What does the future of online shopping look like?
The millennial generation is commonly described as a symbol of today’s ‘want it all, want it now’ culture- but how is this shaping the future of online shopping?
If you’re a regular reader of the Traffic Jam Media blog, then you may have read our previous post on the ever-growing rise in mobile search and how the future of online shopping may look for brands.
What were our predictions? It will just continue to get bigger, better and more in demand. Apps will become a main source of online purchases, and retailers will play catch up to ensure delivery matches the speed in which we, the generation that wants things instantly, can complete an order online.
In fact, when it comes to internet shopping, the statistics speak for themselves: 70% of shoppers have predicted they’d spend more money on mobile devices this year. The high street has also continued to struggle, most notably through the much publicised rise and fall of BHS.
A further contribution to this? Shoppers are now easily able to find information about products online whereas previously there was asymmetry of data available. For example, while a car dealer would be aware of how much their product was worth, a consumer would not.
Nowadays? You can quickly shop around for the best price using a host of comparison websites and the likes of Google Shopping.
So, just how are brands adapting to this shift in shopping habits? Here’s how a select few are beginning to shape the future of online shopping…
Amazon and Argos offer same day delivery services
Argos is known for being one of the first pioneers of ‘Click and Collect’, the quick, easy and increasingly popular delivery service that will be used by approximately 76% of shoppers by 2017.
From John Lewis and Tesco, to Boots and B&Q, a number of online brands now use the service to offer next day delivery as cheaply as possible (and often for free). Late last year, however, Argos took things one step further by introducing Fast Track, their same day delivery service.
They weren’t the only retailer to have this idea. Amazon were hot and their heels, providing two-hour delivery for Prime customers. This service (as you’d expect), is currently only offered in selected areas, though we expect coverage to continue growing- in fact, it was recently rolled out in South Yorkshire.
Our take on the increased speed of shopping online? Though two-hour delivery could be difficult for every brand to guarantee, we can definitely see same day delivery becoming just a standard part of online shopping in the near future.
Which retailer will be the next to follow the trend?
Amazon plans to let shoppers pay with selfies
Amazon are continuing to pave the way for the future of online shopping by revealing plans to replace passwords with selfies.
Yes, you read that right- you may soon be able to verify purchases with your very own face.
Mobile hardware manufacturers have been playing with this tech for some time now for phone access, but using ‘real’ money is a relatively new concept.
So, how will this work exactly? Using facial recognition software, Amazon will take two selfies of your face. The first will simply confirm your identity, while the second will prompt you to make a gesture (such as blink or smile).
Not convinced it will be secure? Amazon have already got this covered. The second part of their two-part system (which was patented in March) will ensure fraudsters can’t verify purchases using printed images of your likeness.
And with almost three-quarters of people from the UK and US admitting they use the same password for multiple accounts, putting your trust in a selfie may not be that strange…
New Facebook Messenger bots will allow you to shop on social media
At the F8 developer conference in April, Facebook announced they would be enabling online shopping through their Messenger app.
As Recode explains in their article, this means shoppers will be able to order flowers (for example) by chatting with the retailer’s Facebook Messenger account.
However, it won’t necessarily be a member of staff that you’ll be speaking to- Facebook’s new online shopping tool will be powered by chatbots, automated systems that are designed to act like humans by simulating conversations.
So, if you’re undecided about what you want to order, you can simply ask the chatbot for suggestions. It will ask you a series of multiple-choice questions and show you a series of options. And if you decide you want to purchase? It’s as easy as the chatbot directing you to the retailer’s e-commerce website.
Like Amazon and Argos’ new ultra-fast delivery services, Facebook’s e-commerce features have been designed to meet the modern consumer’s need for speed and convenience. This is something that will continue to be worked on, with more and more retailers delivering their own time-saving innovations.
Our further predications for the future of online shopping and online marketing?
1. Let’s start with the obvious one. there will be greater integration between online and offline. Brands like Wahaca are already allowing users to make mobile payments in store, while Lloyds Pharmacy have rolled out interactive touchpads that enable shoppers to browse and order from their online products range in store (Source: Internet Advertising Bureau UK).
2. Improved marketing CRM integration will allow for more specified customer targeting, and online platforms will make better use of their existing data.
3. Like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest will also allow users to shop from their respective platforms. The Dash Hudson app is already capitalising on this idea by giving users the ability to follow influencers and shop what they’re wearing in their images. But will Instagram follow suit sooner, rather than later?
And finally, what is our takeaway for clients?
The future of online shopping will be increasingly driven by databases and smarter algorithms. This is why we’d advise all businesses to actively collect data, understand this data, and use it accordingly.
Start by tracking competitors and customer journeys more closely. This will help you keep your pricing and offers competitive, as well as determine how much each customer is worth (and allow you to set your CPA targets accordingly).
For more information on CPAs, check out our guide to setting realistic goals for your PPC accounts.
Want more help with PPC campaigns? Need some guidance when choosing your ad extensions? Get in touch with the Traffic Jam Media team today.