As technology continues to make e-commerce more accessible and popular than ever, one unintended consequence remains: People are missing the human connection and quality service that physical retail provides. In this, the golden age of e-commerce, where Amazon, Etsy, and even Walmart provide everything from groceries to handmade goods, consumers feel the disconnect. To combat this, companies are spending millions on service advancements to make e-commerce more user-friendly and service-driven. Four trends below in the space:
1. Chatbots and A.I. are here for the consumer
While it might sound counterintuitive to say that humans will feel more connected via A.I., the fact is that, much like in physical commerce, the ability to get answers fast and find solutions in an easily digestible manner is what customers crave.
Rideshare giant Lyft is a prime example of a company using chatbots in a service-conscious fashion, with the goal of providing ultimate flexibility to the consumer. Users can now ask for a ride via Facebook Messenger or even Amazon Echo. The chatbot industry is expected to grow to over $9 billion annually by 2024.
2. Voice searching gives consumers multiple ways to be served
Much like Lyft's Amazon Echo capability, voice searching is a way for e-commerce to cater to all types of searchers, ultimately offering superior service through the breadth of choice. Voice searching is expected to grow a whopping 1,900 percent by 2022, and for good reason: Voice searching is akin to having a digital personal assistant, which makes the consumer feel more taken care of and understood. There's also the element of ease--the less hassle the customer has to go through to make a purchase, the more likely they are to make it. Plus, there's very little hassle in using your voice to shop around.
3. Engaging customers with facts, experts, and community is the ultimate service
As we continue to forge ahead in e-commerce, product understanding and the vitality of community are the ultimate services that can be provided. Eczema solution company Gladskin is leveraging a service-driven e-commerce experience through the use of its GladHub, a knowledge center and discovery hub that arms consumers with the necessary knowledge to make an informed purchase. Additionally, Gladskin's website offers expert insights from the health care professionals members section. This further helps solidify the company's value to customers and helps it become service-driven through its community.
4. Drones are here, but their service capability is only just starting
Drones have been spoken about for years now, and the average consumer can hop onto Amazon right now and buy one for their own enjoyment. And, on an e-commerce level, their capabilities for superior service through ultra-fast delivery continue to gear up. Just last year, shipping giant FedEx completed the first commercial residential drone delivery to a Virginia home. Flirtey, a company focused on drone delivery, believes delivery drones in the sky will be as common as delivery trucks on the road--and medical delivery, food delivery, retail delivery, and e-commerce delivery will be changed forever because of it. The goal is to help businesses unlock new markets, drive sales, pioneer instant delivery, and replace a costly and cumbersome logistics network. In the future, the focus of drones is certain to provide a more efficient and service-driven customer experience--and companies know that; the e-commerce drone industry is projected to grow to more than $7 billion through 2022 because no one wants to wait for their package, thanks primarily to Amazon Prime, which has trained consumers to expect packages the very next day.
The future of e-commerce is about how to make commerce even simpler. In these advanced tech times, consumers want instant answers to questions, to buy without friction, to feel a part of an expert community, and to get products as quickly as possible. And, hopefully, buying products by using your voice and getting them delivered by drones within hours of ordering excites you, because that future is very near.