With 2016 now firmly behind us, we look back at the biggest stories of the year and how they will impact us (and you) in 2017:
1. Mobile, mobile, mobile
In 2016, mobile traffic officially surpassed desktop and laptop traffic, which means you should be executing upon your mobile strategy to deliver a mobile-first experience for customers in 2017.
2. Commerce is everywhere
In 2016, companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Amazon Echo, transformed their platforms into shopping opportunities for consumers. The proliferation of personal tech devices has given rise to new shopping opportunities via social media and AI. At the same time, Centennials and Generation Z are giving brick-and-mortar stores a thumbs up because they want to touch, feel and try products before spending their money.
3. Bots replacing humans is cool, but does it work?
During Shoptalk 2016, Welcome's Dan Herman highlighted the increased use of bots in customer service is a huge new trend. AI bots, the “holy grail” of bots, are a great tool, but there is ultimately no replacement for human-to-human interaction. He'll be on the panel again in 2017, so don't miss him!
“The second the degree of confidence in the understanding of intent or ability to provide a response falls below a certain level, kick it over to a human immediately"
5. Brick and mortar will never die, but it needs to transform
Technology has created a whole new use case for brick and mortar. Chris Maliwat, former Head of Product at Warby Parker, says stores need to “lean to the technology” and get creative. In 2016, we looked at some of the ways stores have pushed the technology envelope.
“90.2 percent of sales are still in stores...Amazon still only controls 1.5 percent of U.S. retail sales. Most transactions are directly influenced by digital interactions and 82 percent of online retail interactions involve stores at some point.”
“70 percent of digital interactions create a store visit."
- Jerry Storch, CEO, Hudson’s Bay Company
Warby Parker’s pop up shops are proof of how stores are still useful in eCommerce. Where they placed these shops, e-commerce sales rose in that area, because it established more trust with the company and it’s just easier to buy online now. Expect the rise of Pop ups to continue in 2017!
5. Natural Language Processing is transforming online shopping
It has been used to refine search engines, fine-tune social media listening and improve virtual assistants. It’s making computers sound more human, and help customers just like a human would. In 2016, we blogged about how NLP is critically changing commerce. Expect NLP to a key focus in Mary Meeker's 2017 Internet Trends report.
“voice as the primary means for interfacing with apps is a new paradigm because it is fast, easy, personalized and context driven. Unique qualities of voice interfaces include random access versus hierarchical GUI e.g. Google search versus Yahoo! directory. Advances in natural language recognition and processing accuracy will catapult these systems from no one using them, to everyone using them.”
- Mary Meeker's 2016 Internet Trends
6. KVIs are the new and improved KPI
A new approach to data analysis is value-based design. It provides a better insight into why specific results occur, and how to improve them. It also focuses on Key Value Indicators (KVI), which go a step further than Key Performance Indicators, to provide businesses with a clear path to follow, based on data. Expect KVIs to become the acronym on everyone's lips in 2017.
7. Conversational commerce is the next big thing
Messaging has evolved from simple social conversations to business-related conversations that encompass both customer service and conversational commerce.
Brands see a 20x increase in messaging interactions within a month and 65% increase in customer satisfaction with a corresponding decrease of 65% in complaints. In 2017, shoppers will purchase more from these conversations and we predict this will be the trend to watch!