Scott Lester, Chief Executive of Flixmedia.tv, believes the new decade marks a turning point for an industry that needs to innovate to grow. Here he explains why.
We've got to a point in online retail now where most consumers are comfortable with the experience of buying online - sales have grown 11% year on year. But the ecommerce experience is far from perfect, and sales are being lost every day because of this.
Some parts of the online shopping journey haven't changed in 10 years - for example, hundreds of potential purchases are lost every day because of customers abandoning their carts before checkout, because the checkout experience still isn't simple and compelling enough. Real progress needs to be made."
Key innovations that online retailers should be looking at in 2010 are:
1. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality - the overlaying of digital images, video and information onto real world content - is set to infiltrate every aspect of our lives in 2010, with ecommerce one of the major growth areas.
"Imagine holding up your iPhone to a product in a shop and getting competitive prices, product information and more overlaid onto the image. Or, to take it one step further, how about an augmented reality interactive product catalogue? Flixmedia.tv is already planning to release its first vendor/retailer augmented reality campaign in February 2010.”
2. Data Mining
In the face of the social media revolution, online retailers are doing their best to react with campaigns that aim to engage the consumer in their own space and on their own terms - whether that's offering more interactive, immersive content on their own site, or actively conversing with customers on Twitter and Facebook.
Robust tracking and analysis of the data these sorts of campaigns provide is more important than ever. In 2010 it will be vital for online retailers to be able to effectively data mine their sales and marketing campaigns.
3. Mobile purchasing and geo-locating
The iPhone has changed everything for ecommerce - consumers once wary of purchasing via their mobile phones have bought over 2 billion apps from the iPhone app store since it launched.
According to a Deloitte survey, one in five shoppers planned to use their mobile device to help them with their Christmas shopping this year, with four out of ten consumers between the ages of 18 to 29 years old planning to use their mobile device to shop.
Additionally, geo-location technology opens up even more opportunities for engaging with consumers wherever they are.
But don't imagine that you can just create an iPhone app extension of your website brand and be done with it.
Competing with thousands of other apps in the store is a tough task, and retailers should be thinking about driving consumers as much to the high street destination as the digital one: a prominent store finder is key for any retail mobile app.
Within this, the evolution of geo-locating on the iPhone or similar devices will open up endless options – by enabling consumers to be targeted in a specific location, or allowing them to send information from that location."
4. Real-Time Revolution
2009 saw the real-time revolution of Twitter reach the mainstream, and this trend will only be amplified in 2010. Consequently, retailers need to be able to engage with and react to the real-time conversation around their brand. But this demands a new savviness from online retailers.
At December's Le Web conference, Xavier Court of Vente Privee noted that, “I don’t like the idea of using Facebook and Twitter as marketing tools. Consumers are not naive - they know when it's a company push on Twitter.”
Entrepreneurs will lead the way in creating tools that enable better selling through social media, and it's therefore vital in 2010 that retailers look to new technology to help them integrate more effectively into the online real-time conversation around their brand."
5. Ecommerce as Entertainment
In 2009 Buy.tv, Ralph Lauren TV, and JC Penney's video runway shows revealed new ways of integrating video ecommerce into the shopping experience, creating retail narratives that were more like entertainment shows than traditional marketing campaigns.
This trend of 'ecommerce as entertainment' will grow even stronger in 2010, as consumers become increasingly more demanding and choice expands.
Grabbing and keeping the attention of consumers will be a priority for retailers - offering an added value shopping experience as entertaining as the latest Paris fashion shows is one way of keeping them on the page.
It's about giving consumers a retail journey as convenient, accessible and simple as the one they get walking into a high street shop. These key innovations will play a massive part in closing the gap between the online and bricks and mortar experience."
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