“Web sales totaled $304.91 billion in 2014, up 15.4% from 2013, according to Commerce Department estimates … Q4 sales of $95.98 billion accounted for 31.4% of full-year web sales.” Internet Retailer
With a huge number of people shopping the web, the e-commerce industry has experienced staggering growth. E-commerce has changed the way people to purchase products and services.
Here’s a look at four innovations that are bound to influence an industry on the rise.
Responsive Web Design
With the inception of e-commerce websites, an online user’s browsing experience suddenly became an imperative consideration factor for website owners. Nowadays more and more technologies and applications are popping up with intent to entice customers to shop across devices.
These technologies render a user-friendly browsing experience across multiple devices that makes the customers’ path to purchase easier than ever before. Wired.com contributor Marcus Wohlson said it best: “If you can get people to buy in the bathroom, you can get them to buy anywhere.” Simply put, to sell online, make it easy to buy in the bathroom.
A few short years ago, QR codes were introduced “to be ‘the next big thing.’ Shop windows, food labels, band fliers, magazine advertisements – those distinct little black-and-white squares were everywhere, vying for our attention.” But for consumers, QR code adoption fell flat.
I wouldn’t count them out just yet. Basically, QR codes offer a reservoir of information and customers who opt-in can gain valuable information and incentives from their favorite companies. QR codes work well for some industries, and once consumers are educated on the true potential of QR codes, and with adoption and integration of technology, it has the potential to disrupt marketing to a larger extent.
Mobile Voice Search
Voice search, finding products on a website with the assistance of your voice, has huge potential. For example, “Outdoor gear and apparel retailer The North Face continues to see strong results from its use of natural language and voice-enabled search, helping its sites across mobile and desktop in several European counties to deliver a 35 percent increase in search conversion rate and 24 percent increase in revenue from search.” (Mobile Commerce Daily)
The use of mobile devices can make online shopping a more tedious process due to smaller screen sizes, and voice search is poised to deliver a better experience. Siri, and Google are taking voice search main stream.
“Before Apple integrated Siri into the iPhone 4s in October 2011, voice search was practically nonexistent,” CIO.com writer James Martin explains. “However, the game changed, and Siri is now built into all new iPhones, iPads, iPod touch media players and the Apple Watch. Google Now, Google’s voice-search technology, debuted in June 2012…” There are pros and cons of voice search, but as technology improves it will contribute to the growth of e-commerce sales.
Virtual Fitting Rooms
Apparel sales growth is a main driver of e-commerce sales. “With retail e-commerce revenue from apparel and accessories expected to reach 86 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, the industry appears to show no signs of slowing down,” according to Statista, a leading online statistics company.
Startups like Fits.me, Metail and Zugara are paving the way for virtual dressing room technology. Companies that are developing virtual fitting room solutions for online clothing retailers will play an important role in e-commerce growth in the years ahead.
Just ask eBay; “the shopping giant announced its purchase of PhiSix Fashion Labs, in 2014. The computer graphics company creates 3D models of clothing from photos and pattern files to simulate the behavior of the garments.
By addressing some of the biggest challenges facing online apparel retailers and brands, virtual fitting rooms enable customers to see how clothes fit and look on them with the help of videos and rich media content. This just might satiate the traditional urge of customers to try before you buy.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Kuldeep Singh Bisht is an entrepreneur running an online marketing site, Semark Media – A Modern Digital Marketing Platform. Connect with @semarkmedia on Twitter.
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