Last week hundreds of retailers gathered in Boston to discuss the future of ecommerce and how they’re investing to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers. Topics ranged from mobile to AI to voice ecommerce experiences.

We took the top trends from eTail East and listed them below.

Mobile first, mobile focused

One of the first talks given at eTail featured a fireside chat with the Chief Digital Officer at BJ’s, Rafeh Masood, the American membership-only warehouse club chain. His background featured some of the most reputable brands, from Sears to DICK’s Sporting Goods, where he lead digital transformations to help accelerate key lines of their businesses. When he got to BJ’s, the first item on his agenda was mobile.

He explained that the company was one of the first to have a mobile web experience, and since he joined just a few months ago, both the mobile and desktop experiences have gone through a major redesign and refresh. They’re even exploring a mobile app, that could potentially partner with a service to bring same day, or next day delivery to its users.

With over 60% of search traffic coming from mobile, and less than 20% of those searches converting into a purchase, there’s no question that mobile will continue to be a main focus of these companies.

Search, search, search

Whether it’s building a personalized loyalty program based on their search and purchase history, or getting smarter about delivering relevant content when users come back after extensive searches, search was another main trend at eTail.

“Users want to find exactly what they’re looking for, as fast as possible.” The CMO of Peapod, Carrie Bienkowski, said this during one of the panel discussions at eTail and it was one of the hottest trends at the conference. To complement a superb mobile strategy, search is still where most retailers are investing the majority of their efforts today.

But what’s the future of search?

Many companies think its AI — a world where they know much more about the user, what they’re searching for, and why. This will better influence the content, product recommendations and overall experiences they have when searching for their next purchase.

Voice and its impact on retail

With the rise of technologies like Alexa and Google Home, many brands are scrambling to figure out their voice strategy. Consumers are increasing their search on mobile, and will spend as much as 75% of their time there over the next year.

“Few brands are utilizing voice in a smart way besides Amazon,” said Cara Hogan from Zaius. “However, many retailers predict that voice will be a huge part of the future shopping experience. The potential to search via voice, select specific products, and order immediately is incredibly appealing.”

To increase engagement, and ultimately conversions on mobile devices, voice will be the bridge that connects consumers with businesses, personalizing an ecommerce experiences to build even deeper relationships across all channels.

Want to learn how voice is changing the consumer experience? Read our take on it here.

 

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