We might be halfway through 2017, but there’s no better time than the present to look at what technological trends the year has produced so far. If you’re planning on working out a winning sales strategy for 2018, the trends that have developed or grown this year will give you a good indication of what to focus on for the next.
And in the world of ever-improving artificial intelligence, simpler browsing and checkout systems, and faster methods of delivery, it’s important to be on top of what’s making the user-experience even better so that you can continually improve sales and grow your business. Here are the three technological trends making waves this year, and how they will help your future sales.
While drones have been around for years as a recreational tool, 2017 has seen the use of drones in eCommerce. Amazon have started Amazon Prime Air, a delivery service that will send packages to customers within 30 minutes or less of the order being placed, via a drone. The service is still in its testing phase within certain cities within the UK, but, if it works out, it could very likely become a global and easily accessible delivery option for merchants.
As shopping online becomes simpler and faster, so too will consumers expect delivery to be completed quickly. According to Brandwatch, 29 per cent of consumers are willing to pay more for same-day delivery. If the testing phase goes well, using drones for delivery will soon become a trend to catch on to. The faster and simpler your service, the more likely customers will choose your brand.
Similar to drones, artificial intelligence (AI) has also been around for some time. We see it in Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant, and it allows computers the ability to communicate with humans in analytical and problem-solving ways. Also known as conversational commerce, artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots are becoming an increasingly popular technological medium used by merchants to engage with customers.
A chatbot can come in the form of a messaging service based on a website, with a human persona, that pops up to inform the customer that it is available to chat if they have any questions or concerns.
Why is simulated AI making waves in 2017? In the age of personalisation, interaction with customers becomes more important by the day. Customers now expect a personalised service, to be able to speak to a member of the merchant’s team straight from their website, a team member that has a face, a name, and is genuinely interested in providing a good service.
While this may not work or be necessary for every eCommerce store, it is one way to provide a more personal service to your customers, particularly for cross border ecommerce customers who are unable to visit your office physically or easily pick up the phone to discuss their concerns due to fears over high overseas call rates.
While mobile certainly isn’t a new topic, the technology to enable a seamless user-experience continues to grow in leaps and bounds. According to eCommerce Week, mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic at 62 per cent, and this is no surprise as 2017 has seen a growth in the mobile payments technology that has started to make the mobile shopping experience far more simple.
The increased use of payment gateways has made the checkout process on mobile devices more secure, and simpler for customers. Customers no longer have to take out their credit or debit cards when buying a product, no longer have to re-type sensitive information on multiple pages and are offered secure use of their information. This type of customer service is highly valuable in a time where customers expect a convenient, quick and safe online shopping experience.
eCommerce is a fast-growing field, so keeping on top of the relevant technology will ultimately give your business the advantage. Drones, AI and mobile technologies are currently the fastest growing technologies globally, and while they might not all be widely accessible at the moment it’s best to keep an eye on their progress as you figure out your sales strategy for 2018.