This year, e-commerce will change the retail game once again. In the past, product descriptions, search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing were the e-commerce giants. While those e-commerce tools will remain important, new significant technologies will emerge in 2017. The newest trends come from previous innovations. New platforms including Chat Bots, Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will focus on improving the customer experience.
How will these three technologies affect the competitive e-commerce arena?
THE CHAT BOT
Chat bots aren’t new but they have been reimagined. Chat bots are a way to have a touch point with an online consumer. That touch point can make a great first impression on a consumer thus creating a positive experience. With re-imagined chat bots, they now have the ability to work across different platforms like SMS, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Since each platform has its own type of user, it will be important to employ a multiple outlet strategy.
Chat bots, a great introduction to the customer experience, they can then transition over to a customer service professional. While 2017 will be a big year for this technology, it isn’t quite there yet. The use of chat bots is still in its infancy and needs to be monitored. An unmonitored chat bot could create major problems due to its new technology. Make sure to keep a close watch.
AUGMENTED REALITY (AR)
While Pokémon Go may not be the juggernaut that it was this past summer, it put Augmented Reality (AR) in the forefront. But what does that have to do with e-commerce? Many marketing professionals believe AR will be a huge trend in e-commerce. They think that it will allow consumers to “shop” their favorite brands through AR. This will create a new shopping experience that has the potential to be a favorite. Thus, a touch of a button will connect the customer to a service professional in the AR shop who will provide additional information and support.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) also has the potential to revolutionize e-commerce. With the rise of Alexa and Siri, a desire for this technology has been established. First-generation AI devices purpose is to quickly do research and then to provide the consumer with its results. This will be a big help to e-commerce retailers. Their AI device or bot will be able to provide the consumer with product information in no time.
While these technologies are very important for 2017, it will only be in the theoretical sense. Actually, they will probably not be rolled out until the early 2020’s. This year, testing will explore possible areas where these intelligent technologies are useful. It is important now, though, for retailers to start to understand the potential impact and implementation of these new and exciting platforms.
Sharon Shichor is the CEO of Eighteen Knowledge Group LLC, your solution and knowledge base for brand building and getting your products in the hands of consumers. With over 15 years of wholesale-retail experience, she speaks the language of Walmart fluently.