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Get behind these 5 eCommerce trends in 2023

Don’t want your retail business to fall behind in 2022? These are the eCommerce trends to get behind.

By Lilia Krauser, EMEA Content & Communications Specialist

Last updated January 4, 2023

As online shopping enters a period of hyper-growth and competition for consumers intensifies, getting the customer service experience right has never been more important for retailers. Those that are ahead of the CX curve have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to the latest trends and technologies—they’re reaping the rewards, too. In fact, 66% of companies agree that there’s a direct link between customer service and business performance.

So, what are the eCommerce trends retailers should explore in 2022? And how might retailers need to evolve their CX over the coming year to take advantage of them?

Augmented reality commerce

More than 100 million consumers are now shopping with augmented reality (AR) online and in stores, according to Gartner. And, by 2025, nearly three-quarters of the global population—and almost all smartphone users—will be frequent AR users, according to research by Deloitte Digital and Snap. AR fuses online and offline shopping by enabling customers to visualise and interact with products in different settings. The results in a fun and novel customer experience.

Online homeware brand Wayfair launched the world’s first mixed reality shopping experience in collaboration with the VR/AR headset Magic Leap One. Shoppers wearing the headset can see how new digital objects would appear within their home, all from the comfort of their sofa.

Omnichannel service

As we’ve seen with AR, a retail experience can no longer be neatly divided into online and offline. In fact, as more and more eCommerce channels spring up, customer service interactions are increasingly taking place across a wide variety of channels.

However, only a third of companies are currently omnichannel, so many still have the opportunity to start offering the retail experiences and support channels that will drive greater loyalty and boost customer lifetime value. A whopping 86% of consumers say they’re likely to spend more money with a company that offers them their preferred option to contact customer service, according to Zendesk research.

Multichannel personalisation

While omnichannel service is good, it isn’t always enough to satisfy today’s shoppers, who now expect a personalised experience, too. More than half (60%) say they expect all customer experiences to be personalised, with younger demographics likely to feel this even more strongly. For that to happen, however, companies must give agents the valuable customer context they need—such as details about recent purchases—to improve the customer experience.

Conversational, social, and livestream shopping

Considering inquiries over WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Line jumped 36% last year, shoppers increasingly expect conversational commerce to be part of the CX mix. Rather than enduring clunky, stop-start chats with service agents or continually waiting on hold, customers want fast, uninterrupted service across web, mobile, and social apps. High-performing companies are 6.8 times more likely to have already implemented conversational customer service capabilities, including adding messaging channels or making it possible to switch between channels for a single ticket.

More and more shoppers are also now making purchases on social media platforms. Meanwhile, livestream shopping—where influencers broadcast their shopping experience through online channels—is set to soar in popularity over the coming year. Amazon, for example, has been investing heavily in Amazon Live, while Google has put live shopping on YouTube.

Avoiding the traps

For retailers, improving customer service in 2022 means evaluating and adopting some of these tools and technologies, and adapting their ways of working in the face of multiple common pitfalls.

For starters, we know that customer service isn’t wowing consumers right now. Nearly half of those surveyed by Zendesk say customer service feels like an afterthought to the majority of businesses they interact with. In addition to embracing innovation, retailers need to ensure they are providing the type and quality of service that their particular audience is seeking.

Furthermore, there’s currently a major discrepancy between what companies say about CX and what they do. Sixty-seven percent of retail company leaders say customer service is a critical priority, but 40% admit customer service still doesn’t have a presence in the C-suite. And, of the one-third of retail businesses that predict a 25% increase in customer engagement in 2022, only 12% plan to raise their budgets by a similar margin. Retail company leaders, therefore, need to properly invest in CX innovation and ensure it’s an active priority with strategic plans in place.

Finally, while AI and technology are going to be major drivers for change in 2022, retailers shouldn’t forget their human agents—many of whom feel burnt out and undervalued right now. Make AI work for them, for example, by setting up chatbots to deal with FAQs or to prep more complex tickets during off-hours so human agents can address them when they return to work. Just 12% of retail CX agents feel comfortable with their workload right now, while 63% believe they need more training. By upskilling agents, offering clear opportunities for career advancement, and encouraging a culture of respect for CX staff within their organisation, retailers can foster a more engaged and empowered workforce.

With eCommerce booming, retailers must act now so they don’t get left behind. And with so many opportunities to grow with their customers, what are retailers waiting for?

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