Ecommerce Tech Trends Everyone In The Industry Should Know About
- The world of e-commerce is changing rapidly while recording massive growth.
- The technology required to power e-commerce has also changed in recent months.
- Here are the five tech trends that industry players need to know about right now, experts say.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an explosion in e-commerce sales. This growth has also provided many opportunities for technology providers to innovate.
Insider spoke to six ecommerce analysts and experts about technology trends that are important for everyone in the industry to know right now.
These experts said anyone working in e-commerce should keep in mind the number of different channels available to customers, as well as the changes that tech giants, including Apple and Google, are making to the way retailers consumer data can be tracked. These changes mean that the technology required to power e-commerce is also evolving.
Here are the tech trends that industry players should be aware of as e-commerce continues to evolve:
Headless commerce is here to stay
A growing number of startups are doubling down on ‘headless’ commerce, which refers to the idea that the look of a consumer-oriented website can be divorced from its back-end code. The two layers then communicate with each other using application programming interfaces, or APIs.
Separating the two layers makes it easier for business owners to customize their storefronts for different channels. These channels can be a mobile app, a desktop site, or even voice technology like Amazon’s Alexa.
“People buy in so many different ways, and I think any service that can help them be where people want them matters a lot,” Laura Kennedy, senior analyst at CB Insights, told Insider in July.
Amazon has long used a headless approach to develop its own services. But startups like Fabric, Commerce.js, and Commerce Layer are looking to make headless commerce a possibility for online retailers who don’t have Amazon’s vast resources.
“Customer expectations for the type of experience – or the device they actually use to interact with the brand or business online – are changing rapidly,” Commerce.js co-founder Andrew Underwood told Insider. “The advantage of having a headless API first approach is that you don’t have to follow the front-end technology. “
First-party data becomes a priority for online sellers
For years, DTC brands have used targeted advertising to reach potential customers online. These ads relied on third-party browsing data collected by companies like Apple and Google.
But Apple’s recent changes that require apps to ask permission to track users for advertising and Google’s plans to end third-party cookies in its Chrome browser by 2023 have hurt brands’ ability to target consumers with analytics tools like Facebook Pixels.
This means that online brands need to re-evaluate the way they learn about their customers. Some of them do this in creative ways, such as asking customers to express their preferences through quizzes on the brand’s website. Others are rethinking their approach to affiliate marketing.
“Brands have a great need to work with platforms that have first-party data, or that get first-party data,” said Raj Nijjer, marketing director of affiliate and influencer marketing platform Refersion, at Insider.
Once they have information about what their customers want, they can reach them and talk to them more effectively. Automation and artificial intelligence can help brands achieve this level of personalization.
“Online brands need to collect their own data so they can analyze it to get to know their customers better and provide them with more personalized communications and offers to break the noise of the proliferation of online shopping channels,” John Harmon, analyst senior. at Coresight Research, Insider said.
Online resale is evolving
As more and more customers show an interest in purchasing second-hand products – especially clothing – more and more brands are deciding that offering a resale option to customers is a necessity.
And, they look to established resale players to help them develop it.
Harmon pointed to “the emergence of resale-as-a-service platforms such as ThredUP and Trove” as a recent trend in e-commerce.
Building a resale platform from scratch can be expensive and complex for brands to accomplish. Trove CEO Andy Ruben told Glossy it could cost a brand up to $ 50 million to create an in-house resale program.
Levi’s, Lululemon, and Patagonia have teamed up with Trove for resale. Madewell recently partnered with ThredUp for a new denim resale site called Madewell Forever.
Chris Ventry, former executive of Gilt Groupe and vice president of consumer and retail practices at SSA & Company, said retailers are embracing RFID technology to reduce counterfeiting in the resale space. RFID technology uses radio frequencies to store and track data on individual items.
“But this technology will extend beyond allowing the customer to be comfortable in the authenticity of their pre-loved Gucci handbag. The technology will expand to begin a product story,” said Ventry. “Why not be able to get information from previous owners?” This handbag was given to me on my first birthday ”or“ I paired this handbag with a vintage Dior dress during the amfAR gala 2018 “.”
Loyalty and rewards programs are more important than ever
While it has never been easier to start an online business, standing out from the crowd has become more of a challenge, especially for new brands.
At the same time, the changes brought by the tech giants make it nearly impossible for DTC brands to rely on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to reach new customers.
For this reason, industry watchers say DTC brands should focus on lasting customer loyalty rather than customer acquisition.
“Now more than ever you have all of this data,” said Daniel Binder, partner at retail consultancy Columbus Consulting. “You really now work very closely with your customer, get their feedback, monitor their buying plans, and help organize unique, highly personalized offers. “
Loyalty doesn’t necessarily mean a traditional program with perks like free shipping and the ability to earn points. Brands can also look to startups like Lolli, which offer users free bitcoin for their online purchases. Text-based marketing platforms like Klaviyo also allow salespeople to interact more deeply with customers through their cell phones.
Brands can also try to create exclusive products only for their most loyal customers.
“Sheltering at home has broken the relationship between consumers and physical stores and reset their online relationships, exposing consumers to more channels where they can shop,” said Harmon, of Coresight. Research. “Managing loyalty is the way to keep consumers’ attention on your own store and channel and ignore the rest.”
Businesses Acquiring Third-Party Online Sellers Raise Big Money
A growing number of companies focused on acquiring Shopify sellers and third-party Amazon brands are raising large amounts of venture capital funds.
Thrasio has now raised $ 1.7 billion and acquired around 100 third-party Amazon brands. Perch has raised over $ 908 million. And Heyday has raised more than $ 250 million and generated more than $ 100 million in revenue, according to the company.
After acquiring a brand online, these companies use data and algorithms to boost their capabilities and propel their sales to new heights on Amazon.
Industry watchers say Amazon’s roll-up companies are capitalizing on a period of strong growth for e-commerce.
“So many of these companies, when you look at when they were founded, it’s 2020, and you can see that Covid and the explosion of e-commerce is what really ignited them and made the proverbial hockey stick of the growth, ”Kennedy mentioned.
Shopify sellers are also becoming popular with investors. Venture capitalists Keith Rabois and Jack Abraham recently teamed up to launch OpenStore, which delivers automated offerings to online businesses with a focus on Shopify stores. Rabois told Bloomberg in June that the startup hopes to acquire dozens of Shopify merchants over the next year.
Meanwhile, Shopify has its own marketplace, Exchange, where merchants can list their storefronts for sale and hopefully generate interest from cluster businesses or individual buyers.