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Top 3 technologies revolutionising ecommerce

Staying up to date with rapidly evolving technologies in the ecommerce and marketing industries can be a daunting task. With a slew of new technologies out there, it’s also not easy to pinpoint which ones are worth the venture. RTB House analysed the top three most successful technologies impacting the ecommerce industry today.

New technologies on the rise
In 2016, total retail sales across the globe reached a whopping USD 22.049 trillion estimation, up 6 per cent from the previous year according to eMarketer forecasts. The market research company also predicts that sales will top USD 27 trillion in 2020, despite annual growth rates slow over the next few years. Retail ecommerce sales, in turn, reached USD 1.915 trillion in 2016, accounting for 8.7 per cent of total retail spending worldwide and it continues to expand rapidly. Asia-Pacific will remain the world’s largest retail ecommerce market throughout the forecast period, with sales expected to hit USD 2.725 trillion by 2020.

The UK is a world leader in terms of retail ecommerce’s share of total retail sales, and by 2020 digital retail sales will represent a 22.6 per cent share, while in 2017 it will grow by 0.9 per cent to reach £404.75 billion.

This growth has made an ecommerce space that is increasingly competitive. New companies, small business and large corporations alike are going to market online, with customer’s expectations growing simultaneously. To gain an advantage, e-shops must focus more on innovative solutions which help ensure they stay close to the clients’ needs and optimise in a digital way.

The following technologies are the top three trends revolutionising the way brands are changing it up to leverage the power of selling online.

#1 Facebook Messenger Chatbots
Social media responsiveness has led to progress in communicating with customers and enhancing their experience. According to many experts, 2016 was a year of conversational commerce – using chat, messengers, or other natural language interfaces to interact with people, brands, or services.

There is no doubt about the importance of social media in the process of making a buying decision. Gartner’s research shows that brands will lose 15 per cent of their customers if they don’t respond to those who contact them via social media. A study by Bain & Company showed that when responding to customers via this channel, a brand can expect an increase in revenue per customer between 20 and 40 per cent.

Facebook Messenger Chatbots have been one of the major leaders in the customer chat space. When properly deployed, chatbots make your interaction with clients efficient and responsive, made even more robust with automation features. It can stimulate communication numbers and build commitment to the brand, having the same impact as a personal assistant (eg. can answer many more questions than a standard FAQ and by using as context the knowledge about the particular customer, provide the information about a specific delivery or availability of products).

Not only does it improve satisfaction, but chatbot automation instantly reduces operational costs in customer support.

#2 Progressive web apps
The mobile screen has grown so fast that it’s now the leading digital platform, with total activity on smartphones and tablets accounting for two-thirds of digital media time spent. Smartphone apps alone now capture roughly half of this time, according to international research agency ComScore.

The increasing potential of mobile shopping influences the way people buy. Customers who make a decision to interact with the brand closely are “allergic” to sites that are not mobile-friendly or have useable offline features. Localytics data shows that 37 per cent of users use ecommerce & retail apps for one month after they downloaded it, meaning 63 per cent of users have churned and are no longer using the app one month after.

Low performance on mobile apps has led brands to turn to progressive web apps, or mobile websites that can perform super-fast and behave just like an app. This web ecosystem combines advantages of mobile web and apps, but leaves out many of their flaws. It has full functionality of websites with dynamic data, database access while at the same time the mobile app ease of use. This combination makes it a potential game changer in the ecommerce industry.

In a nutshell, this means creating a website that is fully responsive on mobile and extremely fast – giving users the opportunity to work offline and on any device without the need to download a native app. In addition, it means brands can do away with big investments in apps designed for every particular platform, while still meeting customers’ expectations. This, in turn, means that more and more players will be able to own a user-friendly app.

#3 User experience powered by deep learning
Being essentially a complex method of problem-solving used by algorithms in computer science, deep learning is now a key technology in many industries beyond pure software. This includes ecommerce for which the new approach has great potential to be a real game changer.

Among numerous examples, such algorithms are the backbone of Facebook DeepText engine, which purpose is to improve the ecommerce chatbots experience. They are also used in a variety of image processing engines, from selecting similar offers in the e-shop for recommendation purposes, to Yahoo’s image recognition solution helping automatically identify images not suitable or safe for work (NSFW). Also Google makes use of dep learning within their translation system, reducing errors by 60 per cent which, in turn, could help ecommerce players in opening services in multilingual environments.

Deep learning algorithms also pose a great opportunity for programmatic advertising campaigns. For instance, retargeting technology has been used for some time, but deep learning is rapidly changing the way personalised retargeting works.

Such methods are able to improve user experience in numerous ways predicting behavior and indicating probabilities of specific events more accurately. Internal RTB House data showed that using deep learning algorithms can quickly lead to increased performance of display campaigns by 13 per cent (click-throughs) and 25 per cent (conversions).

Comprehensive data analysis, which comes with deep learning, can reveal a much-expanded understanding of website visitors’ intentions, helping ecommerce players not only advertise effectively, but also make online purchase processes easier than even before.

Daniel Surmacz

Daniel Surmacz is the Chief Operating Officer at RTB House. He focuses on creating a long-term development strategy and working out key guidelines for foreign expansion of RTB House. He has been planning and coordinating all business activities since the company was founded.