E-commerce has grown faster than nearly every other industry in the history of industrialization. In just two decades, it’s become a $4 trillion annual industry and growing. To put that into better perspective, the global car manufacturing industry is valued at $904 billion (as of 2015), with year-over-year growth of 15%. Simply put, e-commerce, fed by consumer demand, selection, pricing and convenience, is taking numbers.
The undernote of e-retail’s rapid rise is technology; its evolution is ongoing and has taken humanity to entire new levels since the rise of the internet. In an industry this rich, it does make one wonder the next big technological gold rush will be. Emerging trendsetters, like cloud-hosted e-commerce CRM solutions that offer cross-channel integration, seem poised to catapult to the top of the list. What follows are a few intrinsic reasons why.
Tracking the Customer Journey
The e-commerce world of today requires that retailers think deeper. Knowing the customer journey from entrance to a website, to bounce, to shipping preferences, return behavior, shopping habits and more is incremental to success. But few technology tools offer this, and instead leave retailers to figure out these analytics on their own. Couple this with cross-channel selling, and it can be downright impossible to track a customer’s journey.
Cross-channel integration resolves these issues, and gives retailers a clear picture of what each customer is doing across all their sales channels. With this data being nested under one hybrid cloud umbrella, retailers now have immediate access to important customers insights that empower them to create a memorable customer journey that is conducive to improved sales and healthier long term retention. It also enables retailers to better forecast trends, sales, returns and more, so they can create more effective marketing campaigns.
The Cross-Channel E-commerce World
E-commerce has evolved from its infancy of being just a single channel shopping environment. Today’s online retail world spans numerous channels that include, but are not limited to: Your online store, marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, social media, collage shopping outlets and discount resellers. Factoring in price matching, a returns policy, shipping cost and more, and e-tailers have their hands full trying to win over customers.
Before today’s technology came around this meant that online retailers would spend hours sifting through their analytics and trying to update their PPC campaigns, setup retargeting goals and compare numbers between shopping engines. Of course, it also meant that they were guessing on customer behavior most of the time, too. This is where tools like e-commerce CRM help make sense of a confusing e-commerce reality. Combined with other systems, like a retargeting service, social posting service, shipping and returns software, they offer an essential part of a complete solution.
Evolving E-commerce Technology
E-commerce is certainly an industry that has plenty of challenges. But thanks to the next batches of technology, like e-commerce CRM, retailers have more tools than ever before to help them drive sales and win over long term customers. Doing so also requires that e-tailers are in-tune with their customers and the journey along the way. Smart retailers are always forward-looking. And they use these tools to expedite and fast track the path to success. Evolution of e-tail technology such as this might just be representative of the next big shift.