A Brighter Digital Tomorrow - The Online Store of the Future
By Peter Prestipino, Editor-In-Chief
To see what’s in store for the future of the Web, look no further than the e-commerce industry. Digital retailers know firsthand that the technology currently in play within that vertical almost always defines what happens outside of it – from information publishing to Web-based service providers.
The needs of those in e-commerce in many ways drives technology development as online sellers are perpetually looking for greater efficiency, deeper engagement and loyalty from consumers and, of course, more conversions. Retailers are employing a variety of interesting new technologies and capitalizing on some innovative development to do so. Let’s explore what is shaping the future of the online store and guide your e-commerce enterprise to a brighter tomorrow.
The Data-Driven Retailer
The pace of data creation is phenomenal. Domo released an infographic (wsm.co/1s9qqNu) in early 2014 highlighting what happens in an Internet minute and it reveals the role that data will inevitably play within the future e-commerce enterprise. For example, Pinterest users today pin nearly 35,000 images every minute, over 4 million search queries are conducted at Google and more than 204 million emails are sent. As you might imagine, that’s a lot of data and it’s only going to increase with time.
Fortunately, companies have for years aggregated, cleansed and stored vast quantities of data about user interactions and other e-commerce variables (e.g. preferences), but it remains a cumbersome process. In the future, the savviest online retail enterprises will aim to not just use big data, but also make more intelligent decisions faster in the scope of the user experience. In essence, big data presents the opportunity to influence every decision made within the enterprise. For example, retailers will know how much to spend on a keyword during a brief 10-minute window, or which customer to offer a discount/promotion based on his or her propensity to convert.
Discover several leading big data solutions for the everyday e-commerce retailer at wsm.co/ebigdata.
Stay In The Digital Know...
The digital world of online retail moves fast, but if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you may miss something really important. Stay up to date on the most interesting trends, tactics and technology developments in Website Magazine’s E-Commerce Express channel on the ‘Net at wsm.co/channele.
Experience & Expectations
It is not just retailers that are becoming more sophisticated, but consumers as well. Today’s online shoppers engage in a far more rigorous journey in researching and purchasing products on the Web. Consumers are moving freely between channels, which makes creating the optimal experience far more complicated (and a major reason why big and better data is playing an ever more important role for retailers). While it is nearly impossible for even the most experienced e-commerce professional to predict how users behavior patterns will change, those that are building out richer profiles of customers and more detailed histories of activity right now are those that will be best positioned to develop digital experiences for consumers regardless of how their expectations may change in the future.
See seven creative and compelling e-commerce experiences from lesser-known retailers at wsm.co/7ecommexp.
Metrics & Measuring Differently
With more (and better) data and more engaging experiences, the future online store will simply not look much like the one from today.
Think for a moment about how your own enterprise has determined digital success (or failure). It’s common for those just getting started to measure (anything and everything) in aggregate, maturing their approach into a more refined view over time. To excel in the future, however, online merchants must shift the approach they take from measuring only the key business and operational performance metrics (read more in this month’s E-commerce Express column on page 16) into an analytics framework that puts each customer at the center. When a value is placed on individual consumers, it is easier to determine what each specific customer is worth and how many customers at that valuation are needed to growth the business.
The Future is…Coming
No matter how hard you might try, the future is coming. While it’s safe to assume that retailers in 10 or 20 years will be able to take greater advantage of the data they collect, use it to shape customer experiences and measure the success of their enterprises, no one really knows what the future will be like. While it’s certainly possible that each and every consumer will be equipped with a virtual reality headset (complete with tactile sensors to better experience goods) and ordered products will be received near instantaneously thanks to locally dispatched delivery drones, what should not change is the focus that sellers put on buyers – retailers that put consumers first today will always be those closer to achieving success tomorrow.
News of Note...
Faster Product Indexing Comes to Magento with SearchSpring Module wsm.co/springseo
Digital Wallet MasterPass Comes to 3dcart Stores wsm.co/3dmaster
BigCommerce Get Real-time with Analytics wsm.co/realbiganalytics
Quicker Checkout with LevelUp & WooCommerce wsm.co/levelupwoo