How is Digital Transformation Advancing the Future of the eCommerce Industry?

nitinsoni November 22, 2022
ecommerce digital transformation

Digital transformation is not a new term anymore. Although industries across different sectors were undergoing digital transformation earlier as well, the pandemic accelerated the process. A report by Statista states that the technology and energy sectors have accelerated their digital transformation processes at the highest speed with 78% and 77%, respectively in response to COVID-19, whereas, digital transformation in eCommerce and retail sectors has sped at 70% post-pandemic.

Digital transformation in eCommerce

As forecasted, the digitally transformed enterprises will account for $53.3 trillion of the global nominal GDP by 2023. This clearly shows the supremacy of digital transformation with respect to the global economy. Digital transformation is positively contributing to creating better customer experiences while automation is contributing to the enhancement of process efficiencies. In other words, the enterprises that are keeping pace with the digital transformation are bound to contribute better to the economy.

The benefits of digital transformation are well known and widely talked about. However, the quick transformation poses the challenge of skill gaps and cultural differences. The friction is created due to a lack of clarity on transformation strategies and unplanned and insufficient alignments across the departments in an organization.

The most prominent digital transformation that the world has seen with the onset of the pandemic is how we shop. The experience of shopping from a brick and mortar store is, of course, very different. However, comparing the products available in the store via online mediums has enabled the user to choose from a wider bucket of products that are available at better prices than ever before. Today, even when the user visits a physical shop, they quickly browse through the eCommerce website for product, variety, and price comparison.

Through this article, let us dig into some of the disruptions that digital transformation in eCommerce has brought in and try to explore the future of eCommerce digital transformation.

However, first, let us briefly look at the factors that are driving digital transformation in the eCommerce industry.

Factors driving digital transformation in eCommerce

Shopping online has become a normal activity today. Exploring the products online and making purchase decisions is a normal practice. However, the trends are changing and you need to embrace digital transformation to take your eCommerce business to the next level.

Here are the basic expectations today’s customers have that are driving digital transformation across the eCommerce industry.

Ever-increasing customer demands

Convenience has overtaken brand loyalty with eCommerce adoption trends. The customer now looks for better pricing, ease of pick-up and delivery, timely delivery of the orders, and ease of return. These ever-increasing demands and expectations are pushing the organization to opt for newer technologies to keep up with the pace of customer demands.

Direct-to-consumer strategies

With increasing competition, brands are now looking for ways to sell directly, preferring direct-to-consumer strategies. Enabling the customers to directly interact with the brand on their own platform rather than the aggregator online shopping platforms, organizations can cut costs, offer better prices to customers, and generate better revenue. Customers, too, by interacting with the brands directly get a better product experience.

Robust delivery systems

Online shopping brought the ease of returning the product if a wrong product or defective product was delivered to the customer. However, with increasing demands, the customer now expects that they get the right order at the right time on the first go. The inaccurate order deliveries might put off the customers and subsequently business. Thus, having a robust delivery system and supply chain is one of the critical factors that drive organizations to opt for digital transformation.

Secure your future with our eCommerce digital transformation services

How is digital transformation transforming the eCommerce industry?

Revitalizing the old processes by infusing new technologies is termed as digital transformation. Talking specifically about the retail industry, it means online ordering, contactless payments and ordering, self-checkout, cost optimization, product personalization, and much more.

Here are some of the ways in which digital transformation is transforming the eCommerce industry:

Explore how digital transformation can reduce your business cost to gain further insights.

Augmented reality to help make informed choices

Augmented reality is the technology that allows users to help visualize the product in the place it is intended for. For example, IKEA, a leading furniture retailer, provides the option of selecting a piece of furniture and seeing how it would fit into your room and decor with the help of augmented reality. This helps the consumers to choose and buy the right furniture without the need of switching to different platforms and making the right purchase in the first go.

Being one of the fastest growing eCommerce app development companies, Appinventiv has contributed to the digital transformation of IKEA’s eCommerce store by providing a cloud-based ERP solution that has made customer onboarding easier while supporting marketing and promotional efforts. The retail outlet claims this to be their biggest source of ROI measurement.

digital transformation of IKEA’s eCommerce store

Algorithmic merchandising

This feature helps in optimizing the store’s inventory based on the location’s demands and helps in deciding the price and promotion methodologies. All of the above ensures accurate inventory management that greatly optimizes sales, margins, and customer satisfaction throughout the process. Such algorithms are created with the use of advanced data and analytics, enhancing efficient and effective decision-making.

Algorithmic sales make it easy to thoroughly strategize operational costs, logistical challenges, and inventory management to meet the customer’s needs.

Contactless shopping

The pandemic has forced retailers to provide a contactless experience when shopping for better safety enabling an enhanced online shopping experience along with contactless payments. This has also brought up the need of providing a personalized online experience to the customers reflecting commitment towards the end user, thus providing a fulfilling customer experience.

