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The new year brings with it new technological advances, new trends, new stories. For every industry, predicting the shift in trends and staying ahead of them is the only way to survive and thrive in the changing world. Ecommerce as we see now has gone beyond selling something to building a relationship through a series of interactions and is not limited to digital landscape.

1. Personalization & Customer Experience

Personalization & Customer Engagement are the main arteries of a business arterial system. The more oxygenated blood it carries aka more proactive, efficient personalization & customer engagement, the better the system. Brands now are looking at building a shopping experience around the customer rather than their product shelves. Suggesting products/services that seem more relevant to the customer, helping them find quickly what they are looking for, offering relevant information & discounts, thereby creating a positive relationship is the trend that is emerging. Be sure to capitalize on the same in your ecommerce.

2. Bridging the gap between in-store & online mediums

Technological advances like AI, Machine Learning & Augmented Reality help bridge the gap between an in-store and digital mediums. The biggest drawback of shopping online through written measurements from a customer point of view is that they are unable to imagine the product’s look & fit in their lair. But that is changing with Augmented Reality. Now consumers can easily look at how an object will fit in their lair and make a purchasing decision.

From the sellers point of view, they had been unable to link the success of digital marketing to their actual store footfalls. But now brands can also easily measure  their in-store ROI through digital ads by combining personalization, social media, mobile devices, location tracking and payment with advanced analytics.

3. Conversational Commerce

The focal point of any business is how it interacts with its customers. Today customers are everywhere and hence businesses need to be everywhere to cater to them. This shift in business has led to the popularity of AI chat bots which can become an integral and powerful part of a customer’s journey. Chat bots can help you create brand awareness by keeping your audience informed. Your customers can be helped by bots to discover their product from a list of options, to buy and record reviews. Machine Learning & AI together can be a powerful tool in improving shopping experience and suggest timely services/products to customers. If you are all for the idea of individual marketing or relationship, then chatbots are what you have to look at.

4. Voice Shopping

Google Home, Amazon Echo…as the list grows, the way consumers approach a brand also changes.  It is predicted that by 2020, that 50% of searches will be voice searches. Anything that improves customer experience is a must to look at.

5. Image Shopping

Instead of using words to search for the items they need to purchase, consumers are going to get the comfort of searching with images. Customers can take a picture of Deepika Padukone’s attire and search for the exact product online. eBay has already integrated this to allow their customers to use their own photos or other images to search for similar products. This is going to be a must for Lifestyle ecommerce sites.

6. Getting to your customers

Consumers using Voice and Image Search will change SEO entirely. Companies not only have to cater to these demands but also find the appropriate SEO approaches to let their consumers get to them.

7. New face of Brick & Mortar Stores

A new breed of in-store experiences based on digital are springing up. Amazon – Quick shopping with no queues; Nordstrom – No to merchandise but yes to brand experience with manicures, juices, tailoring ; Frank And Oak – Pop-up shops; Casper – Coffee & babershop services of a menswear brand – We see brands coming up with their own concepts of fusion. New store features &  great customer experience will be on a roll this year.

Axel Balakrishnan

Written By Axel Balakrishnan

Axel is a co-founder of Codelattice and heads the MARCOMM unit. Perfection in creativity is his motto. He frequently blogs his thoughts on Branding, social media, strategy and Marketing. You can connect with him through axel@codelattice.com

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