The new year is upon us and we can’t wait to see what the wonderful world of tech and web design will bring us in 2017. With all of the exciting developments of the past three years, we know that there will be advancements, improvements and new ideas.

There are some existing features, though, that you can expect to see holding their place in 2017. The five features and apps that we expect to see more of (and even to see growing and evolving) are highlighted here.

Make sure you have them in place because they’re not going anywhere yet.

Real Time Personalised Shopping Experiences

(machine learning)

Consumers have quickly grown accustomed to personalised online experiences when they shop. With the seamless addition of machine learning to our cyber stores, we can offer all visitors a shopping experience where they see only promotions that interest them specifically. This is because of software that tracks the users preferences and interests. It then offers them the content that most closely relates to the items they have already viewed. Where demographic information is available (if they check in through Social Media, usually) this can be even more customised.

ecommerce shopping experience

Why does it matter? Because visitors are more likely to convert, and to come back, if they find what they want easily, receive suggestions that interest them. They also like to be able to save things they like for later – in a wish list or registry. Customers are more likely to come back if they know they have a list of their favourite items waiting for them. It is also really important to collect e-mail addresses so that you can keep them aware of any special offers on their wish list items. They should also be able to share their lists with friends and family via e-mail or Social Media.

Product Reviews and Additional Information

Shopping online means that the consumer usually doesn’t have the opportunity to sample, test or try on the products they are buying until it arrives on their doorstep. Because of this people need more information on a product before they will commit to a purchase and close a sale. Some of this information is provided by you, the e-commerce seller. You will have to try and give as much detail and specification as you can on your products (this can be in a separate tab or drop down to avoid cluttering the initial viewing space).

product reviews ecommerce

However, it has been proven time and again that consumers trust the opinions of their peers and fellow online shoppers over and above anything you will ever be able to market to them. Make sure that you allow for customers to give feedback and reviews so that potential new customers can read what they say about your product. This is why you have to ensure that you are carrying a good quality product and that your customer service is excellent. If your product or service is lacking at all, consumers will find a way to complain publicly, even if it is not a feature on your website. Instead use the word of mouth phenomenon to your advantage and keep the comments and reviews tab available to people who have ordered from you.

Data Aggregators

Data Aggregators compile data on millions of products, including such information as images, descriptions, specifications, price differences, UPC codes, reviews and customer feedback. This treasure trove of information can be linked to your eCommerce website, allowing you to draw on all of the existing collective information on everything you stock. It automatically updates product info, too, so you will be able to access the images and product descriptions on thousands of items. They even cross reference sizes to help customers find the perfect fit when buying clothing online.

Chat Bots

chat bots ecommerceAlready statistics show that visitors using live chat bots spend between 5% and 30% more online than those visitors who don’t.

You have probably already come across these o websites you’ve visited. That little window that pops up and says “Hi, how can I help?” is a chat bot. It is a fully automated virtual assistant which will answer questions and serve as the first point of contact with the brand. Chat bots push your brand further by making it easier to transact across different platforms through their interactive, guided browsing function.

While it may seem as if tech is taking over, sales staff will be more essential than ever as the drivers of these technologies.

Exit Intent Pop – Ups

exit intent pop up ecommerceThis little feature may have been around for a while already – but you can expect it to stick around a little longer. It’s a simple pop up that appears when a visitor attempts to exit your website. The visitor has to shut it down before they can leave. The idea is that they showcase deals, promotions and abandoned shopping cart items that could entice the visitor back to the check out to complete their order (or back to the main website). This may sound simple, and it is, but it has a proven track record, with a 25% decrease in shopping cart abandonment when exit-intent pop-ups have been implemented.

These same pop-ups can be used to generate leads by offering a discount or special offer to visitors who sign up for your newsletter before quitting. A good old fashioned monthly newsletter in the inbox can do wonders for building brand loyalty and trust, and ultimately conversions. So don’t throw them out yet – instead take a look at how to get the most out of your newsletter campaigns and exit strategies in 2017, using all the new tech that’s available for your website.

So, if you are updating your website be careful to sort the outdated tech from the useful classics before you implement your changes. Some of them are still with us for a reason. As for the rest, 2017 will doubtlessly bring us exciting new tech and new innovations to help us provide the best consumer experience ever.