At what point does “cutting edge” become “expected standard”? Unfortunately, in the world of e-commerce, that transition can happen extremely quickly. A convenience innovation appears, and it’s never long before consumers view anything less as an inconvenience.
These eCommerce innovations are upending traditional industries (Uber for taxis, Airbnb for hospitality) by taking the efficiency and convenience provided by tech and applying them to real-world services.
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Why is E-Commerce Technology so Prevalent?
The business sector with the most “unicorn” startups is e-commerce, and the second largest is internet software and services. Startup “unicorns” are defined as a company that is less than ten years old and valued at over one billion dollars. The numbers in the U.S. speak for themselves: the majority of wildly successful new businesses are either in e-commerce directly, or use e-commerce tools to make a booking and ordering through apps or online more efficient.
Consumers are making their voices heard. Indeed, most recent business and technology trends are focused on ways to interact directly with customers and provide them with even more convenience options via IoT and app innovations.
With one-click purchasing, voice ordering, in-app purchasing, and other features, it’s getting harder to convince users to convert using more traditional methods.
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Keeping Up and Catching Up
The fact is that despite the prevalence of services like Airbnb, the demand for more traditional services — in this case, hotels — won’t go away. People are still attracted to the luxury, experience, and service that those services offer, and this applies across many industries, not just hospitality.
Sticking with the hospitality service example, how can hotels keep up with shifting expectations to keep modern guests happy, even though their business model is completely different to a tech company?
It’s still very possible to give guests the kind of efficiency and convenience they have come to expect by providing a few integrated digital services on-site and making booking easier. Hospitality is one industry where expectation creeps — the gradual increase in the expectations of guests for efficient and technologically advanced services — has caught many owners off-guard. In some cases, it might be a good idea to digitize certain services so that guests can, for example, check in digitally without having to spend time at the reception. On the other hand, remember that human interaction and personalized service are part of the appeal of traditional businesses over tech companies.
The secret is in combining personal service with active trends in e-commerce like integrating mobile devices into how guests interact with the business. That gives them choices about how to curate their own experience.
Non-Tech Companies Can Still Make Use of Data
No matter what your business is, tracking data about how users interact with you, who they are, and what they prefer is the best way to optimize your business and keep up. Companies that don’t focus on tech can do this, too, thanks to the rise of self-serve and full-service cloud software companies. You don’t need to onboard an entire IT department to do it anymore.
Through those services, business owners can even take advantage of emerging AI technology to make the analysis of all that data a breeze. This tech-integrated data gathering can even be used to help improve the experience for customers who prefer to interact with businesses in less technological ways, for example, speaking over the phone. The kinds of metrics that can be tracked include call conversions on websites, email, and physical mailing list signups. Put simply, you don’t have to force your customers who like interacting with legacy systems to update their practices in order to stay current with technology, or to benefit customers who do prefer a technologically advanced and streamlined experience.
User demand for the kind of convenience and efficiency offered by e-commerce technology isn’t going away. You don’t, however, have to alienate consumers who dislike it in order to keep up. Consider e-commerce tech just another set of tools in the marketing and user experience arsenal.