The future of commerce by LOR

This topic is often raised at conferences where tech giants and minnows gather and debate what the next best thing in the commerce space is or will be.

In today’s world it’s easy to slip down the technology road to look at Artificial Intelligence and how robotics and algorithms will impact, improve and drive the commerce and especially e-commerce industries, and yes these things have a place in today’s tech driven society, I won’t deny it but it can’t be the only thing we look at when we talk about the future of commerce. It often also complicates the world of the small business owner and those who are not in tune with the tech world.

Many articles will talk about way out concepts, which if you apply a futuristic mind is not really that far out! We have the ability to be very creative to be different or disruptive to the markets we play in so it will take outrageous ideas sometimes to stand out in a competitive market.

I like reading about these concepts and how we perceive the future would be and often apply those thoughts to developing markets and try to play out different scenarios of how that would work and if it is even possible to thing that first world concepts is adaptable to third world markets, but that’s the beauty – we won’t know if we don’t try and in my mind with tech many things are made possible when it seems impossible, it might just take longer in some cases but definitely doable.

One aspect which I think is always mentioned but taken for granted and not really thought through is Customer Experience. It is always mentioned in these articles and discussions about the future of commerce but I don’t think it get the high regard it really needs. Of course we have to think about our customers and their experience so off course it is part of the strategy and plan, but it’s often over shadowed by tech enhancements and futuristic views of other influences.

We operate in the digital or e-commerce space and I’m often confronted with various flaws in that customer journey. Businesses that has a high regard for their customers offer their customers the ability to self-serve or to engage in various means but I feel that a lot of those additions to a site is not for the Customer experience but rather convenience of that business.

I visited a site where I needed to get assistance with my digital TV decoder as it was giving errors and I was forced to use a self-help Bot, OK I know how these things work so off I went and started the process…it was horrible, and I could not get to the solution quick enough as I had to follow the decision tree based on FAQ’s and go through steps I already did prior to consulting the website. And I was thinking why can’t I just talk to a person, a human explain to them the steps I followed and get the solution in more than half the time? It was a terrible customer experience but it is sold to the public as this great feature!

One thing stays the same no matter how the future of commerce changes and that is that Humans buys from Humans, we cannot deny that. Even when shopping online and the platform is the vehicle to engage, it is still a transaction in its core form between a buyer and a seller, and its humans.

It is my opinion that businesses often slap a plug in on their websites not because of the User Experience but for the convenience of the business. If I have an automated bot on my website and its answering customers in some shape of form I have ticked the box. People recognise the bot and engage but is that the best UX? I don’t think so, it’s a box ticked, you have it its done, and you have an instant engagement but necessarily the right type of instant engagement. If you invest in a warm body to man a live chat you will add more value to that experience. A Live Chat can answer questions much quicker, you can keep the customer engaged on your website and conclude the deal quicker. Yes I hear you say but its more expensive and time consuming, and my counter question would be, why not invest in that customer to ensure they are return customers? Why just service for the sake of servicing and not engage one on one and cement that relationship?

When we set out to develop Live Online Retail (LOR) it was that thought of, how do we treat our online shoppers and audience in the same manner we would treat them in a physical store environment.

In the physical world we can see how customers react when they walk through the front door, browse up and down isles, touch and feel products and compare price and specs. You don’t have that luxury online – yes you can apply tracking tools that will spit out heat maps and click movements but that’s all after the fact.

With LOR we did exactly that, we give you a real-time view of how customers browse on your website, and yes with privacy in mind. You can now see in real-time what they are looking at on which page and what their journey is and then engage with them with a real live chat packed with many features aimed at conducting an online transaction.

I can capture that potential customer in that decision making moment and without them leaving my site get them to commit to the deal. People prefer a real live chat over bots no matter how well the bot is structured, a human can just react better and the results are produced quicker, leaving you with a satisfied customer.

It sounds simple because it is, in the future of commerce we really do not have to over complicate things, take a step back walk around the counter and look at your business from a customer’s perspective, would you enjoy that journey, would you come back for more, and if that answer is yes ten good you have done something right, if no then you know what to do, analyse as a shopper not the owner.

Let the tech do what the tech do, we will always integrate with it, but never lose touch with the human connection, without humans you have no buyers unless the machines have learned how to consume ice cream, then we might have a problem.

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