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Remember when physical stores were the only option for shopping – just ten years ago? Today, it’s a different story. According to BigCommerce, 51% of Americans prefer to make purchases online. Overall, 96% of Americans have made at least one online purchase online. Today, tech-savvy customers are easily accessible by merchants using digital technology tools.

One ecommerce study projects that sales will exceed $4.878 billion by 2021. Innovations in digital and ecommerce technology have transformed how people shop and equipped retailers with new tools for marketing their products and services. The number of mobile phone users is expected to reach 4.78 billion by 2020 due to the ever-increasing popularity of smartphones which will continue to fuel the growth of e-commerce. As a result, online retailers are adopting more advanced technology such as Accelerated Mobile Pages and Progressive Web Applications, to deliver faster, richer mobile experiences.

While nearly two thirds (65%) of survey respondents report they use mobile apps to access exclusive deals and offers, Clutch advises that businesses should do more such as creating apps that build a sense of community and facilitate ease of browsing.

What’s important to keep in mind is making purchases is not the primary reason people use shopping apps. Up to 71% of shoppers use apps for price comparisons – including the 22% that check prices while in a physical store. Given these stats, Clutch says its essential for brick and mortar stores to integrate in-app and in-store experiences.

Why does it matter? It’s simple. Mobile users are more likely to prefer using mobile devices instead of laptops or desktop computers. In fact, 62% of mobile users say they use apps to make purchases. It’s critical for businesses to monitor and adapt to ecommerce trends to maintain or increase their competition position and provide the most robust shopping experience – online and offline. To learn more about the top mCommerce trends for 2019, read this article to make sure your apps are enabling the best possible customer experience.

Chatbots

One emerging trend is for eCommerce companies to provide enhanced levels of service by integrating chatbots. The majority of users expect and want to use this method to chat with their favorite brands. Chatbots are available 24/7 and don’t require their own support team.

AI marketing platform, Demandbase, has conducted extensive research about the benefits of using AI to strengthen the sales process. The results are convincing. Overall, companies have achieved: higher close rates of 59%, 58% more revenue, 54% more engagement, and 52% higher conversions. It’s not surprising brands like H&M, eBay and many other brand-name retailers use AI-powered chatbots online customer engagement.

There are even free chatbots such as GoBot for Shopify. GoBot lets you customize offers and create simple dialogues to interact with customers via the bot. You can start with “Are you looking for something specific?” and then continue the dialogue that includes discount codes or a suggestion to link to a landing page. Then watch as conversions take an upward trajectory. 

GoBot is just one simple example of how retailers can leverage the power of AI. It’s simple to set-up and works round the clock. It doesn’t cost your company anything and the bonus is that it never needs a break – 24/7, 365 days a year.

Augmented Reality

While this technology is new, it’s already a hit with users. In fact, statistics confirm it – when mobile users can use integrated AR to observe product capabilities it’s more likely they will purchase the product. Another substantiating stat is 60% of shoppers indicate a higher level of trust when mCommerce apps use AR.

Startup funding for AR companies validates this trend. In August of 2019 Munich-based eyecandylab, the company behind augment.tv – which enable augmented reality with video, raised a €1.35 million seed round led by Silicon Valley’s first angel investment group, Band of Angels, along with LG Technology Ventures and other angel investors. 

Eyecandylab’s computer-vision software solution uses videos to trigger AR content on consumer mobile devices and AR glasses. When enterprises in media, entertainment, sports and commerce integrate the AR solution into existing apps, user engagement increases. By providing an interactive AR layer around screens by new revenue streams are introduced.

Geofencing

This is one more trend that is obvious for its immediacy factor. Geofencing uses GPS with a mCommerce app to identify all users nearby and entice them with offers. When users are within 500 meters of a brick and mortar store, the app sends a notification that includes an invite to visit the store along with enticing discounts.

Crazy as it might sound, the latest marketing stunt by Whopper directs Burger King fans or new users into what might be considered – “enemy territory” by offering a one-cent Whopper. Okay, so there’s one brilliant catch: Burger King customers must use the app to place an order while they are inside or close to a McDonald’s. Then the app directs paying customers to the nearest Burger King to collect on the offer.

The "Whopper Detour" campaign from FCB New York took a bit of tech savvy to pull off. In order to implement, they had to geofence nearly every McDonald's restaurant in the U.S., as the offer only unlocks within about 600 feet of a McDonald's.

