Multichannel yesterday, crosschannel today, omnichannel tomorrow? A few years ago, digitalization was ridiculed, but today two-thirds of retailers see it as an opportunity. Because in the future, shop systems will be much more than just additional sales channels. Where there were still borders between online, offline and mobile back then, today the distribution channels no longer exist side by side, but are combined by consumers in any desired way.
5 megatrends for German e-commerce
Thus, the crosschannel shopping experience is at the top of the list when it comes to customers' expectations. In order to meet these demands, online merchants must respond to changes in user behavior and launch innovative solutions for their online shop. It is therefore important to pick up the customer at exactly the right touchpoint, to supply him with cross-channel products and prices and to consider the overriding megatrends of e-commerce: Only with the best from both the online and offline worlds can retailers position themselves competitively and prepare for the trade of tomorrow. Find out here which future trends are particularly important for online retailers.
Trend 1: Individual personalization
Addressing the personal level - that's what matters. Personalization is becoming a must-have for every online shop, and not without reason: customers no longer want to be anonymously connected to a company. They want online shops that respond specifically to their needs and pick them up with individual content on a personal and emotional level. A real individualization, which is the same as a personal sales talk at the point of sale, can be implemented by intelligent, disruptive technologies. Operational Intelligence, for example, enables data-driven and fully automated playback of individual content and a personalized structure of the online shop for each visitor. Based on various data of situational origin, a separate, individually relevant shop is created for each customer by means of prescriptive analyses. Products and content are placed and sorted there in such a way that they correspond to the current needs of the respective visitor and thus have the highest relevance for him. This guarantees an individual shopping experience. Learn more about the key technology Operational Intelligence.
Not all customers are the same - with individual personalization you offer every visitor a specially designed online shop.
Trend 2: Mobile well positioned
Whether tablet or smartphone -'mobile' is and remains one of the most relevant trends in e-commerce. More and more people are taking the opportunity to shop on the go and make almost as many transactions via their mobile phones as with their desktop PCs. For example, the 'AboutYou' online shop generates more than half of its sales via mobile devices. But what many companies offer their customers for mobile shopping is often out of proportion to the current spirit of digitalization. Customers are no longer willing to accept a shopping experience on their smartphone that does not satisfy them. For this reason, online merchants should quickly start adapting their shops for mobile devices in a user-friendly manner. For companies that have already overcome this hurdle and have already jumped on the mobile shopping bandwagon, it is then necessary to link the individual channels together for a consistent, seamless shopping experience.
Trend 3: Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR)
Especially innovative, but almost mainstream: Augmented Reality. This trend is THE solution for a major problem in e-commerce: trying out and fitting products. Where stationary retail had an advantage, online retail is now following suit. Innovative applications make it possible for customers today to experience products like in real life. An example of this is the virtual fitting of clothing. This tool is a great relief especially for the fashion industry, which is affected by a particularly high return rate. But AR is already being used successfully in other industries as well and makes a product experience possible - in the truest sense of the word. For example, under the motto 'try before you buy', Ikea offers an app that allows customers to live virtually on trial.
Similar to this innovative trend, virtual reality is also an instrument that guarantees customers physical shopping - without getting up from the sofa. AR's big brother goes one step further and enables customers to go shopping by simply wearing VR glasses. The consumer shimmy through the variety of products, can inspect products and feels like in a department store, even though he sits on the couch at home. Online shopping is transmitted through all the senses and guarantees a true shopping experience with a "wow!" effect.
Whether Augmented or Virtual Reality, turn your living room into a shopping mall.
Trend 4: Digitalization in the stationary business
Digitalization is also making its way into the stationary retail sector. Digital services are integrated into the business model and the offline world is linked to the online world - across all channels. The possibilities offered by the interplay of all channels seem almost limitless. The digital bridge to customers can be built particularly successfully with services such as online reservation or the so-called 'Click & Collect'. Customers purchase the products of their choice conveniently online and can then inspect them again at the point of sale and take them with them. Through the direct contact between customer and company that ultimately occurs, a personal relationship can be established that would not be achievable with online purchases.
The fashion giant Zara is an innovative pioneer who skillfully exploits the opportunities of digitalization for its stationary stores. Still in the test phase, but already a customer dream come true: Smart changing cubicles. Each of these booths has a tablet, which can give detailed information about products through a previous scanning process of the articles brought in, tips and advice on sizes and outfits, providing customers with a spectacular shopping experience. In addition, customers have intelligent access to the entire product range and can easily reorder non-existent products.
Trend 5: Innovative logistics
Another trend in online retailing is more likely to take place in the background but is at least as important for e-commerce as all other activities. Especially in a service-oriented company, customers want to enjoy fast orders, direct shipping and simple returns. To meet these ever-increasing demands, online merchants must rely on innovative and smart options. Robots already occupy the rows of shelves in many warehouses not only because of the high customer demands - but also in order to adequately counter the increasing desire to buy and the associated increased personnel deployment. Because where humans reach their limits, robots really get going. The fast and efficient way of working enables the saving of logistical space, cost reductions, continuous processes and direct routes of the goods from the shelf to the shipping station. The next trend is already taking over here: innovative shipping. This is faster, more efficient and is carried out directly on the day of the order. To ensure this new service promise, drones, underground delivery systems and robots are already revolutionizing the world of delivery services through tests.
Logistics of the future: Whether tunnels, robots or drones - everything is possible to deliver the parcels to their recipients.