Keeping your Canadian business competitive in the constantly changing marketplace can be a challenge. Even your brick-and-mortar store is impacted by the latest e-commerce trends, and failure to keep up can spell doom. Are you ready to handle mobile payments, augmented reality, and photo shopping? Take a look at some of the most up-to-date advances in e-commerce so you can assess what changes you might need to make to stay current with the competition.
Online Shopping Behaviour
E-commerce isn’t just for twentysomethings anymore. As online shopping behaviour continues to morph, older consumers with higher disposable incomes are also joining the ranks of online shoppers. Use of mobile devices for purchases is also increasing in Canada despite high data fees. Establishing or augmenting your mobile shopping options can give you the edge over other Canadian businesses that have yet to focus on this trend.
Augmented reality uses digital components to help shoppers visualize how things might look in a real-life situation. If you sell furniture or home decor, augmented reality lets your customers see how the furniture looks in their own home. A salon or beauty supply store might use the technology to let customers test out different hair colors, hair styles, or makeup colors and styles.
Why should you invest in augmented reality? Not only does it keep you competitive, but it gives your customers confidence in the buying process. That perk is especially helpful if you sell big-ticket items. Consumers may hesitate to spend a lot of money. Using augmented reality helps them make decisions with an idea of what the purchase will look like. You can also cut down on returns when buyers can give the item a virtual test run before purchasing. The beauty industry is another area where people may hesitate. A person may be nervous to change appearances without seeing how it might turn out.
Augmented reality works well for online and mobile purchases, but it also works in brick-and-mortar shops. Kiosks let customers test out products in real-life situations or provide guidance for the purchasing process.
Remember all those consumers shopping from their phones and tablets? They’re also purchasing from their mobile devices — which means you need mobile checkout options so they can buy what they want no matter where they are. Check out small business apps that offer mobile ordering and payment options. Customers coming to your brick-and-mortar store can order before they arrive to get in and out quickly, so you get rid of long backups of customers waiting at the counter.
You can even make life easier for your customers who are already inside your shop. Mobile payment options like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and several other options let customers pay quickly, even in brick-and-mortar stores. Another option for your physical retail location is to create mobile checkout stations. Customers can check out and pay on their own to avoid long lines. Mobile payment devices in the hands of your employees let them process purchases and returns throughout the sales floor for faster service.
Sometimes you have to see an item before you buy it. That’s where photo shopping comes in. Using photo shopping apps, mobile devices offer automated image analysis that makes it possible for your customers to take a photo, then find the product that looks like it Say a consumer sees a must-have pair of shoes. Photo shopping lets that consumer find the product without having to figure out what search terms will lead them to the right item.
Adding this type of technology to your website helps you capture purchases based on image searches — purchases that you otherwise might miss. Photo shopping technology eliminates the missed opportunities due to misspelled or inaccurate product searches. It also takes away the language barriers that can happen with international purchases since the entire search process is based on the visuals
How do you search for quick answers or products? If you’re like many people, you state your requests verbally. Your smartphone quickly pulls up results based on what you want. As a consumer, voice searches offer convenience. As a retailer, the trend toward increased voice searching means you need to keep up with your online presence.
You know how to use search engine optimization for your online store, but voice searches change SEO with the need to win the race for top spoken keyword search results. A voice search usually gives the user only the top result. This means if you don’t rank as the number one result for the search term, you may miss out on the traffic from voice searches. Optimizing your website content and product information for voice searches helps potential customers find you. Offering your products in real-time with voice ordering can also help you stay competitive with the huge retailers like Staples, Walmart, and Amazon that offer instant ordering options.
Machine Learning for Customization
Your retail store marketing and advertising focuses on your target market. Millennials respond to different strategies than baby boomers, so you adjust your marketing to match that audience. Machine learning helps you customize the experience to each individual user instead of your target audience in general. Data based on each user’s shopping behaviour lets your site automatically personalize the shopping experience. Shoppers see things that they’re most likely to want. That customization makes shopping more enjoyable for customers and saves them time by helping them find the things they want quickly. For you, this use of artificial intelligence can help you boost sales. Suggested items presented to customers may encourage them to spend more and find items they could easily miss.
Adjusting your business model to incorporate the trends in e-commerce helps you keep up with the bigger retailers. Whether you own a brick-and-mortar store or online shop, you can set yourself apart from your competition with customized shopping experiences that have quick, intuitive use.