- Getting creative in the name of convenience is a great way for e-commerce companies to stay competitive
- Innovative tools and apps that save time and resources are top of mind and trending in 2020
- Some e-commerce tools encompass data analytics, cloud computing, superior software selection, mobile experience, shipment tracking, AI as a Service, and blockchain
- The mobile experience should be top of mind
It’s the dawn of a whole new decade, and many of America’s 30 million+ independent businesses are noticing a profound shift in how they can streamline their operations and lay the foundation for future success. Hint: it involves being receptive to new technologies—and willingness to embrace change.
Because the bottom line is: getting creative in the name of convenience is the one of the best ways to stay competitive.
And with digital transformation gaining even more momentum in its unstoppable global rollout, e-commerce tools and technologies are fast becoming the easiest, most efficient ways for growing merchants to capitalize on this concept.
To help you see which innovative tools you can use to save time, resources, storage space and even hassle, we took a look at a few of today’s top-and-trending technologies and tools for independent businesses in 2020.
Here’s what we uncovered:
Deploying Data Analytics is the New Normal
Data analytics provide your business with detailed insights into all aspects of operations, sales and customer experience. By aggregating and analyzing key metrics, your company can create predictions and procedures that, when used correctly, may help you boost your revenue and optimize your bottom line.
- Healthcare providers are using data technology to analyze patient records, predict no-shows and more
- HR professionals are finding key stats to better understand retention issues and address real people issues
- Manufacturing managers are leveraging production data to prevent mechanical failures and automate repairs, saving serious time and money.
And your e-commerce store can use data analytics to do anything from assessing purchase activity on your site to tracking customers throughout the sales cycle. You can view average order value, time-to-purchase and e-commerce conversion rates, provide next-level customer support and even simplify your shipping services.
The Cloud is King and Queen of Convenience
Cloud computing gives you access to key business data and apps at any time, from any location, on any device. And it’s reasonable in cost when compared to hosting your own in-house server(s).
From accounting to payroll, time tracking, customer experience and scaling workflows, some of your business’s most tedious tasks can be simplified or even automated with cloud-based software. You’ll no longer need to manage a team of in-house specialists because most, if not all cloud computing software, is user-friendly and easy to install.
At last, big businesses aren’t the only ones who can play with big business intelligence and analytics tools. Thanks to cloud computing, affordable and adaptable organizational solutions are available for growing merchants, too.
Emphasize the Mobile Experience
These days, your mobile user experience directly impacts your revenue. Whether it’s an online store or mobile app, According to Think With Google, people who have a bad mobile experience with your business are 62% less likely to become your customer in the future. Yikes!
A website alone simply isn’t sufficient in 2020 and beyond. Customers are turning away from traditional computers and laptops to their smartphones, tablets and other hand-held devices. This past holiday season, for example, in a recent study retailers saw 42 percent of their online sales from mobile devices alone.
Understanding how to engage your customers via mobile can help you roll out new features, provide personalized marketing, increase engagement and establish your business as the go-to destination for streamlined service and easy purchases.
Transparent Tracking is Top of Mind
Predictability and transparency are two crucial concepts that make all customers happy. And when it comes to e-commerce, a clear cut view of shipments is essential to a solid customer experience.
From incoming orders to exchanges and returns, today’s consumers have come to expect ease in the online shopping process. Details about delivery date and time, carrier information, expected delays and any issues that arise should be available at their fingertips. Immediate updates via text message, email or mobile app have replaced outdated tactics like leaving the package on the neighbor’s doorstep or a hand-written note for future delivery.
Today’s consumers demand instant gratification. Shipping is certainly no exception.
AI as a Service
There’s been plenty of debate surrounding the merits and drawbacks of artificial intelligence (AI) in businesses big and small. Some say it’s an overpriced approach to replacing hard working employees, while others find it a major asset in making sense of stockpiles of customer data and performing basic tasks to free up you and your people.
With AI as a Service (AIaaS), several cloud providers offer online merchants access to machine learning in simple ways, without having to invest in an entire AI infrastructure. This can save both money and time, and assist employees who lack data and analytics skills by offsetting a substantial amount of grunt work and helping them learn in the process.
Whether it’s a chat bot for customer communications, an AI-infused Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, a recruiting and onboarding process optimizer or a way to track your competitors, AI as a Service can be a great way for independent businesses to supplement time-consuming human tasks.
Blockchain Keeps Things Secure and Speedy
Blockchain technology, a distributed ledger enforced by a diverse network of computers, can help e-commerce stores save on payment processors while ensuring ironclad transaction records. Cryptocurrency, the most popular use of blockchain technology, is a digital form of currency that is secured by cryptography, making it next-to-impossible to counterfeit or double-spend.
According to Statista, worldwide spending on blockchain solutions is expected to grow from 1.5 billion in 2018 to an estimated 11.7 billion by 2022. And for independent businesses, investing in blockchain can facilitate secure fund transfers, distributed cloud storage, hyper-enforced contracts, self-governing smart devices, and real-time tracking of shipping and deliveries.
Explore Shippo for accurate, real-time shipping calculations, easy-to-print labels, reporting tools, and more.