Personalized recommendations

Artificial intelligence has made eCommerce processes smarter. Understanding customer behavior, choices, and preferences, thus proposing the products surely provides the feeling of personalization.

Better insights into customer behavior

Data is the goldmine for digital transformation strategy. Algorithms can help in preparing retailers by better forecasting demands thus maximizing the newly available opportunities. Seamless interfaces enable the eCommerce business to break down the process, getting better insights on different steps of the eCommerce process from market demand to inventory to supply to productivity and much more.

Getting a better insight into customer behavior can further be mined to get further details at a minute level. For example, identifying the best-selling product, the marketing campaign yielding the maximum ROI, and so on. Needless to say that these details can be comprehended for better customization.

Trends in eCommerce digital transformation

eCommerce digital transformation

Finding the latest trends is a necessity for those who want to stay ahead in the competitive landscape. Additionally, providing an extraordinary customer experience has become a part and parcel of trends.

Let us understand the leading trends of eCommerce digital transformation and understand the future prospects of what and why of these changes in the trends.

Automation

Automation is one of the major techniques adopted by businesses in all sectors. eCommerce too, is rapidly expanding its horizons, covering every department from marketing to warehousing, supply chain management, and many more.

For example, supply chain management can be automated for inventory management ensuring no shortfall of product at any given point in time.  Automating your marketing strategy can help you in better lead generation and conversion. Automation in marketing has resulted in up to 77% of marketers generating more leads while 56% seeing higher conversion rates.

Chatbots

Similarly, AI and chatbots have made their prominent place in the digital transformation process. Providing personalized experiences has become easier by answering the customer queries in no time, making the customer feel special. It is expected to continue to cater to the market with changing trends ensuring to meet the customer’s requirements without fail.

According to statistics, customers of the eCommerce industry are the highest receptive audience of the chatbot responses. 34% of the users accept chatbots as a useful tool helping the customer by providing a personalized experience.

Interactive products of eCommerce

The cherry on the cake can be the incorporation of augmented reality that can provide immersive experiences in the eCommerce industry. Enabling the users to make judgments on the products and brands to buy from by offering them a virtual environment similar to the actual one. 61% of online shoppers prefer to purchase from eCommerce platforms that offer an AR experience.

Social commerce

Social network platforms are not only the means of communication but do act as eCommerce platforms in some way. Online retailers offer the overall purchasing experience from product delivery to online payments on social networking platforms like Facebook. This trend will only see an upward growth trajectory in the near future. Statista predicts that the revenue via social media platforms will reach $2.9 trillion by 2026, as against estimated sales of $992 billion in the current year.

Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL)

The most availed option by the millennial generation, BNPL offers flexibility and freedom of shopping while providing multiple benefits. The customer can save on credit card interest charges by opting for this method of payment. They also get the leverage of purchasing products that otherwise might not fit into their budget. A report states that the global BNPL industry will reach up to $680 billion in transactions by 2025.

Progressive Web Applications (PWA)

This technology is similar to the native mobile application. However, it is built using web technologies like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Its primary features include push notifications, offline application access, and access through the smartphone’s home screen.

Successful digital transformation examples in eCommerce are giants like Alibaba and Walmart, that have been generating better revenues and improved conversion rates with PWAs. PWA implementation can increase the conversion rate by 93.3%.

How to attain digital transformation for your eCommerce business?

Now that we have understood the factors and trends that are driving digital transformation in eCommerce, let us dive into the strategy that should be adopted to attain the much needed transformation digitally.

Step 1 – Define business goals

The business is normally redesigned in a manner that all the strategies converge towards final outcomes and business profit providing a competitive edge. Few simple and widely accepted focus areas of the business while defining business goals are:

  • Increased productivity with a customer-centric approach
  • Flexibility in operations with robust infrastructure
  • Strong analytical tool for better insights
  • Choosing the technologies to differentiate your services and to enhance the process efficiency while keeping the costs low

Step 2 – Hire an eCommerce development company

Taking up the complete transformation project in-house not only requires a dedicated and experienced team of developers but requires time and comparatively bigger investments. Getting the outsourced app development company on board can help you in quickly transforming your eCommerce application with their expertise and rich experience.

Digital transformation of Adidas

Step 3 – Revamp the customer experience strategy

Customer experience is the primary focus of the eCommerce strategy. Thus, it is important and imperative to ensure robust strategies around customer experience. For the same, a major focus should be laid on enhancing the UI/UX of your application.

Step 4 – Implement new and relevant technology solutions

Tech stack for your eCommerce business must be chosen based on your requirements and desired end results. Technology should be embraced correctly with an in-depth understanding of the features that you wish to incorporate on your platform.

