The future of e-commerce
At a recent Gartner Marketing Symposium, I sat down with Jeremy Muras, SVP of Digital at Lion Capital, and David Hurwitz, former CMO of BloomReach, to discuss the future of e-commerce. BloomReach software helps customers, including retailers, deliver more personalized services and experiences, and Lion Capital has a portfolio of more than 12 brands including Kettle Foods, Buscemi, Picard, Perricone Skincare and Allsaints. Below you will find her insight into the future of e-commerce.
Future of the Ecommerce Experience
1. The e-commerce experience will cross the screen. In addition to delivering an experience across all screen types, future experiences are delivered through new touchpoints such as voice, wearables, and kiosks. For example, Staples now offers an AI-powered product search at touchscreen kiosks in its stores.
2. The e-commerce experience becomes more personalized. While this has been a buzzword for decades, the next wave of personalization will make needs prediction much better. Each individual will have a different experience based on geography, search history, previous behavior, etc. When you walk into a store, a salesperson can sense a lot about you. The future of e-commerce will use technology to do the same … smarter technology that offers a better experience. For example, a lot of search features on retail sites are terrible. If you enter “shirt dress”, the search function reads shirt blouses just like shirt dress. But a salesperson would know the difference. We have technology that can tell the difference and it will only get better.
3. The e-commerce experience will have a lot more relevant content. Consumers want brands that have values and that convey the values to the buyer in a personalized way. For that you need content. Ecommerce brands are developing more, more relevant, and helpful content that drives engagement and makes the right purchase easier. Machines will do this in real time on long-tail retail items, allowing people to develop the greatest experience-enhancing content.
4. The e-commerce experience will shift towards better service and the shopping experience will improve. For some time now, the focus has been on providing cheaper services (e.g. switching to chat rooms, etc.). Future winners will go beyond efficiency and provide services that add value to the consumer. As an example, a friend bought a mountain bike through an e-commerce site. He had a problem with the bike and went to the live chat to ask how it can be resolved. He has someone on the customer service team who was a passionate and experienced mountain biker. She helped solve his problem. But the relationship didn’t end with the chat. She followed up and sent information on his interests. If someone needed snowboard boots, guess where my friend recommended they buy the snowshoes? Was the follow-up interaction cheap? No? But has it made the experience so better that the retailer has become a preferred source for outdoor solutions?
What the future will require are systems that allow companies to personalize merchandising, personalize the range, and connect the right products with the right content. This requires a platform, and in many cases legacy systems make it very difficult. Those companies that can customize – or build from scratch – the systems will be able to win.
Join the discussion: @KimWhitler
About BloomReach: BloomReach Software enables highly personalized digital experiences for retailers, brands, distributors, manufacturers and other companies. BloomReach has combined CMS, digital merchandising, site search and SEO in the world’s first open and intelligent digital experience platform and serves clients such as Neiman Marcus, Staples and Williams-Sonoma. BloomReach is supported by Bain Capital, Lightspeed and Battery Ventures.