Consumers love a seamless experience, and retailers are on task, moving ahead to meet those customer demands.
Meanwhile, more shoppers are using visual search, social shopping and augmented reality.
The ability for a shopper to take a photo of a dress seen on someone walking down the street and quickly identify and buy it, or the ability to click and purchase the sofa that a popular social media influencer is lounging on in her latest Instagram post — those capabilities are going to keep e-tail moving ahead in 2020.
1: Visual Search
Shoppers who are looking for an item but can't describe it in words — but will know it when they see it — will flock to visual search technology.
Visual search will help find items that are similar to an uploaded photo.
Computers and smartphones have the ability to recognize and identify the most obscure as well as the most common items, from celebrities to logos to landmarks.
The technology isn't new—Macy's iOS app incorporates image recognition and visual search software, which lets consumers search through a plethora of inventory items just by using pictures snapped from their iPhone to find similar products.
The difference now is that other companies are jumping on the bandwagon. Visual search is particularly gaining momentum in the fashion and home decor sectors, including retailers such as Wayfair and ASOS.
2: Social Shopping
According to a GlobalWebIndex Trends Report “Social Commerce,” smartphone ownership has risen to 95% of the population.
Retailers are subsequently motivated to create ecommerce sites that are handheld device friendly.
The goal is to engage shoppers fully, so they complete the purchase journey while remaining within the ecosystem of these social platforms.
Direct-to-consumer companies, such as Warby Parker, Everlane and Casper, rely on social networks for customer acquisition, and have become a staple of the social commerce landscape.
They’ve been highly successful at not only marketing products through social networks, but also at closing the sale without leaving the platform.
3: Augmented Reality
AR can transform traditional retailers. It can show a customer how a product will look — whether that is furniture in a room or shoes on feet — without having to physically have the item.
Sephora's Virtual Artist App with Modiface, for example, shows users via their smartphone camera how makeup products will look when applied.
For customers who are painting walls and not their faces, Home Depot's Project Color app lets users view a paint color in a room.
The AR technology factors in lighting, objects, and shadows in the room, to help provide a realistic view of how the paint color will actually look.
Customers benefit from retailers’ investments in a variety of technologies when finding new brands, learning about products, and making transactions.
Weaving features such as visual search, social ecommerce and AR into their offerings provides an engaging shopping experience which consumers are starting to expect.
Those retailers that are willing to implement new technology and create better experiences will reap the benefits of listening to and anticipating the needs of their customers.