Pulling off this “Whopper Detour” marketing ploy was no easy feat. Nearly every McDonald’s restaurant in the U.S. has to be geofenced as the mobile user must be within 600 feet of a McDonald’s before the offer can be acted on.

Omnichannel approach

When companies expand the number of channels used to win over new customers, the greater the success. That means using messenger apps like Viber or WhatsApp, social media and other channels to attract new users and retain existing ones by letting them know they are appreciated.

It's already been proven that consumers prefer direct communications with a business over spending those infamous long wait times on hold or sending an email to customer support. “Please let me speak with someone right now.” Given the improved customer experience consumers and business professionals can expect to see more messaging apps and companies experimenting with how they can reach customers faster. While there may be more ads on the platform, there won’t be any displayed during a private chat.

One-click purchasing

Originally, Amazon held the patent for this technology, but it expired 2 years ago. Now companies can integrate this same one-click purchase button to persuade customers to make their purchase – spontaneously. 

Personalized shopping experience

Customers can easily be influenced simply by experiencing a personalized approach. Extracting data from each customer’s social media and messenger apps for other services makes it easy to offer them – just want they want. Send them personalized emails that are based on AI algorithms that help predict just want they want to buy next. Feeling like the company knows their preferences is appealing to customers which makes them more likely to buy from that company. 

Interestingly enough, Apple is partnering with luxury fashion retailer Burberry to help them personalize the shopping experience for their clientele. Store associates can directly message select clients with a new service called “R Message” that integrates with the iOS app. The service will be piloted “by invitation only” and then launched across all Burberry stores. 

According to Vogue Business, there’s already an internal app named R World that’s used by Burberry store associates for inventory management and to receive company news. The system is similar to Apple retail’s own Hello app which is used by store team members. This initiative was often promoted by former Burberry CEO and later Apple Retail SVP Angela Ahrendts. Connected to Burberry’s internal system, customer-facing app R Message will be used to “make in-store appointments, receive personalized item recommendations, and buy products.”

While Burberry already uses its app via iMessage Business chat for direct communication with customers R Message is more “exclusive.” 

Big Data

Because it’s not uncommon for large eCommerce providers to have up to several hundred million users, Big Data algorithms are key to capitalizing on this substantial user base. Sure Big Data helps predict trends, but it also helps these industry-leading providers use this data to adapt and retain their status as market leaders. What’s impressive about Big Data is that it provides the data for comparing the prices of products across the Internet and then calculates the price points that will help companies compete more effectively.

For example, eCommerce companies can use Software as a Service (SaaS) by Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build data lakes and run AI-based Big Data analytics processes, including predictive analytics. By using AWX Direct Connect, Amazon claims that eCommerce company can use the secure and reliable connection to import data to the newly built lake. Some of AWA’s past clients include NASDAQ, Unilever, Yelp and Novartis.

Another example is from AWS where they claimed to have help the ride-hailing company Grab use big data computations and data streams to complete 1.5 million bookings in Southeast Asia. Not only did Grab need to scale to serve the increased customer base, they had to simultaneously ensure their pool of drivers could serve riders efficiently. With AWS, Grab was able to build a big data infrastructure that would address current and future big data needs. Because the big data infrastructure was in the cloud, Grab saved 30 – 40% in resourcing costs for maintenance and operations.

If you found this online retailing article to be useful and would like to explore how First Line Software can equip your company with invaluable big data analytics, contact us today. 

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David Tedford

Vice President

David Tedford has over 20 years of sales experience within the IT/software industry. He excels at sales, business development, channel development, sales cycle management, negotiations, and sales team management.

Vladimir Litoshenko

Senior Vice President

As the head of business development for First Line Software, Vladimir heads up business development in Western Europe and Russia.


Vladimir began his career in IT in 2002, when, as a student of Faculty of Automation of Computer Science of the First Electrotechnical University (ETU “LETI”), he began his work at The Morfizpribor Central Research Institute (CRI). Vladimir joined the StarSoft team (predecessor of First Line Software) in 2004 as a Junior Software Developer. As he gained experience with more and more projects, he was promoted to leadership roles.

Richard Leslie

UK Business Development

Richard has over 15 years of sales and account management expertise in the IT and Tech sector. He has worked on many outsourcing engagements with global companies.

David Fien

Director

David is a business development professional with more than 20 years’ experience as a specialist in the acquisition of partnerships and IT/software services for associations, not-for profits and corporations in Australia, New Zealand and USA. He has specific expertise in the healthcare, legal and hospitality industries.