E-commerce has come a long way since the early days of the dot-com era of the late 90s. What was once a few brave souls attempting to forge a path in a completely new arena has now become an entirely new ecosystem, home to everything from juggernauts such as Amazon and Alibaba, all the way down to the smallest jewelry seller on Etsy.
While some things such as the standard shopping cart and “check-out now” button have hardly changed in the past twenty-five years, the rest of e-commerce has gone lightyears ahead of what it once was. Today, we’ll examine some of the upcoming trends in e-commerce that have some exciting potential to make e-commerce even more popular, and we’ll take a look at which ones will stand the test of time with e-commerce business insights and which ones will fade into memory.
Here are some of the newest trends in e-commerce today, as well as a few that are definitely still in the research and development phases:
While AI has long been part of the internet to track and understand your likes and dislikes to better serve your advertisements, AI is poised to make an even bigger impact in the coming years. The best analytics tools for e-commerce are already using AI to suggest personalized products and offer automatic fulfillment based on your previous regular purchases, similar to Amazon’s current subscription model for certain products, but on an even more microscopic level of detail. AI models work with activation functions which in turn help to activate neural networks when needed to do the task and get the best results
Based on social media posting patterns, AI can even learn what mood you are in and thus serve your impulse purchases to meet your current mood and feeling by feeding your need for instant gratification.
Speaking of AI, many folks dislike chatbots–but expect this trend to continue in the future as more and more websites offer chatbots to assist in the shopping experience. What was once seen as dull and simple has now made amazing advancements through the continuous development of AI. Very soon, a chatbot may become so good that you might not know you aren’t really chatting with Tom, the customer service agent at the company’s headquarters.
Privacy Versus Relevant Results and More Expensive Ads
A major wave of privacy legislation has been coming out of governments around the world when it comes to big data having access to your data. Whether opt-in or opt-out, outright bans on tracking, or enough legalese to make you nauseous, privacy is at the forefront of the debate on internet advertising and the monetization of customer information. Even Apple themselves has started cracking down on tracking its customers by allowing iPhone users to opt out of tracking entirely.
Due to these new trends, digital marketing costs are skyrocketing. Because digital marketing is typically paid “per eyeball,” meaning a business only pays when a consumer sees their ad, many businesses could get hyper-specific in their target demographics and only pay a small fee for the very specific users they wanted to target.
Because of the crackdown on privacy, some specific keywords and terms are no longer available or ineffective to advertisers, which means they have to cast wider nets with broader keywords to target larger groups of people. Larger groups of people means more eyeballs, and more eyeballs means higher cost of marketing. But while the audience may be larger, those interested in your product may be a much smaller percentage.
Expect AI companies to be the biggest winners in the world of e-commerce in the next decade. As privacy laws become more abundant, advertisers will turn to AI to gain e-commerce business insights and find their target demographic. You can also expect e-commerce companies, large and small, to begin using more AI to help in the shopping experience to get more customers to buy more products, faster than ever before.