The future lies in e-commerce. With the help of marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Co, the way into cross-border commerce is paved. This year, many companies have the internationalization of their business on the agenda. Yet with the large amount of offers in e-commerce, competitive pressure is growing and companies need to constantly evolve in order to attract and retain customers. In this article, we introduce you to the most important e-commerce trends.
Big Data – Knowing Customer Needs
With the help of tracking systems, companies can minutely understand the movements of consumers in their online shop. Did the customer come to the site via advertising? Did he explicitly look for the shop? Had the user visited the site before? Which products did he look at, which ones did he buy? All these questions can be easily answered with the technology available today. So far, companies are giving away valuable potential which should be raised. Only those who know the needs of their (potential) customers can meet those and subsequently position themselves successfully on the market in the long term.Especially when entering new markets – such as entering the European market – profound knowledge of the customers‘ needs is critical to success.
Improving the Customer Experience with AI
The insights gained through Big Data should be actively exploited this year in order to stand out from the competition. Artificial intelligence can help you with this. At the end of last year, for example, Amazon, the industry giant, presented the “Echo Look”. A virtual fashion assistant that analyzes the user’s outfit with the help of algorithms plus a “real” human stylist give personalized fashion advice.”Echo Look” is still a pilot project, but companies should not miss the wink and test the use of AI for their company at an early stage. After all, customers are increasingly expecting their online shopping to be an experience. Using AI, businesses have many ways to enhance the customer experience: from the virtual avatar, to enhanced and personalized product visualization, to a walk through a virtual furniture store using virtual reality goggles – the evolution of AI is still believed to be in its infancy. Experts explain AI as the “foremost e-commerce revolution” which will change the market profoundly. Companies should now lay the foundation.
The Customer is King – even on the Net
Even – or especially on – the internet, the customer is king. This applies to customers in Germany and abroad, for the B2C as well as the B2B sector. Especially in the luxury segment there is often uncertainty as far as the authenticity of the offered products is concerned. Here, a detailed, error-free product description written in the local language, as well as an interactive and detailed product presentation help to give the consumer the necessary security and a positive shopping experience.In addition, you can stand out from the competition with an excellent service and the active valuing of your customers. An individual address where you position yourself as an experienced contact person with problem-solving skills, as well as after-sales support are just as much part of this, as are a sophisticated and high-quality processing of the shop and the products.
Brand Building – “Politization”
To keep the customer loyal to your brand in the long term, good brand building is essential. The trend is moving towards “politicization”: companies and brands are increasingly positioninging themselves on political or social issues such as sustainability, body positivity, etc. What was unthinkable a few years ago is now being propagated by major brands such as Nike, Dove, Fossil or Zara. The aim is the identification of the customers with the brand, far beyond the individual product. The top priority, however, is authenticity: companies should check very carefully whether and which political or social agenda suits them and their present public perception – anything else would be counterproductive.
Due to the huge competition in e-commerce, a battle to win over and retain customers has flared up. Therefore, the focus should be on the customer and the improvement of the customer experience. The goal is to retain customers in the long term. Companies that analyze customer behavior using big data and individualize their offerings with the aid of artificially intelligent systems will be more successful than those who do not use these technologies. However, it is important to take country-specific features into account. This applies to both, the sometimes very different needs of customers in the various European countries, as well as to the legal framework, especially for the collection of data. If companies are aware of this, nothing stands in the way of a successful e-commerce year.