Step 5 – Revitalize customer journey with AR and VR technologies

Providing a real-like experience virtually is something that enables online customers to experience every aspect of the product. Adoption of  AR and VR technologies can help broadly in providing a customized experience anytime and anywhere. These technologies can be easily integrated with the existing infrastructure saving you from creating the experience from scratch.

Impact of digital transformation on the future of the eCommerce industry

Impact of digital transformation

Digital transformation is an ever-evolving process, especially in the eCommerce industry. It is mandatory for eCommerce businesses to stay updated with the new trends, customer expectations, and behaviors to strategically transform their eCommerce business.

Listed below are some of the ways that will change the future of the eCommerce industry.

Increase in DTC sales

With digital eCommerce, it has become easier for businesses to reach out to direct customers bypassing the link of wholesalers. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) enables online sellers to understand their customers better, enabling them to increase their business revenue.

DTC will enable the brands to customize and personalize the products as per the demand of the consumers. Interacting directly with customers will also help offer better support, thus creating a better customer experience and brand loyalty.

Building a new customer base with the brand campaigners that are created because of better CX, will lead to a larger customer base.

Personalization with big data

With big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, offering a personalized experience is easier. The big data algorithms will understand the past shopping behaviors of the customer providing them the options of bespoke products and relevant recommendations. Internet of Things (IoT) devices can be exploited by integrating your website with product recommendations.

Augmented reality for visualization

Many retailers have already adopted this technology to provide a top-class customer experience and earn the brand loyalty of the customers. For others, it is the next big thing in the future of the eCommerce industry.

Getting the feel of the product in real-life situations provides confidence to the customers in the purchases they are making. eCommerce industry growth is all set to augment this feature of digital transformation.

Optimization will continue

As mentioned earlier, data will be the key to the future of the eCommerce industry. Understanding the conversion rate and optimizing the products will continue and enhance in the future. Easing the customer journey at every step of the process is likely to increase the conversion rate. eCommerce industry growth is quite dependent on the conversion rate, in other words, optimization.

Adoption of alternative payment methods

The use of credit cards has become a traditional method of payment. The future of eCommerce will have multiple alternative methods of payment options like blockchain-based payment such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and options of buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) will become the norm in the future of the eCommerce industry.

Mobile shopping will continue to increase

A survey clearly shows that retail mobile shopping, also termed eCommerce, is expected to reach $728.28 billion by 2025. 44.2% of sales in the US is expected to contribute to this enormous growth.

The consumer is becoming addicted to mobile shopping because of the attractive user interface, great choices, and ease of shopping. The trend is likely to continue. However, organizations need to ensure that they continuously evolve technologically to keep the customers engaged and to ensure that the customers keep coming back to them for new and better experiences.

B2B will become more extensive

It is predicted that the B2B eCommerce industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.7% from 2021 to 2028. The market was valued at $6.64 trillion in 2020.

With digital transformation in eCommerce, most of the B2B eCommerce websites are focusing on providing an intuitive, modern, and unique customer experience.

Transform your eCommerce business with us

Appinventiv’s approach to digital transformation in the eCommerce industry

Keeping profits and outcomes at the forefront, we at Appinventiv take a strategic approach to designing the digital transformation path for your eCommerce business. Our primary focus is on:

  • providing a better customer experience that will increase customer retention rates
  • Simplifying business operations with better insight into data
  • Designing digital processes that will speed up operations while providing distinctive services with reduced costs
  • Offering robust analytics for better actionable insights

With data analytics expertise, we can revisit the customer experience journey to reconstruct the journey with the data insights to ensure integrated processes for better customer acquisition and retention.

As a leading eCommerce app development company, we have worked with various startups and Fortune 500 companies such as Adidas, IKEA, 6th Street, and Edamama to provide digital transformation solutions that drive results.

Get in touch with our team for your eCommerce project today!

FAQs

Q. What are some of the technologies used for digital transformation in the eCommerce industry?

A. Some highly recommended technologies that can take your eCommerce platform to the next level are:

  • AI personalization
  • AR and VR product visualization
  • Data analytics and interconnectivity

Q. Why is digital transformation important in eCommerce?

A. A study indicates that 79% of smartphone users have made purchases online using their smartphone devices. This clearly indicates that the retailers need to up their game by evaluating their current technology status. Accordingly, enterprises should opt for digital transformation to stay relevant in the eCommerce industry.

Q. How can one achieve successful digital transformation in the eCommerce industry?

A. The enterprises can follow the steps mentioned below-

  • Step 1 – Define business goals
  • Step 2 – Hire an eCommerce app development company
  • Step 3 – Revamp the customer experience strategy
  • Step 4 – Implement new and relevant technology solutions
  • Step 5 – Revitalize customer journey with AR and VR technologies
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