E-commerce Trends Expected to Appear in 2021

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E-commerce Trends Expected to Appear in 2021
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Certain companies, technologies and apps have unexpectedly flourished amidst the coronavirus era including virtual meeting tools, streaming platforms and e-commerce. The retail industry has no choice but to leverage on their digital transformation in order to survive the virus-driven recession.

Omnichannel Experience

Omnichannel retail is a multichannel approach to sales, focusing on providing seamless customer experiences. As the number of touchpoints increases, it helps provide a unified customer experience whether the customer is shopping online, from an app or in a brick-and-mortar store. With the support of the latest technology, Elite Asia provides quality translation and design services to ensure consistency on all customer touchpoints.

Selling direct-to-camera via livestream, especially for KOL with an engaged following, is expected to continue to grow while shoppable video is another omnichannel trend to watch. As social distancing breaks off the live interaction with their customers, shoppable video serves as the most viable digital replacement.

Voice Commerce

Voice AI is growing thanks to the advance competency and prevalence of digital voice assistants in smartphones and smart speakers. Apart from serving as a personal assistant, voice AI is extending its reach to the voice commerce world. Personalised ordering is a new trend in voice commerce, supported by collected data. By analysing previous purchase record, the voice AI can, for example, automatically add a specific brand of product the customer buys regularly, rather than showing all related results only.

Chatbots

Chatbots will continue to handle first-level Q&A and redirect customers to proper destinations, ultimately improving employee productivity. Yet, the basic level of chatbots can no longer meet the constantly-rising customer demand. It now goes beyond AI technology to emotional intelligence. Chatbots with emotional intelligence can identify speech and text, automatically extracting information and understanding the mood of the customer. After predicting the customer’s emotions by examining punctuation and capitalisation, it can interact with the customer in a better way with enhanced soft skills.

Visual Search

Visual search makes product discovery easier as it does not require written description and is able to narrow down the search results. It is also a desirable cross-selling tool by showing similar or related items which may prompt a purchase when the desired product is out of stock.

To fully utilise such technology, companies are looking to combine text search with visual search to increase accuracy. Integrating with social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, targeting at younger customers, is another new tide as it makes the shopping experience as smooth as possible.

AI & Machine Learning

Aside from chatbots, AI and machine learning technology will be implemented further in e-commerce for the purpose of marketing. AI will analyse data and detect patterns of online purchase behaviour, helping companies make wiser and more accurate business decisions. In the technical aspect, AI-based machine learning engines will replace traditional mathematic-based forecasting and replenishment model. It allows retailers to identify unexpected and unusual demanding influencing factors, optimising their customer offers based on their pricing strategies.

The horizon looks rosy for e-commerce, fuelled by the unprecedented global crisis. Even trivial retailing approach and never before heard concepts are now in the spotlight. Companies should grasp the latest trends and adopt new technologies and business practices with a view to improve online selling.

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