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By 29 May 2017 | Categories: news

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This article was created in collaboration with PayU.

eCommerce stores have begun to offer the same expediencies as businesses that have a physical presence. As such, stats show that more consumers are choosing online shopping over brick-and-mortar stores. And, with tech savvy shoppers expecting convenience to be the ultimate standard of online shopping, customer experience will continue to be the buzzword in the eCommerce industry. 

Current technological advancements in eCommerce will take convenience far beyond what has been the talk of the town over the last couple of years – the rise of mobile shopping. eCommerce businesses need to take advantage of these new technologies in order to live up to customers’ shifting needs. In this article, PayU discusses four technology trends that will spearhead the evolution of online shopping. 

Virtual reality

Virtual reality blends technology and experience design to create realistic images, sounds and other sensations that enable a person to interact with virtual features or items. While the gaming and film industries have been integrating virtual reality for years, the technology is set to redefine the way customers shop online. 

Between 2015 and 2016, major players in the tech field poured $1.7 billion into VR research and development. Since then we have already seen several demonstrations of how this technology could be used in eCommerce, in particular bringing the offline retail experience to life by giving shoppers more options for viewing products. 

Online dressing rooms 

The online shopper of the future does not want to worry about returns or exchanges. Online dressing rooms could provide the solution to incorrect clothing fits. This technology asks shoppers their height, age, weight, and body shape and picks out the perfect product. 

Fits Me, a London-based company, is currently a forerunner in virtual fitting technology, having already signed up Hugo Boss and adidas. While online dressing rooms currently seem like a luxury reserved for the heavyweight brands, we can expect to see them become a hallmark of mainstream shopping outlets.

Artificial intelligence

For years, individualised marketing messages have been key to building customer relationships. But, as we enter the era of machine learning, artificial intelligence will upgrade the way businesses interact with their customers. From personalised offers and tailored suggestions, AI is sure to take the online shopping experience to the next level. Customers can score the best deals with the help of a personal online shopping assistant or get immediate access to support via chatbots. For businesses, AI will provide an invaluable source of knowledge into buying preferences and patterns that could help them improve customer service.

Gamification

Gamification has been around for quite some time but it's only recently that the eCommerce industry has discovered its potential to drive consumer engagement. The likes of eBay and Nike are already on board to make shopping fun again. The basic concept of gamification in eCommerce is to incorporate elements of game playing such as point scoring and competition with others into the shopping process. For example, Covet Fashion launched a platform where customers dressed virtual dolls with fashion items from the store, with points awarded to the best dressed avatar by fellow users. These small challenges are great for customer participation that could ultimately encourage more sales, repeat business and conversions. 

eCommerce still comprises a relatively small percentage of the retail sector; therefore, it is important to ensure that your customers’ expectations with your company are optimised to keep them satisfied. Innovation for the sake of improving customer experience is always an effective strategy to retain customers and businesses that adopt new technologies will certainly gain that extra competitive edge in the market.

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