Personalized shopping is
changing the way we find, buy and recommend products to our friends already.
But from a business point of
view, what's going to capture shoppers' attention next?
10 founders share what they
think the future of personalized shopping holds (eCommerce entrepreneurs listen
up!). Here's what they had to say:
1. Custom Everything
Clothes, shoes, glasses and
just about everything we thought would never move fully online will all be
online. The reason is simple: why leave the comfort of your own home when you
can get something custom made to your exact size for less? this is the future.
2. Customized Outfit
With websites such as
DailyLook that mass-produce trendy outfits, it's only a matter of time before a
company can produce individualized outfits. Combining user-submitted and
digitally collected data with current trends would provide a service that could
put together outfits to fit the consumer's style while being trendy and even
suggest sizes. The programming could be extended to hair care, skin care and
cosmetics. All the consumer would have to do is click a button and a whole look
that's entirely her style would show up on her doorstep at a discount.
3. Virtual Sizing
The hassle of trying on
various sizes will decrease as video quality improves and we're able to measure
and size clothes from the comfort of home. Because brands vary widely in size
charts, it will be even more important for profit margins to avoid returns and
exchanges for color, style, design, and fit. As a bonus, this same technology
will be a boost to the fitness industry as consumers can see their bodies
change (for better or worse) from one fitting to the next.
4. Custom Designs
More and more companies these
days are allowing customers to represent themselves through custom designs.
NikeiD lets customers design their own shoes. And customers can buy an
interchangeable face and strap at Modify Watches. This trend of custom designs
and interchangeability lets customers truly express themselves through their
clothing. It's very powerful.
5. Personalized Brands
There's so much data
available about customers, and the e-commerce companies that care enough about
their clients to personalize their communication will win the day. That means
every element of the messaging will be personalized, from the on-site
experience to social targeting and especially email. In five years, the
communication you receive around shopping mall will be rooted in your behavior,
demographic and psychographic data. It will feel like every store has a
personal shopper just for you, and it will communicate to you that way. Those
who don't and stick to the "batch-and-blast" style of broadcast
communication will lose out to the brands that truly embrace personalization.
6. 3D Printing for Clothing
Anyone can eventually be able
to print their own clothes. You will be seeing 3D printing start to take off,
and they are in the very early stages of this revolution. Who would have
imagined the factories that have today 100 years ago? Today, we can't even
begin to comprehend the ways they'll produce products years from now. 3D
printing technology will get to the point where you will be able to print
clothes according to your sizes. How cool would it be to go to Banana Republic,
pick out the fabric of your choosing and have the machine print out some shirts
for you? It will happen.
7. Human Online Shopping
Many consumers appreciate the
assistance of a real person when it comes to certain types of shopping.
Technology will enable companies to provide a concierge-style service that will
use underlying personalization algorithms to allow a real person to make
recommendations to you. The added personalization of human reps will be
justified by far more meaningful and long-lasting relationships with the
consumer. Trust will be built, and consumers will grow accustomed to outsourcing
much of the online shopping experience to a personal assistant.
8. Shopping Experience
As Internet shopping became
prominent in the '90s, there was a distinct line drawn between brick-and-mortar
and Internet retailers. As brick-and-mortar stores started seeing sales slip,
they plunged headfirst into the Internet, thus creating click-and-mortar
operations. This blurred the lines between physical and virtual retailers. Now
the line is drawn between mobile and computer. Until a few years ago, mobile
shopping was nearly unheard of. We read about mobile this and mobile that,
still creating that delineation between mobile and computer. As this line
blurs, the shopping experience will converge around the person. People are
expecting to look, touch and research across multiple devices, in person and
virtually. The medium or device ultimately becomes irrelevant.
Amazon's product suggestions
are great because they have so much aggregate data. But they don't have enough
data about consumer from other services and products that they own. If they
did, we could get an amazing aggregate view of what's relevant to us based on a
more complete profile.
10. 360-Degree Customer
It takes six to ten
"touches" before consumers buy from a brand. Today's customers are
experiencing your product or service across platforms — from mobile, Web,
physical, media and referral sources. We can expect to engage consumers where
they are and carry that experience across platforms for each of those first
half-dozen touches. A customer may first experience your brand from a personal
referral, but then may explore on mobile or a tablet before doing a deep dive
on the Web. After those experiences, they may review on a third-party site
before going in-store to purchase. That cross-platform, pre-purchase experience
requires a 360-degree view of the customer to ultimately complete the sale.
Think holistically about how a consumer experiences across platforms.
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