. Content can be pushed to your phone if the person has Bluetooth enabled and the retail app downloaded to their phone. The beacon is a small, battery-operated wireless device that transmit signals to smartphones nearby. If you’re looking for discounts or need a sales clerk; this is where beacon technology comes to assist the shopper. Beacons track customers in-store movements and they can help individuals find merchandise faster and alert customers of coupons and offer targeted discounts.
Virtual Reality – Is a major game changer with instant, real-time and real-life access from anywhere in the world with a headset — customers can now walk down aisles of retail stores and add items in a virtual cart.
Facial Recognition – A customer will be identified as soon as they enter a store and — stores now can give a more personalized, customized experience. Facial Recognition uses 16,000 reference points taken from your phone — stores will now know what types of products you buy and what your average spend is. Emotions will be able to be identified from frustrated facial expressions — staff will be immediately notified to respond. Retailers reach a break-even point in 8-10 months/2.2X ROI in 4 years is how quickly it pays for itself. It’s the next generation technology with tremendous growth and has significant reduction in shoplift crime by 91% and has real time alerts resulting in 20X more scalable.
Robot Assistants – Smart Robots will have names with mobile arms to help pick out merchandise for customers and retails can save on shelving space by merchandising vertically. Mostly will be used as personal assistants to help guide a customer in their shopping spree. This technology is built with 3D scanners that provide a more holistic retail experience and will help with cross-site comparisons, competitive prices. Best Buy implemented a customer-facing robotic named Chloe to collect movies, games, music, headphones, chargers and phone cases for consumers.
US/Global Online Shopping Ecommerce Statistics
2019 In the US, 1.92 billion people will buy online
2019 Global Ecommerce sales is expected to hit the $3 trillion mark
2019 There are estimated to be 224 million digital shoppers in the US
2020 US Ecommerce sales are predicted as high as $670 billion
2021 Consumers worldwide will spend up to $4.8 trillion online
2021 72% of shopping transactions will occur on a mobile device
Top Largest Ecommerce Markets – Transaction Percentage
China: $672 billion
USA: $340 billion – US global share is expected to be down by 16.9%
UK: $99 billion
Japan: $79 billion
Germany: $73 billion
France: $43 billion
53% of transactions are credit cards
43% of transaction are digital payment
38% of transactions are debit card
Ecommerce Shopping Stats by Age – Breaking Down Consumer Behavior
43% of online shoppers make purchases while in bed
23% of purchases are done at the office
20% shopped online from the bathroom or in the car
14% of customers report purchasing online while drunk by men
42% regret making an online purchase
21% accidently bought something they didn’t want
48% of online shoppers have overspent or bought something unplanned
85% of customers purchase on a device or smartphone
57% of individuals have made an online purchase from an overseas retailer
Generation Z’ers – Born 1997 – Present – Ages 21 and under
- 75% shop online
- Prefer to shop online and mostly use web devices
- They demand accessibility, expediency and simplicity
- Biggest online shoppers
Generation Y’ers / Millennials – Born between 1981 – 1996 – Ages 23 to 34
- 67% shop online and spend more money online than in retail
- Men dominate the stats, spending 28% more than women shopping online
- 79% admit they have discovered new brands, products and services on their smartphone
- Brands target this group on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram – 63% is spent online
Generation X’ers – Born 1965 – 1980 – Ages 35 to 54
- 56% shop online – they are skeptical shoppers, don’t like flashy tactics
- Prefer online to brick and mortar – Research online / but buy offline
- They spend hours online learning about products they are interested in
- Facebook is their favorite past time – email is the best way to reach them
Baby Boomers – Born 1946-1964 – Ages 55-74
- 66% are active online shoppers
- Products can successfully be pushed via email
- They have big buying power with greater disposable income
- They want convenience and are less likely or willing to explore in-store new products
- 28% of seniors 65 and over shop online – Amazon is targeting this group with a new easy to navigate platform.
Remember: Companies need to have a clear idea, goal and ecommerce tool implementation strategy when using any of these new technologies. Developing a roadmap for both short-and long-term implementation goals will keep the team moving forward.
Don’t forget: Executives need to hire data scientists to manage the AI projects that require data, machine learning and technology knowledgeable experts working in harmony to form a cohesive vision. AI output is only as good as the input collected and tracked accurately — companies need to be committed to collecting, storing and understanding data.
Realize: AI software can be delivered to businesses as an intelligence layer in various ways from mining social data to driving engagement in CRM to optimizing logistics. AI embedded within an app to a voice-controlled device or website, including several more options. Just identify the problems you first want AI to solve, and then go from there; bring in experts and set up a pilot project — but remember to start small.
Consider: The trends that were discussed in this article were chosen because each one is hugely successful. You only need to pick one or two to make an impact on your business from AI software to the subscription box model — both can easily be implemented.
Have your team research enterprise solution-based IT consulting firms that primarily focus on building technology applications and web development — and provides technology services to help you achieve your ecommerce, mobile and technology goals. You want a firm to deliver outstanding, high quality service and support with exceptional customer service and project management expertise to help you through the process.
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