eCommerce Innovations—New Tech and the Companies Leveraging It
Updated · Mar 06, 2023
Innovation is the key to success in any industry.
By constantly looking for new ways to improve your product or service, you'll be able to stay ahead of the competition and keep your customers coming back for more.
Whether it's finding better ways to fulfill orders, developing new marketing strategies, or improving customer experience, small innovations in ecommerce can make a big difference in your bottom line.
With that in mind, let’s seek some inspiration by checking out some ecommerce innovations and the companies that are leading the way.
The most significant innovations focus on improving efficiency, increasing customer convenience, and boosting brand awareness.
Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming one of the most essential tools in ecommerce and underpins nearly every other innovation.
By analyzing customer data, AI can help businesses personalize their products and services, improving the customer experience and increasing sales.
AI can also be used to automate repetitive tasks, such as order processing and customer service.
These tools are even finding applications as retail innovation in less thought of areas such as corporate design.
Recently, social media has been awash with people trying out the program DALL-E 2.
Admittedly the results are mixed so far, but quite soon, it will be possible to change the aesthetic of websites to individual visitors’ tastes.
Because search engines are most people’s first stop when they hop online, SEO is an invaluable tool for businesses of all stripes, but up until now, it’s focused on the written word.
However, as voice-activated devices have become more popular, people are increasingly using voice searches instead. As a result, voice SEO is becoming increasingly important.
Voice SEO ecommerce strategies involve optimizing content for voice search engines such as Siri and Alexa. Voice SEO sees writers using long-tail keywords, natural language, and a more conversational tone to match the way voice queries are made.
In addition, it is essential to ensure that you have short-form content. If a voice assistant like Alexa or Siri is going to be reading it, shorter product descriptions, titles, etc., are better.
Greater emphasis on FAQs is one way to begin approaching this.
Greater Omnichannel Support
Another massive innovation is omnichannel support.
Different companies, especially ones that don’t tread the same ground, recognize that integration between platforms drives sales and engagement.
Top retail sites offer omnichannel support as a business, which means being available to customers across all channels, including phone, email, chat, and social media.
It also means providing a consistent experience regardless of which channel the customer uses. This requires coordination between different teams and departments and consistent branding.
An excellent way to get omnichannel support right now is to look into headless ecommerce. The more modular nature allows for connecting different components without interfering with existing ones quickly.
On that note…
More Social eCommerce
This refers to social media platforms that facilitate online transactions.
While traditional ecommerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay have been hugely successful, retail innovations have come to social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok.
There are several reasons for this shift. First, social media platforms have a much larger reach than traditional ecommerce sites.
Second, social media platforms provide businesses with an opportunity to build relationships with their customers.
And third, social media platforms let stores “catch” consumers' attention while they’re busy scrolling.
As a result, it is no surprise that social ecommerce is expected to become one of the main pillars of ecommerce in the years to come.
The Rise of Click-and-Mortar
In recent years, there has been a shift in the way that many businesses operate.
With the advent of online shopping and its innovative ecommerce offerings, more and more consumers are opting to make their purchases from the comfort of their own homes.
As a result, some brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to keep up.
In response, many businesses are adopting a click-and-mortar business model, which combines the convenience of online shopping with the personal touch of in-person customer service.
Under this model, customers can browse and purchase items online, but they also have the option to pick up their purchases at a physical store location.
This allows businesses to reach a wider range of customers and provide a more personal level of service.
It’s even possible for purely ecommerce stores to implement innovative sales by partnering with brick-and-mortar to offer “click and collect,” with the physical store holding packages for them.
Companies to Watch Out For
While there are many obscure startups out there, it is difficult to predict which ones have real staying power.
That’s why, for this section on companies to look out for, we’ve chosen some established names you can begin working with immediately.
This company is the undisputed leader among the best ecommerce brands. It’s always at the forefront of innovations, whether that be delivery by drones or unstaffed grocery stores.
In the interest of spreading a wide net, it’s worthwhile to establish a presence on Amazon, as it looks like the service will be unrivaled for some time yet.
Being owned and operated by a Chinese company means that TikTok is under constant scrutiny in the West, but its ecommerce applications are undeniably strong.
While TikTok sees significantly higher engagement than its closest alternative, Instagram Reels, it’s been noted that retail sites see slightly higher engagements on Insta.
Researchers believe this is because of the presence brands have established there. Brands have been more reluctant to embrace TikTok due to its uncertain future in the West.
There’s been much talk about Web3.
It’s been characterized as the next stage of the internet, based on blockchain technology and a virtual reality-based digital realm.
It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment, but what’s clear is that Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta wants to be the dominant force in it.
While Instagram and Facebook have ecommerce functionality, Meta is trying to increase its presence in ecommerce and generate retail innovation.
Definitely, a company to watch.
AliExpress has emerged as a cheaper alternative to Amazon.
It boasts over 450 million visitors monthly.
Many in the West don’t realize this, but shopping on Amazon can be very expensive for the rest of the world. In some places, shipping costs twice as much as the item purchased.
If you want to maximize your reach into emerging markets, checking out AliExpress is a great idea.
There is an overview of ecommerce innovations.
While innovations can be wild and fantastical, they can also be practical and grounded.
In order to have a sustainable ecommerce business, it’s important to know what’s coming up, how to use it, and who to partner with.
Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.