Issues like market saturation and the customer experience are things those involved with e-commerce are thinking about; not to mention the great seachange caused by voice, courtesy of Amazon Alexa/Echo, Google Home and Siri.
The biggest brands already use voice and chat services to interact with their customers. Amazon Echo resides in our homes whilst WhatsApp users eclipse social networks if we look at the number of monthly active users.
This means that e-tailers need to find new ways to communicate with their customers. However, the direct control is in the hands of the devices we choose to control our homes – whether it’s from Amazon, Google or (soon) the Apple HomePod. The big problem is that Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri may not even choose your brand first.
This is all according to Forbes and Paul Armstrong, who asked several speakers from eTail Europe what disruptions they would be facing this year. He found out that voice isn’t the only concern for the e-commerce community.
Constantin Eis, co-founder & global managing director of Casper had this to say:
"The biggest issue we are facing in eCommerce in 2018/2019 is saturation of the market. When Casper launched in 2014, no one had heard of a sleep startup. Casper disrupted the mattress industry, creating and propelling the online mattress category. We will continue to differentiate ourselves with better products backed by research and design at a better value and with a better experience."
How can e-tailers differentiate themselves from other players in the market? Giving the customers a one-of-a-kind experience is one way, according to Thomas Nieslon, CDO of Tesco, who believes this is the biggest issue facing e-commerce right now. He had the following to say:
"[How]I would argue that the biggest issue facing eCommerce is how to use customer experience as a strategic differentiator – across screens (mobile, web and in-store) – and the way to do this is to understand each customer in an intimate way and tailor experiences (and not just product recommendations) to each customer."
This topic is causing Peter Williams, chairman of Boohoo.com a lot of bother:
"[I need to] ensure that the organisation's infrastructure doesn't act as a brake on the ability of the company to meet the growth in demand for its products."
Pouya Boland, CEO and co-founder of Chiquelle is worried most about cross-border:
"The biggest issue we are facing eCommerce in 2018/2019 is still the lack of ''technology''' in terms of systems, payment solutions and many technical issues to connect multiple systems and platforms and cross-border payments to each other and we are still way behind in Europe and far behind if we compare with the States."
Every smart business has a strategy for online that takes into account the issues beyond mobile, but the smartest businesses know that any strategy needs to anticipate how the human element will affect sales. 2018 may see a major upheaval if brands don’t recognise the necessity and quickly revamp their strategies.