E-commerce continues its relentless, global growth surge and there are some fascinating developments and trends helping to drive the momentum.
As one of those most experienced and prolific e-commerce website developers within the UK, we quite regularly receive a number of common questions from our clients around the latest trends, such as;
- What are others doing differently?
- Are there any latest technologies we should be considering?
- How can we enhance the Customer Experience?
- What else could we be doing better?
And those discussions have rather inspired this post, within which we cover the answers to the above, and indeed a bit more clarity around the latest trends, that seem to be on decision makers’ minds within the fast-moving e-commerce sector.
The best way to present opinions nowadays seems to be in a good-old list form, so here goes:
1) The pursuit of Customer Service Excellence
E-commerce sites, generally, have come a long way over the last decade in helping to bridge the lack of face-to-face interaction provided by a traditional retail outlet, with proactive focus on providing a positive online User Experience.
As ever of course, the user/customer expectations rise and a satisfactory online User Experience is now expected, with quite eye-watering statistics indicating that if the User Experience is regarded as inadequate, the user won’t hang about and be straight onto a competitor site, unlikely to return.
At Phoenix, we are delighted that the majority of our clients are not interested in delivering ‘good’. They want to deliver ‘excellent’.
Increasingly Personalised Shopping Experiences are the goal here, combining previously captured data around interests, online behaviours and of course buying habits, to drive proactive, beneficial communications and automated interaction, through Chatbots for example (such as suggestions, recommendations) during an actual online visit.
2) B2B E-commerce
Data from the USA this year is pointing to the likelihood that by 2020, the Global B2B E-commerce sector is expected to have a combined turnover of $6.6 Trillion, with no slow-down expected on the horizon… we can therefore safely say B2B is a HUGE current trend for e-commerce!
After many years of supporting clients with the successful development and enhancement of their B2B e-commerce sites, we can confidently announce that the B2B e-commerce user is no less expectant or demanding, when it comes to their onsite experience.
3) Interactive Product Visualisation
For some time now, a huge focus for developing competitive advantage across the best e-commerce sites, is the utilisation of cutting-edge technology and software to present products in such a way that the Customer gains the level of confidence in the products they expect to receive, comparable to the High Street experience.
In 2019, like other sector-leading developers around the world, Phoenix Digital are helping clients to meet these latest customer expectations, through the use of technology such as Virtual Reality, 3D Video and most excitingly, Visual Modification of the on-screen product to instantly represent the customer’s personalised requirements (think purchasing Nike/Adidas trainers for example).
4) Mobile Customer Demand and Expectations
The development of a leading desktop E-commerce site is only half the battle nowadays. A recent cross-sector survey shows that over 38% of e-commerce customers are now utilising mobile as their device of choice in the UK… and that number is growing quickly.
It is very much the opinion across the team here at Phoenix Digital, that the ability to present the same (or better) level of User Experience for a mobile device as that of a desktop, is a niche art amongst digital developers. As clients such as Argos would testify, we very much class ourselves amongst them.
5) E-commerce infrastructure being used to enhance the in-store experience
Perhaps a sentence some never thought they’d read!
You could be forgiven from reading the business press nowadays, that E-commerce and High Street retail are playing out a battle to the death (with the High Street seemingly about to receive the death knoll). However, if customer retail behaviour over the past few years has demonstrated anything, it’s that they demand choice and options which suit their requirements, at any particular time.
E-commerce users rarely ONLY purchase online or on the High Street. Most use both, as and when it suits them.
As such, at Phoenix Digital, we find it perfectly logical that some of the Digital Development that we have been involved with recently for our clients, is ALSO helping to enhance the Customer Experience within the High Street environment as well. We think this will be an increasingly common trend too.
A prime example of this is the Product Return support site that our team built for Argos, which has been embedded into the main Argos e-commerce site. The development includes full product descriptions, 3D and in-use videos, technical summaries, visual modifications and more. Such is the ease of use, speed of processing and clarity that the support site contains, Argos now utilise the technology by default for their in-store teams to help handle all of their customer product queries.
A client’s perspective:
“Phoenix Digital are extremely easy to work with. The team very quickly became a valuable addition to our marketing department, providing an exceptional level of digital knowledge and day-to-day support.”
Jane Kinsley, Russell & Russell Solicitors