Consumer buying habits are changing. The perception and behavior of consumers about new technologies and artificial intelligence (AI), and how brands must face those changes, are driving the eCommerce direction into a new era. There are five major trends that have been accelerated as a result of the pandemic, reaching forecasts made for 2025. Jorge Zuñiga Blanco, an expert in eCommerce operations from Costa Rica, discusses what they are.
According to the latest data, shopping habits have changed dramatically in recent years. Six out of 10 consumers now buy more through online channels compared to previous years. eCommerce has not benefited all sectors equally, but for some of them, online shopping is the main channel. Sectors such as fashion, electronics, mass consumption, health or beauty, are some of the most benefited.
Regarding the buying behavior of users, it depends on the generational profile of each one. Generation Z usually inspires and approaches the purchase through social networks. Millennials and Gen Z are much more pragmatic and search directly on marketplaces. On the other hand, Baby Boomers need greater trust and information, being the brand’s websites a fundamental aspect for their purchase decision.
The mix of physical and online sales channels has gained prominence in the purchase process during the last year. Says Zuñiga, “We must understand omnichannel as the sum of all the drivers involved in the online and offline worlds. In the offline world, they are more linked to the experiential part. That is, they are those that lead us directly to touch, look at and feel the product. On the contrary, those of the online world have more to do with the variety of products, offers, discounts or the possibility of finding exactly what we are looking for at the right time.”
But, above all, it is primary that the user experience in the purchase is satisfactory. Thus, knowing what is sought in each channel, an excellent opportunity arises for brands to be able to enhance each channel.
These new habits are here to stay. Even so, 75% of consumers say they will continue to support local commerce, and 63% of them will spend more time checking the digital reputation of brands to choose where to buy.
AI technology will play a key role in the investigation of the purchasing process. 80% of consumers say that technology makes their lives easier. “AI has great capacity to improve different values,” asserts Zuñiga. “47% of consumers believe that they can improve aspects such as product customization or even help them discover new products. 38% believe that the shopping experience can be significantly improved with the incorporation of this type of technology.”
AI has become a crucial factor for the investigation of the purchasing process. There are many consumers who use voice assistants, smart speakers or perform image searches. This has made the demand for bootcamps in AI increase since the need for experts in this discipline is increasing.
One of the biggest concerns of users and that constitutes the main impediment to the development of AI in all its splendor, is the confidentiality of data. Many consumers say that it is one of the aspects that worries them the most and only one in three is open to sharing their data.
This is where brands play a fundamental role. 66% of consumers believe that they are responsible for controlling the privacy and security of new technologies, 54% do not like that brands are so direct when it comes to offering their products or services, and 46% directly do not trust the reasons of brands to use these new technologies.
But like everything in life, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. The consumer is willing to share all that information, but only in accordance with the best services and offers. The main factors to give data are, therefore, price, convenience and personalization.
Now, the challenge is for brands, which must be able to earn trust in the use made of customer data, demonstrating that they are fundamental to add value to the shopping experience of people. All this will lead to an increase in the use of AI and other technologies, having a positive and direct impact on turnover.