Things are starting to shake up in retail with technology making some pretty big strides towards seamless customer engagement - and we're here to keep you up to date!

So sit back, grab a coffee and join us as we take a peek at the latest news.

Facebook 'Shops' as the new e-Commerce Hub

60 million businesses around the world use Facebook to interact with consumers, and the option to begin selling products is not too far away as Facebook continue to test their new 'Shops' section.

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With no set-up fee, or commission taken from sales, this development could mean stronger communication options for just a fraction of the cost - opening doors for small businesses around the globe.

But here comes the catch, Facebook 'Shops' is intended as a display window for products, rather than allowing direct sales and payment, so vendors will need to get creative to shine against competition.

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Paid services can of course be added on, such as boosting products to raise store visibility, but the main idea is to allow a space for customers to browse freely, sending a direct message to the vendor should they wish to discuss payment and distribution of goods.

High growth and emerging markets are being given the opportunity to trial 'Shops' before Facebook launch on a global scale, so watch this space.

Easier Refunds will Secure Customer Loyalty

Online vendors are constantly striving to improve customer retention rates, and studies suggest there is a simple way to tackle the issue.

Providing a 'no questions asked' policy when it comes to returning unwanted items can help to build loyalty, engagement and overall credibility in the brand.

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A casual approach to refunds may seem daunting, especially to bottom line figures, but in reality there are huge benefits to gain by allowing the customer more flexibility with their purchase.

An easy return process will help to allay customer concerns, allowing those who may be undecided about their purchase to continue through the checkout in full confidence.

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Despatch and return of an item is far from a wasted exercise, and e-Commerce can still develop by collecting data on shopping flow, browser personas and overall customer experience.

Understanding the Customer with Omni-Channel

Omni-channel interactions are the future when it comes to understanding how your customer shops and what motivates their engagement with a brand.

In the modern marketing world, it isn't enough to simply rely on website interactions. Instead, we need to connect the dots with every customer touchpoint, be it social, email, website or after-sales.

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By mapping how customers engage with your brand you can begin to understand their interests outside of the traditional shopping environment and tailor experiences to suit the individual.

The data collected across various channels, and devices, will help to create seamless interactions, allowing you to give a fully personalised and effective experience regardless of how the customer engages with the brand.

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Unfortunately, there's no linear pathway towards the checkout. A customer may begin their journey weeks before the actual point of purchase, perhaps engaging with Facebook campaigns, or browsing blog content before eventually finding their way onto site.

Seamless omni-channel interactions will give the most comprehensive overview of how and why your customer enters into the buying mindset.

One-Click Checkouts to reduce Abandoned Carts

One of the biggest friction points in e-Commerce is the drama surrounding payment, which is surprising given that this is arguably the most important section onsite.

Surveys show that many vendors are falling at the last hurdle by adding too many steps, clicks, pop-ups, or other unnecessary extras which detract the customer's attention from finalising their purchase.

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In a bid to tackle abandoned cart rates head on, future transactions are gearing up for one-click checkouts and digital fingerprints to remove even the credit card step.

75% of all carts are currently abandoned at checkout so it is advisable to remove any hiccups at the payment stage and start gearing up for the rise of one-click transactions.

The key take-aways?

  • Spruce up your Facebook interactions as we are about to enter some very competitive times!
  • Consider offering membership accounts to browsing customers, it will help facilitate one-click payments as well a strengthening your database.