The 5 major e-commerce trends: from headless to metaverse

New technologies are shaking up the pillars of e-commerce. The Metaverse attracts with virtual showrooms and trade shows. Big brands like Adidas and Nike have already entered the fight for the top spots. New paths are also opening up in the fields of payment, customer experience, headless solutions and cybersecurity.

Metavers: virtual showrooms, fairs, training and collaborations

The global metaverse market is expected to grow from approximately $194.4 billion in 2022 to $758.6 billion in 2026. This is the forecast by market researcher Global Industry Analysts in a recent study. Large manufacturers also want to take advantage of this. For example, Adidas is collaborating with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Pixel Vault’s Punks Comic, and crypto investor Gmoney on the Adidas Originals “Into the Metaverse” NFT (Non Fungible Token). If you own an Adidas Originals NFT, you’ll receive additional physical products and digital values, which the trio around Adidas are tinkering with.

Virtual reality is on the rise and a step towards the metaverse. For companies, the technology offers interesting and professional areas of application: showrooms, events, training courses or the cooperation of internal teams are taken to a new level by VR. Creating such metaverse projects is no longer rocket science. Some software solutions and service providers make it easy to get started with the metaverse.

Augmented reality makes online shopping more appealing: For many gamers, virtual reality (VR) is already an integral part of the gaming experience, and augmented reality (AR) is increasingly being used in retail. detail online. Mixed reality completes the range of virtual offers, mixing the virtual extension of the real world with an entirely virtual dimension. The pinnacle is the Metaverse – a term that’s on everyone’s lips thanks to Mark Zuckerberg’s presentation last fall. A metaverse, as the founder of Facebook proclaims, will not exist in the next few years; but the metaverse as a collective term for three-dimensional digital worlds is already playing an increasingly important role. More and more companies are advancing digitization using virtual reality – not least due to the experiences of the corona pandemic: Digital processes and virtual meetings simplify work in many areas and guarantee immense savings, in particular on travel and transportation costs.

Virtual showrooms, fairs, trainings and collaborations: the technology is used, for example, in virtual showrooms where companies present their products on an extended level. These offer the advantage that customers do not have to travel, but can experience the product not only as a photo or video presentation. On the contrary, they can interact with the product in the virtual space, for example by looking inside the machines. Trade fairs or complete events are also an interesting field of application for virtual reality and represent an extensive offer in the showroom: trade fairs that are permanently available to customers on the company website or classic events with various speakers and stands are possible.

Payment: Buy now – pay later (BNPL)

Who doesn’t know: when you shop online, the new iPhone smiles at you, but you don’t have the money to do it right now. Thank goodness there is the option to refund the item in installments or pay the amount later when checking out the purchase process, so that the current account is spared.

This installment or invoice payment is known in modern German as “Buy now, pay later” (BNPL) and many online shops have discovered it as a sales promotion measure. This makes it possible to significantly increase the average height of the basket and all without risk for the online store. This risk is assumed by BNPL’s suppliers (of course in return for a fee charged to the online store). So it’s no surprise that new BNPL providers like Afterpay or Affirm are springing up like mushrooms. The big names in payment, such as Klarna or Paypal, have meanwhile included this payment method in their standard portfolio.

Above all, companies that have high basket value with low frequency prefer to use BNPL products because basket conversion is critical for them. Customers often cancel the purchase because the amount to be paid is too high. In this context, we are therefore mainly talking about shops in the field of luxury goods, travel, fashion, car accessories, etc.

Artificial intelligence: the best shopping experience

More convenient, easier, faster and more enjoyable – that’s how customers would like the e-commerce shopping experience to be. But every second is disappointed. Artificial intelligence (AI) can also help inspire the other half.

For many people, shopping, whether online or offline, is more than a must. The majority of German consumers are already satisfied when products arrive at their doorstep, with only 17% expecting pleasant experiences from online stores. These figures from a study by the software company Freshworks testify to the great frustration caused by negative customer experiences.

The problem: The image of an e-commerce provider conveyed by advertising often does not correspond to reality. Attracted by a chic interface, one out of two consumers (52%) is disappointed with the actual service of the stores. There is still room for improvement here. E-commerce vendors should see this as an opportunity to exceed expectations with just a few metrics. Technology can help and improve the shopping experience in e-commerce.

AI can also directly influence the customer experience. First of all, it affects communication and interaction with customers. The use cases described here show how artificial intelligence and machine learning make shopping online more enjoyable:

  • Intelligent AI chatbots
  • AI-powered voice chats
  • Text and sentiment analysis
  • AI-supported recommender systems
  • Purchasing Assistants

Software solution: When does a headless approach really make sense?

In recent years, headless has become a buzzword in marketing, e-commerce and the IT industry and is often referred to as “the solution of the future”.

Designed as an alternative to traditional content management systems (CMS), the basic idea is to rely on many different software solutions instead of a single monolithic one and to decouple the front-end from the back-end. This allows for a higher degree of flexibility and agility, also creates future viability and facilitates maintainability, while at the same time processes become much more complex and are associated with higher costs. But what exactly does a headless approach include, what advantages and disadvantages does it offer, and what lessons can be learned from practice?

Content management systems form the basis of most websites. They allow the creation, management and publication of content. However, if several channels or applications have to be filled with content in a coordinated way, as in the case of an online store, classic monolithic software solutions with tightly linked back and front ends reach their limits. A headless approach can help here. It decouples the two areas from each other, so that when needs change, for example to introduce a new login area or to integrate a newsletter function, the individual modules can be changed without having to touch the whole system.

With a headless approach, the frontend and the backend are connected to each other by an unlimited number of interfaces (APIs). In the most extreme form, it can even be a set of loose interfaces that are only assembled in the frontend. All these variants are grouped under the term “Headless”.

This technical article summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of headless, for whom headless really makes sense and what has been learned from practice.

Cybersecurity: effectively combating payment fraud

E-merchants are eagerly awaiting promising business, it is high time to test their own fraud prevention to protect customers and the business from the latest tricks.

According to a 2021 Merchant Risk Council (MRC) survey, 74% of online retailers globally reported an increase in fraud attempts during the pandemic. Knowing how to protect yourself against payment fraud is therefore becoming increasingly important.

In this guest post, Alexa von Bismarck, German boss of payment service provider Adyen, outlines the most common payment fraud tricks and explains the strategies that e-merchants can use to defend themselves:

  • Cardtesting – How scammers verify stolen payment data
  • Account takeover – who pays with what data?
  • Triangulation Fraud – Two Corners Online Trading
  • Refund Scams – When the Right of Return is Abused
  • Gift Card Fraud – The Danger of Coupons

The sheer number of increasingly sophisticated scams can seem overwhelming at first. However, if you take care of a comprehensive risk management system at an early stage, you can use it to create a stable defense and effectively and sustainably protect your business against fraudsters. Through the use of advanced technologies and individually adaptable risk rules, anomalies in customer payment behavior can be quickly identified. Individual risk profiles allow you to make data-driven decisions that will help you stay ahead of new fraud strategies.

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