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IRCE 2017: Top 20 Ecommerce Trends

Here is quick a summary of the afternoon session at Retailers Conference and Exposition (IRCE) hosted by Bernardine Wu of Fit for Commerce and Milton Pappas of HBC Digital who highlighted this year's ecommerce trends.

Director of Strategy, David Hughes, is in Chicago this week for the Internet Retailers Conference and Exposition (IRCE). Day one of IRCE 2017 was focused on workshops across ecommerce technology, making Amazon work for retailers, and the evolution of B2B ecommerce.

Here is David's rapid-fire highlight of the afternoon session hosted by Bernardine Wu of Fit for Commerce and Milton Pappas of HBC Digital covered the following trends in ecommerce this year:

  1. Shopper tracking capacities - 64% of US retailers will upgrade or start to upgrade their shopper tracking capabilities in the next 12-24 months.
  2. Digital engagement in store - self-service checkout, endless aisle, and brand ambassadors with digital devices; 47% of retailers in the US have implemented digital screen messaging; only 3% leverage smart shelf sensors.
  3. Smart fitting rooms - offer consumers the ability to try products on virtually in store. For retailers, 6% are already active in this space, 3% are testing, and 3% plan to implement in the next 12 months. Recent case study from Ralph Lauren indicated:
    1. 85-90% increase in customer engagement
    2. 45-55% increase in AOV
    3. 11% increase in conversions
  4. Chat commerce - leveraging live-chat on-site; for example, the ability to chat with a stylist.
  5. Personalization, concierge and widgets - when a customer is viewing a digital brand lookbook, they can connect directly with a store associate for advice/recommendations.
  6. Real-time customization - dynamic online shopping experience that adapts to the shopper in real-time. Each shopper would have access to unique content including product recommendations, market trends, geographic location, past purchases — all completely automatically.
  7. Personalization across physical product - Nike, Adidas, and Curology are already trying this. They key here is not only having a great product customization experience, but the actual user experience (UI) of the site functionality needs to be a good experience.
  8. 3D printing - high-end fashion houses are experimenting with 3D printing.
  9. Augmented and virtual reality - 3% of retailers are actively using these technologies right now, 7% are testing, and 10% plan to implement in the next 12 months. Current applications are seen in the automotive industry, in interior decorating, and in the beauty space.
  10. IoT everything and getting smart - from refrigerators to Amazon Echo to Apple HomePod. 54% of retailers believe IoT will drastically change the way companies do business in the next three years.
  11. Artificial intelligence - consumers are interacting more and more with AI and they love it. It's changing how retailers interact with customers via things like chat, support, etc.
  12. Gamification - play to shop - of retailers, 7% are active, 1% are testing it, and 20% plan to implement in the next 24 months. For example, the addition of Karl Lagerfeld's Spring collection to Kim Kardashian game has been very successful.
  13. Delivery with drones and robots - this addresses the age-old quest of how to deliver products faster, cheaper, and more conveniently for the customer.
  14. Snapchat-ization of shopping - real-time ecommerce in a hyper-localized era. Gen Y and Z consumers are hooked on instant communication made possible by mobile and geolocation technologies.
    1. Key stat: Gen Z shops 200% more on mobile than Gen Y, from ShareThrough.
  15. To mobile app or not to mobile app? Typically the top 20% most engaged and loyal segment of your customers are most likely to use a native app. Focus on your most loyal customers and use a mobile app as a key leverage point to create an experience that adds value for them.
  16. Digital pop-up shops - digital pop-up shops allow brands to quickly open turnkey omnichannel stores in major cities.
  17. Uber-ization of shipping - smaller stores, local drop-offs, and same-day delivery are in. In 2017, many consumers will receive their first same-day delivery at home, work, or at a drop-off point.
  18. End of wallet and cash - consumers these days can already make many purchases and transactions without ever taking out their wallets. More widespread rollout of this is based on retailers needing to update their POS systems, which is oftentimes not a quick solution.
  19. Direct to consumer (D2C) - a "disintermediation phenomenon." Buyers want to deal directly with brands. Consumers are increasingly looking at having interactions with the brands versus going through retailers — they want to cut out the middleman. Brands are focusing more time and money on D2C experiences.
  20. Data-as-a-service - Retailers are using big data to connect personalization data with product data. When user and product data come together, personalization tools are enhanced dramatically.

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