Personalizing Online Shopping

December 2, 2015

Because people are most comfortable at places they are accustomed to, e-commerce retailers should provide a pleasant online experience to their potential customers. Using the newest innovations in technology, such as virtual reality, geolocation, and mobile payments, online retailers could access thousands of customers in a personal way and persuade them to buy a product.

One way to use modern tech in e-commerce is through virtual or augmented reality. With companies like Oculus VR, Samsung, and Valve producing early versions of soon to be consumer-grade devices, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise. Imagine entering an e-commerce website, connecting your VR headset via Bluetooth or WiFi, and browsing products in a virtual store, complete with shelves and aisles. Your shopping cart is a physical shopping cart, one you move around and put items into.

Recently (2015), TimeTrade conducted a survey to understand consumer shopping behaviors. Of those surveyed, 85% said “they prefer to shop in stores because they like to touch and feel products before they make a purchase decision”. The concept of shopping with virtual reality may change the minds of many customers with such an opinion by giving them the power to pick up a product and look at it from all angles. To give an example of a real-life application of VR in e-commerce, Ikea is already utilizing augmented reality by allowing customers to place virtual furniture into their home through their smartphone.

Another way to personalize the online shopping experience is geolocation. Using the customer’s IP address to find out the general area they live in enables retailers to:

  • Show relevant content for the buyer’s region – If a retailer sells clothing, the website wouldn’t show winter coat promotions to someone in New Mexico, unless specifically asked for.
  • Calculate approximate shipping cost and time – The same TimeTrade survey revealed that 36% of respondents “don’t like waiting for items to ship”. If a customer sees that shipping an item to their location takes a short amount of time, they may be persuaded to make the purchase.
  • Display the closest physical store – If a customer is one of the types of people described above, they may want to go to the closest brick and mortar store to buy a product.

A popular way of personalizing online user experience even further is through the use of mobile payments. Smartphones have replaced calculators, cameras, computers, game consoles, so why not debit and credit cards? Customers could enter coupon and loyalty programs through the comfort of their mobile device instead of undergoing the strenuous process of communication with store personnel.

New tech advancements provide a vast array of tools for e-commerce retailers to take advantage of when it comes to improving online shopping. An experience based on an individual’s tastes increases the chance of them buying an item, and ultimately increases the retailer’s conversion rate.

While PulsarFour is testing application of virtual reality for our R&D ecommerce solutions, we can certainly assist you with the seamless integration of geolocation and mobile payments. Contact us to learn more.

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