The U.S. online retail market is expected to reach $370 billion by 2017, according to Forrester. As e-commerce stores start to dominate the way consumers shop, online retailers need to use evolving technology to give users a personalized shopping experience. More and more consumers are choosing to shop online versus shopping in a store. They still want and expect, however, a similar shopping experience. Here are four advanced technologies your brand can implement for its online store to stand out among the competition and offer consumers a more personalized online shopping experience.
1. Virtual fitting room
Virtual fitting rooms allow shoppers to mix and match color patterns and even try on clothes to see how they’d fit and look by entering some basic body measurements. eBay became the latest major online retailer to enter the virtual fitting room space with plans to implement this technology in its online store this year. This technology simulates how garments will look as someone is walking or even swinging a golf club. These simulations not only give shoppers a more personalized experience, but they also heighten shoppers’ confidence level when making a purchasing decision.
2. Real-life shopping experience
Though users find shopping online more convenient, they want the experience to be as close to shopping in a retail store as possible. When consumers shop in-store, they can get a good feel of the product, something that is lacking when customers look at static images in a online store. One way to create a real-life shopping experience is to include a 360-degree product view on your online store. A 360-degree view allows users to inspect the product and gain more familiarity with it, even though it’s online and not right in front of them. Several companies already provide users with 360-degree product views – RotaryView and RichRelevance are two companies at the forefront of this technology.
3. Personal assistance
A fair number of consumers seek out the assistance of a real person when shopping in-store, whether it’s for product advice or for some help in choosing the perfect shirt to match a certain pair of slacks. As online technology and applications continue to improve, it’s likely we’ll see a concierge-style service offered in e-commerce stores to further personalize the shopping experience. If offered, online personal assistants can analyze algorithms and learn the trends of shoppers by delivering products that match a user’s interests, thus making it easier for them to find an appealing product.
4. Out-of-the-catalog browsing
By learning how customers use your products, and then offering personal alerts when the product is due for an upgrade or should be replaced, you can provide an even more personalized experience to users. For example, a pet store can create an application that tracks when customers need more dog food. Customers could enter their information into the app, such as the type of dog they own, its weight, the brand of dog food they use, and, finally, the dog’s daily food intake. Using advanced data, the app could then monitor how much food is left in the bag and alert the dog owner when they need to refill. The app could even direct users to a particular page on the e-commerce store enabling them to buy a new bag on the spot. This further cements the relationship between brand and customer.
Technology is shaping the way consumers shop for a variety of products. In order to compete and better serve their customers, online retailers need to provide users with a personalized experience that caters to their needs and wants. Implementing these features can further develop your brand’s online store and provide a customized shopping experience for each user.