Walking through a decade of change and innovation.
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”— Albert Einstein
In every aspect of life, change is constant. Nothing stays the same forever, and to progress, we must evolve—eCommerce is no exception.
The constantly shifting nature of technology means that incremental changes often happen right under our collective noses. But by honing in on new developments and innovations, you will be able to leverage new tools, platforms, and concepts to your advantage.
Since 2010, the eCommerce industry has grown by 109%, sparking a significant rise in online shoppers the world over. Fresh innovations change the way we interact with the world around us. Although at face value, the developed world looks fairly similar to how it did in 2010, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll quickly realize that things have changed significantly.
Here, we glance at the most significant changes gravitating around the eCommerce industry over the past decade. To cover every change would take, well, ten years, so we’re going to focus on the most meaningful aspects of transformation.
Are you ready? Great, let’s start our journey.
Digital payments & mass mobile adoption
Back in 2010, we witnessed the dawn of the smartphone age. These initial developments revolutionized the way we used our mobile phones, with functionality that offered a web connection and computer-like functionality. Over the past ten years, the smartphone has developed significantly.
With immersive features, a wealth of available web apps, swift web functionality, powerful camera lenses, and more, the rise of the smartphone has enticed web consumers to mobile shopping in their droves.
This mass migration towards portable online shopping has changed the way that brands interact with their customers, forcing them to adopt a mobile-first mentality. In today’s world, mobile-optimized websites are standard, as are seamless mobile payments.
As we continue moving with warp speed towards a cashless existence, digital technology has reached a point where people can pay for goods and services with their mobile phones (or e-wallets).
New mobile-based payment offerings like Apple Pay or Google Wallet have prompted incredible advancements in customer experience (CX)—something that experts predict will be a primary eCommerce brand differentiator in 2020.
Over the last ten years, mobile and digital payments have:
- Created a fairer playing field, allowing smaller businesses to compete with bigger names by offering shoppers the same standard of frictionless payment and checkout options.
- Contactless mobile payment applications have helped eCommerce brands connect with new audiences by offering new communicative touchpoints.
- The convenience of contactless mobile payment means that brands can reach out to prospects using an ever-growing choice of consumer platforms.
For insights into the development of mobile technology, explore our rundown of notable mobile commerce trends and why they matter.
Around 2010, we started to see a rise in the multi-channel experience. At this point, eCommerce businesses began to use a range of platforms and touchpoints to connect with consumers and sell their products or services.
While multi-channel marketing proved to be a success for those that were able to offer a consistent experience across touchpoints, it seems that this concept was merely the gateway for omnichannel marketing.
A natural evolution of the multi-channel marketing experience, omnichannel marketing is focused on offering a seamless and cohesive journey across all platforms and touchpoints. Rather than treating each channel as a separate entity, omnichannel marketing is about mapping the customer experience and treating every channel as one interconnected medium.
Immersive consumer experiences
Over the past ten years, the likes of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have transformed from a feasible yet slightly futuristic concept into a living, breathing consumer reality.
VR and AR are powerful eCommerce tools as they empower consumers to get up close and personal with a brand and its products or services. Immersive technology thrusts the shopper into the heart of the experience or narrative, creating bonds and connections that are likely to result in invaluable levels of long-term customer loyalty.
As immersive technology becomes all the more accessible to consumers through mobile app developments and affordable home use hardware, bold new marketing opportunities will open up for eCommerce business owners willing to grab them.
For your inspiration, here are three notable examples of immersive marketing that you should explore at your leisure:
- The New York Times: The iconic publication sent its subscribers cardboards VR glasses, giving them access to a short immersive film.
- IKEA: An early adopter of augmented reality (AR), the Swedish flatpack giant offers its consumers an immersive shopping experience through its innovative app.
- Qantas Airlines: The airline and travel brand offers customers a full VR tour of destinations before they commit to making a booking.
Personalization is one of the most influential changes that has occurred in the eCommerce landscape over the past decade. It’s a testament to how far we’ve come in meaningful messaging and brand advertising in recent years.
Personalization has evolved at an incredible rate (in 2010, reaching out to a consumer by their first name was branded as personalization). It’s now an eCommerce marketing standard.
In 2020, consumers want content, offers, and product suggestions that not only offer genuine value but suit their specific needs. Here are some insights you should know to put this notion into perspective:
- 57% of shoppers are happy to share personal data in return for personalized offers or discounts.
- 62% of consumers want brands to send personalized offers or discounts based on the items they’ve already bought.
- 91% of online shoppers are more likely to buy from brands that provide relevant offers, deals, and content recommendations.
This seismic shift away from blanket communication and towards reaching out to consumers on a deep, personal level has set a new standard within the eCommerce industry. As such, it has forced brands to dig deeper into consumer data, getting under the skin of their audience, and delivering experiences that forge long-lasting customer relationships (rather than looking for a quick buck).
It’s a commitment to the long term and an approach to eCommerce marketing that you cannot afford to ignore in today’s world.
Finally, we reach the phenomenon known as voice technology. Certainly one of the most futuristic eCommerce developments of recent years, the rise in voice tech is already beginning to shape the online shopping experience as we know it.
This consumer development might be in its infancy, and we may not know which direction it will go in terms of the eCommerce experience, the consumer convenience coupled with its rapid global adoption suggests this is one channel worth keeping your eye on in the coming years.
By the year 2022, there are likely to be eight million active voice technology devices in existence. From playing podcasts or music to controlling smart devices and buying goods, the seamless nature of voice tech means that adoption will increase. As it does, voice tech applications are likely to become a staple part of eCommerce.
Voice technology is on the up, and in 2020, this is a development that is worth your attention, especially when you consider that by the end of 2020, 30% of all searches will be carried out without using a screen.
Glancing back over the past decade of eCommerce is a mind-blowing experience. It shows us just how far we’ve come in a relatively short amount of time—and how far we can go.
It’s difficult to predict precisely what will happen to eCommerce over the next decade, but by keeping your ear to the virtual ground, you’ll ensure that you move with the times, empowering you to ride the crest of an ever-rewarding eCommerce wave for many years to come.