Three customer trends that will change e-commerce beyond recognition
Let’s talk about the future. Have you ever wondered what the shopping will look like in two years’ time? Imagine it’s 2020. A customer dictates the shopping list to the voice assistant whereas other products are supplied by intelligent household appliances.
Running shoes are equipped with sensors that keep you updated about the condition of your treads and suggest buying the new pair when it is necessary. The data collected during your trainings facilitate creating a shopping list in accordance with your preferences. Buying furniture is no longer associated with a time-consuming walk in brick-and-mortar store. Your architect designs every piece of furniture using online apps whereas you can track the changes in the real time.
Customers 2020 do not give up doing the shopping traditionally. They get far too much pleasure out of it. However, the character of physical stores changes. They rather resemble a showroom or a meeting place with consultants, and consequently, it may be another good opportunity to collect some information about a customer by using mobile apps or beacons for offline tracking.
2020 - Breakthrough in E-commerce
The changes mentioned above have been already implemented, and within two years such solutions will become omnipresent. The dynamic development of the e-commerce market is supported by numerous research about how it will evolve in Poland:
- The e-commerce market will be worth 23 billion dollars due to the incredibly fast improvement of technology as well as the increasing tendency to buy things online.
- In accordance with the Accenture Technology Vision 2016, by 2020 the digitization of the Polish economy will be 20% whereas in 2005 it was only 15%, what indicates the dynamic growth in this sector.
- The new research conducted by Oracles shows that 78% of brands are going to extend their offers by introducing the idea of virtual reality. Moreover, four out of five brands are going to serve customers by using chatbots.
These phenomena have been triggered by customers and their constantly changing preferences. Thus, let’s have a look at the most essential three trends that will help you understand the customer 2020.
1. Technology is everywhere
It is not surprising that in 2016 the internet traffic generated by mobile devices exceeded 51%. The outcome indicates that people prefer to use their mobile phones rather than PCs in order to, for example, check a Facebook wall. Nowadays, the notion of “Mobile First” is considered an ordinary issue rather than a path-breaking approach. The ubiquity of technology has changed many aspects in our lives. Communication, absorption of information, online shopping - these are only a few of numerous factors that permanently influenced our perception of technology.
Chris Dancy has tried 700 devices, apps and sensors for 25 years. On his list you can find such devices as Google Glass, Fitbit, Muse as well as smart home appliances or even smart clothes. He used several options every day to check his physical activity, workouts and meals, blood pressure and body temperature, air quality in a room or what he posted on social media platforms. The data that he collected during this experiment helped him to optimize his life. For example, watching TV series for many hours is strongly connected with snacking and putting on weight. Knowing that, it was easy to lose a couple of pounds.
Customers use such devices as well. They got used to the fact that technology is everywhere and, fortunately, learnt how to benefit from the gathered information. In fact, social awareness reached the level of maturity and people do not abstain from innovative solutions. Subsequently, it facilitates using new devices to communicate with customers and encourages them to familiarize with a new medium.
Internet changed the relationship between customers and brands because it empowered the former with easy access to information. It enables potential clients to check specific data about a service or product and, thus, they do not have to rely on commercials and companies’ assurances. It doesn’t matter if it is either B2B or B2C. People can do some digging and then decide if they are interested in purchasing an item. Looking for an inspiration on Pinterest or exchanging views on Facebook help them make a proper decision. For the purposes of the report “Customer Journey in the furniture industry”, e-point analyzed their customers’ behaviors. It turned out that they enjoyed using online creators and designing the interiors of their dreams.
“In a world in which buyers have the ability to do their own independent research, many customers are more educated than the salespeople they do business with.”
We were stunned by the amount of information which Magda, who was a respondent in our research, gained while designing her new kitchen. Firstly, she developed her own system of cataloging her inspirational photos. Secondly, she did a lot of research. While visiting brick-and-mortar shops, she would take photos of items she was interested in in order to check the prices online. And this way, she managed to choose a more profitable offer and save her money. She did her homework, gathered essential information and didn’t expect any help. Such competent and well-informed customers value self-service solutions and fast feedback. Therefore, instead of long queues, they prefer chatbots and digital devices which not only save their time but, more importantly, provide them with a convenient solution.
In accordance with Harvard Business Review, the most essential factor when building customer loyalty is to decrease the effort associated with purchasing process. Customers care about the convenience as much as they care about the price and good quality. When a brand collects data about a particular person, it can personalize the communication and purchasing process at the same time. It makes them feel like home!
"I remember the times when product plus values equals profit. Today, it is all about how customers feel. The first impression and emotions are the key factors."
Our research concerning the furniture industry shows that today the provided service is a part of the product. Purchasing furniture is often associated with delivery and assembly problems. Thus, to make people feel more comfortable, many companies offer additional services such as mentioned assembly of new furniture as well as utilization of the old one. Similarly, another part of the product, in this case – a piece of furniture, is a consultation with an architect or interior designer, whose job is to help customers find the tailor-made option.
Polish Customer 2020 is already here
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) shows an interesting variance that takes place in Poland. The rate of digital competences of society is very close to the European standards and, at the same time, the level of companies’ digitization is far away from them. It is a gap between Polish customers’ expectations and inadequate offers made by companies that haven’t adjusted to the new model. Thus, it is extremely important to notice that the customer 2020 is already here. The question is, are we ready to meet his needs?