The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed digital commerce. Lockdowns and social distancing saw a rise in home delivery and contactless services, with customers becoming accustomed to getting whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and delivered to their doorstep in record speed. The growing demand for hyper-convenience and the need to shop from any device, has put increased pressure on businesses, continually raising the bar to meet and exceed consumer demand.
A switch to total experience
The traditional customer-centric approach is fast becoming obsolete. With consumer demand for hyper-convenience skyrocketing, the only way businesses can deliver the fastest, most streamlined service is by improving the experience for everyone involved. This means unifying the traditionally separate disciplines of customer experience (CX), user experience (UX), employee experience (EX) and multi-experience (MX), to create a more holistic total experience (TX).
As we move into 2023, we can expect the insatiable demand for hyper-convenience to continue, but without also taking into consideration the experiences of staff and third party partners who are under increasing pressure to meet these demands, businesses will fail to deliver. Businesses will be looking to technologies that improve the total experience; keeping customers happy while also making staff and partners’ lives easier.
Fast mobile eCommerce more important than ever
The popularity of mobile eCommerce has been steadily climbing, with a PayPal report showing 82% of Australians are now shopping on mobile. Google has also switched to mobile-first indexing, with speedy mobile sites improving SEO rankings. We’ve been talking about the importance of enhancing the mobile eCommerce experience for a while now, but we expect that in 2023 this will become even more important. Progressive web apps (PWA) – a ‘headless’ approach that separates the front end of an eCommerce site from the back, drastically improving mobile page load speeds – will be more widely adopted as slashing page load speeds becomes increasingly more important.
The rise of cloud native
Continuing with the theme of increasing speeds, cloud native – solutions that are built specifically for the cloud, in the cloud – is another key trend we expect to see more businesses adopt in 2023. Although digital transformation continues to be a priority for many organisations, the truth is that legacy systems that aren’t designed for the cloud, simply don’t perform with as much speed and agility as cloud-native platforms.
Not only do cloud-native platforms provide customers a faster, more seamless experience, they provide digital commerce businesses the unprecedented ability to be creative and test new ideas. Choosing a cloud-native approach improves development capabilities, accelerates speed to market, and makes it easier for businesses to continue to upgrade their commerce offerings to stay ahead of the competition.
Even with the fastest digital commerce sites, businesses will continue to lose customers if there are issues with payments. Consumers have gotten used to the easy and seamless transactions offered by the likes of Amazon and Uber, and they expect the same frictionless payment experience across all eCommerce sites.
Providing customers with a frictionless payment experience is not just about storing their data so they don’t have to enter their details each time – although this is important – but it’s about offering the widest array of payment methods; accepting Apple Pay, offering buy-now-pay-later, and potentially even adding crypto to the mix. Customers want to be able to make a purchase without feeling like they’ve made a purchase, so businesses will need to be making their payment processes frictionless in 2023.
A move to first-party data
Following multiple high profile data breaches in 2022, customers are becoming increasingly concerned about data privacy. Pair with this the fact that tech giants like Apple and Google have announced plans to do away with third-party cookies, first-party data is going to become increasingly important for businesses in the new year. Businesses can no longer rely on customer data collected via third parties, but instead look at ways to collect their own first-party data through web traffic, marketing emails, purchase history, and social media communications. By utilising tools such as Adobe Commerce Cloud or Adobe Experience Cloud, combined with included cloud hosting from Azure or AWS, businesses can create a digital ecosystem that offers a 360 overview of the customer. This data enables businesses to deliver more personalised customer experiences and make data-driven business decisions.
As new technologies emerge and continue to disrupt the retail landscape, we’re starting to see the rise of digital transactions outside of traditional websites. Moving away from the concept of online vs bricks and mortar, the ability for transactions to take place within just about any digital platform will make way for the newer concept of ‘commerce everywhere’.
Whether it’s allowing customers to complete a purchase via messaging service, such as SMS, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger, or whether it’s implementing AI-powered voice commerce so consumers can simply ask Google or Alexa to order them a new pair of shoes, businesses are no longer limited to making sales in store or via websites. Instead, taking a commerce everywhere approach means that retailers and other digital commerce businesses can make every digital touchpoint transactional in 2023 and beyond.
James Horne is CEO of Balance Internet.