According to a recent survey by the digital association Bitkom with 1,100 participants from Germany, 92 percent of all Internet users shop online.
The trend is therefore clear: e-commerce is already of immense importance today and this will continue to increase in the near future. Because the younger ones, at 96 percent, are almost without exception fans of online shopping.
The last two years have also led to a change in online shopping behavior. While clothing and electronic items used to be the preferred products of customers in e-commerce, everyday products, hygiene items, care products and fresh food are now also in demand among buyers. Parallel to the development of e-commerce as a whole, the importance of delivery services such as Gorillas or Flink, which deliver the purchases directly to the front door on the same day, has also increased.
New trends in e-commerce give the market an additional boost. The smartphone is also increasingly the preferred shopping device, with which purchases can be made on the move and at any time. This trend of mobile shopping is particularly popular with younger people, 81 percent of 16-29 year olds shop with their smartphones, in the next age cohort of 30-49 year olds it is still more than three quarters (77 percent) according to the Bitkom survey.
With intelligent tools for an optimal customer experience
Most companies follow the e-commerce trend and expand their offerings in this area. The competition for customers is also increasing. What matters most in the battle for market share is the customer experience. We at valantic have been advising our customers in this area for years, whether B2C or B2B. With us, companies are able to develop a holistic concept and offer their customers an optimal online shopping experience.
The use of intelligent tools is essential for this. Because digitization does not stop at e-commerce. In order to provide their customers with an optimal digital experience, companies should increasingly rely on social commerce, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
This trend has been observed for years, but has recently picked up speed again: social commerce. In the meantime, platforms such as TikTok, Instagram or Pinterest have expanded their advertising options and implemented their own marketplaces in their offerings. Trading can thus take place entirely via the social media platforms. The big advantage here lies in the individual approach to customers. And that doesn’t just apply in the B2C area, since company employees have long been on the move on the platforms and are therefore also a target for social commerce.
Even small companies can benefit from this trend. It does not necessarily need its own advertising medium or ambassador for a product. After all, the younger generation in particular is the first to look for a brand online in social media. Companies can then use a strong presence on their profile and their own online shop to get in direct contact with young customers who are no longer interested in an offer interested via phone or email. Rather, the messenger services serve as the preferred communication channels between companies and customers.
Managers have long since recognized this trend. A survey from February 2021 showed that many of them assess the importance of social commerce in five years as “very important” (30%) or “fairly important” (15%).
The benefits of AI and ML for e-commerce
Personalized shopping experiences lead to higher customer satisfaction and thus to more sales for companies. This applies to classic trade, but even more so to e-commerce due to the high level of competition. The better the customer experience, the higher the probability that customers will visit an online shop again and thus increase profits.
The benefits that artificial intelligence and machine learning bring to e-commerce are enormous. With the help of these digital tools, machines can learn from the behavior of their human counterparts, adapt their own reactions and thus offer the customer an individual experience. Properly used chatbots can respond precisely to inquiries based on intelligent algorithms, offer personalized advice and thus enable a successful purchase.
These tools are already in place and ready to use today. However, many companies are not yet fully exploiting their potential. However, digital tools are absolutely necessary for a successful e-commerce strategy.
Another way to a better customer experience, which is also based on the use of intelligent machines, is through the use of language assistants for e-commerce. Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, they can all be of interest for use in retail. A simple voice command from the customer leads quickly and directly to an online shop where the desired product is already in the shopping cart. However, the broad masses are still skeptical about language assistants, the technology is not yet mature. A lot of time and preparation is still needed before e-commerce can benefit from voice shopping across the board.
E-commerce is no longer just a trend, but an integral part of retail. And its market share is growing steadily, also due to the changes in customer behavior in the wake of the pandemic. Because online shopping offers them enormous advantages: speed, flexibility, simplicity, product variety.
Customers have become accustomed to these benefits and so companies should continue to adapt their e-commerce strategy in the future and expand their offers and investments here. In order to exploit all potential and use intelligent tools profitably, an experienced partner with the right know-how is required, who can help with his expertise with all questions and problems.