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Future of Retail Q1 2022

What does the future of ecommerce look like for retailers?

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Nuthawut Somsuk

Graeme Howe

Director, IMRG and Director, Ecommerce Expo

Businesses spend a lot of time agonising about the future of commerce, particularly in the digital field.

A common subject of conversation is can companies keep ahead of technological developments and how may it impact their future success. Staying ahead of the game is crucial.

Securing future success

Predicting future technologies is difficult, if not impossible, so in order for organisations to secure future successes, they must not chase technology. Knowing your customers, strong customer relationships and providing good customer service will present the best chance of ensuring growth. Technology needs to play a key role within this process, but there are other components which have a major impact.

Understanding your customers will play a key role in shaping your products. Understanding what they want, when they want it and how to deliver it is key. The ability to interpret what that data tells you and acting on it requires the right team, technology and processes.

Technological choices should facilitate your key objectives and should be an enabler.

Understanding consumer habits

Having a clear customer strategy is the starting point, as consumers expectations change. Retailers must have the ability to identify these changes and quickly adapt. Technological choices should facilitate your key objectives and should be an enabler. For example, if your customers want to communicate via social media, then investing in that area makes sense. 

Data from a 2021 IMRG survey of 1,000 shoppers illustrates how they want to receive information about the progress of their delivery. As it is such an important point of the experience – where missing a delivery can convert a positive experience into a negative one – SMS is the preferred channel for receiving them. 

Importance of customer service

A personalised customer experience should be embedded in the fabric of your organisation. Great customer service starts with a motivated and focused team and shouldn’t just be a means of sorting problems.

Good customer service should be present and consistent throughout the purchase process; from product discovery through to payment and fulfilment. Getting to that point will mean organisations needs the right technology in place and the capability to use it effectively. 

Consumers will drive the future of ecommerce; new ways of engaging with your customers will undoubtedly emerge as customer expectations develop and new technologies come into play. Ultimately, staying abreast of your customers’ needs and expectations will give your business the greatest chance of success and help drive growth. This is where technology can drive such success.

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