E-Commerce technology such as real-time inventory management, customer reviews and personalized product recommendations have increased their market penetration by more than 50% over the last 10 years, and they can now be found on more than 90% of retailer web sites.
These are just a few of the advances that have helped e-Commerce grow since Lauren Freedman, SVP of Digital Strategy at Astound Commerce, began studying the segment in 1996. “The current e-Commerce experience is almost unrecognizable from that of 20 years ago,” Freedman said.
In a new report, 20/20 Vision: Looking Forward by Looking Back at 20 Years of Digital Shopping Innovation, Astound Commerce analyzed 281 metrics across 100 retailers and evaluated each metric’s increase in market penetration since it was first introduced. The report ties together 20 years of e-Commerce research and analysis to illustrate the digital accomplishments that have made the biggest impact on the customer experience:
Product Visualization: Alternative views and color change existed on just 12% and 13% of retail sites respectively when they were first analyzed by the e-tailing group. Today, these features can be found on 96% and 92% of sites.
Customer Reviews: Product reviews by consumers joined the survey in 2005 at a 32% rate, but they are now seen on 94% of sites, indicating consumers are placing increased stock in validation from their peers.
Product Personalization: Personalized product and shopping cart recommendations were at 44% market penetration in 2001; today they are featured on 99% and 90% of e-Commerce sites, respectively.
Alternative Payment Options: When PayPal was first introduced to the survey in 2007 it was featured on only 22% of e-Commerce sites. Rising demand for alternative payment options has prompted 83% of the top 100 retailers to offer PayPal today.
Real-Time Inventory: Inventory visibility across digital and physical channels was available on less than a quarter (24%) of retail sites when first analyzed in 1999. Today, 95% of retailers offer consumers visibility into product availability across channels.
Post-Purchase Features: Post-order merchandising such as product recommendations related to a past purchase was initially offered on only 38% of sites in 2003. It’s now offered on 90% of retailer sites, reflecting a larger focus on customer interactions and upselling after the initial purchase.
The continuous reinvention of e-Commerce is still going on. “With next-generation features such as chatbots, virtual reality, the digitization of brick-and-mortar, and the dominance of disruptors like Amazon and Alibaba, we anticipate the commerce experience will continue to change dramatically over the next five years,” Freedman said
To download the report, click on https://astoundcommerce.com/2020vision/.