Change is constant in the world of ecommerce. Digital transformation is no longer a novel idea, seamless omnichannel experiences are a prerequisite to success, and the behaviors and expectations of retail shoppers have shifted. Now we’re starting to see the emergence of new technologies that aim to meet these changing needs and expectations.
There are 80 million millennials in the U.S. stimulating the market, which represents trillions of dollars in sales. Ecommerce success depends on having a rich understanding of that audience – who they are, what price points they’re looking for and what experiences they have come to expect. With technologies that are now commonplace like texting, social media, and streaming, instant gratification is the norm for younger generations. So much is available on-demand that having to wait for anything seems antiquated. Gone are the days of our moms flipping through catalogs, writing down style numbers and then calling the retailer (and actually having to speak to a human!) to place an order. All followed by waiting 8-10 business days for your items to arrive and paying with a check. At that rate I would rather forgo the L.L. Bean bathrobe, but I applaud your patience, Mom.
New innovations in ecommerce are pushing retailers even further to consistently delight customers and exceed their expectations. Global retail ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021, and even with that staggering figure, brands will still be expected to deliver consistent, personalized experiences across an ever-growing range of touchpoints. Here are three innovations that are poised to transform the digital commerce payments landscape.
Buy Now, Pay Later
Like credit, but better. U.S. based startup QuadPay has created a platform that allows shoppers to pay for their items in four installments, interest free. Breaking up a purchase into smaller, more affordable payments opens doors on both sides; the retailers’ product is now accessible to a much larger audience, and customers have more flexibility to make purchases within budgetary constraints. Ecommerce success depends on understanding both the demographic and what their ideal buying situation looks like. This technology addresses both. Having the option to pay in installments at checkout simulates a discount, without retailers having to sacrifice revenue. A true win-win on both sides: aspirational purchases become attainable for the customer while merchants can expand their reach.
We live in a world dominated by Amazon’s endless incentives – free shipping, discounts, personalized offers – online retailers have to find a key differentiator to stay competitive, and the best ecommerce sites look at this challenge as an opportunity. Installment payments offers a fresh strategy for increasing conversion and displays a well-informed understanding of who is on the other side of these digital transactions.
Creating a marketplace within social media platforms allows for a huge extension of a brand’s digital footprint. Instagram alone now has 800 million users. There are 25 million business accounts, and these companies know their audiences are highly active and engaged on social channels. For those trying to achieve a true omnichannel experience, making social media shoppable is critical. Allowing users to shop directly within Instagram posts creates a new point-of-sale touchpoint and reduces the number of steps between intent and purchase.
Enabling purchases through this channel also provides additional benefits for brands in the way of data collection; richer demographic and behavioral insights as well as insights into which posts are converting the most sales. Social commerce offers a shorter path to purchase, eliminates friction and ultimately paves the way for more selling. Brands can interact with their customers more frequently and with greater ease, giving them an opportunity to learn even more about their shoppers and improve the overall customer experience.
The volatility of cryptocurrency is undeniable, but these decentralized digital currencies, like Bitcoin, have generated mass appeal and proliferated the market very quickly. Bitcoin is seen as a faster (instant gratification!) and safer method of payment. Existing payment options like credit, debit or PayPal typically take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to clear. Digital currency eliminates this waiting time, allowing merchants to ship out orders almost immediately. Popular retailers like Overtstock are accepting Bitcoin, maintaining it creates trust through technology. There is also an added layer of security with encryption and blockchain that can significantly reduce or eradicate instances of fraud. With zero interference from financial institutions, cryptocurrencies have the potential to become the preferred payment method for many consumers.
Mobile traffic accounts for just over 50% of all ecommerce traffic, but the cart abandonment rate on mobile devices is 85%. It’s no mystery that mobile checkouts are a major point of friction in the path to purchase. Bitcoin and other digital currencies can eliminate some of this friction by allowing customers to bypass the tedious entering of credit card information and billing address.
Ecommerce growth is not slowing down, and new technologies are being churned out equally as fast. With CX increasingly becoming a priority, innovations are made to address the changed needs and expectations of the customer. Customers want options, and in terms of payments, the choices have certainly increased, transactions have improved, and we’re moving closer to creating ideal customer experiences.