As 2016 draws to a close, we take a look at some of the technology trends set to transform digital content and e-commerce in 2017.
B2B E-Commerce goes mainstream
2017 will be the year when B2B E-commerce goes mainstream. More and more distribution, wholesale and manufacturing companies will build platforms and capability to provide an online Sales, Customer Service and Returns handling channel to their customers. And in turn, customers of these businesses will expect their suppliers to have a single internal view of this relationship, allowing them to pivot between phone conversations, live chat, online and email. B2B E-commerce will be a $6.7 trillion industry by 2020 according to Forrester Research, and Irish businesses need to embrace this channel to service domestic and international markets.
Chat threads as interface
Chatbot chatter is reaching fever pitch. In 2015, Uber integrated with Facebook Messenger in what was regarded as the first serious step into the world of conversational commerce. Conversational commerce, you say? Well if you haven't yet heard of chatbots and conversational commerce, get ready. As an antidote to the culture of oversharing, brands and businesses are going to start 1-1 relationships with their consumers via messaging apps offering personal shopper style experiences. We see this channel as relevant in B2B Ecommerce (if not more) as B2C.
Software spending increases in the face of downward spending in on-premise hardware
Not really a ground-breaking prediction here! As more and more day-to-day tasks are happening on SAAS software due to the increased mobility of today's workforce, businesses will uptick their spend here and cut back on complex hardware infrastructure costs and solutions in favour of utility in the cloud.
The User Experience will be all about the details
Design and User Experience (UX) in content and e-commerce platforms will continue to follow now well-established design patterns to give baseline utility. The challenge for the design community will be to provide the beauty, to 'sweat the small stuff' that creates stickiness in these experiences. Why does someone really choose one online experience over another when they all fundamentally do the same thing? Product > Basket > Checkout > Pay > Confirmation. Smart transitions and animations, mobile-rendering perfection, and super easy forms with smart validation will bring standout.
Mobile Web is going to get really fast for users
Google AMP - the opensource Google project with the aim of making the mobile web really, really fast - will break through and become part of web project requirements, specifications and tenders.
Even faster online deliveries
The time between placing an order online to the goods appearing at your doorstep is ever decreasing, with Amazon the leading light in the industry. Companies are investing more and more in increasing the efficiency of order management and fulfilment to keep up the pace. More sophisticated order management systems will enable companies to have global views of inventory and use entire store networks as mini-hubs for fulfilling orders, enabling ship-from-store, along with powering click and collect for customers. A single omnichannel view of orders and inventory will increase efficiencies, enabling companies to exceed the high expectations of their customers.