Continuing with our ‘what’s next’ series, this week we’re going to be taking a look at some of the newest forms of technology that are impacting the world of eCommerce.

In case you missed Part 1 of our series, “What’s Next for AI, Machine Learning and Data” or Part 2, “GDPR and CCPA FAQs“, click the links to read all about how these topics are changing the game in 2020 and beyond.

PWAs

With mobile traffic surpassing desktop traffic —  60% of all current traffic is now coming from mobile devices — it is crucial for merchants to provide the best mobile shopping experience to engage their audience. Even though mobile traffic is growing, conversion rates are not. With mobile traffic only accounting for only 16% of total conversion. It is because of this gap that Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) were developed. In short, a PWA is a website made to look and feel more like an app. Users will browse a PWA just like they normally would, on their browser, with a URL, but the experience they receive is one more akin to an app. All of this without having to download and install the app itself. Some of the most popular and effective PWA’s currently in use are Starbucks and Uber. They each give the user the full app experience and usability straight from a mobile browser. Google reports that when an ecommerce store switches to a Progressive Web App, they generally witness a 20% boost in overall revenue, with conversion rates on mobile doubling in some cases. Any new and existing webshop must consider delivering their services, not just as a standard online store, but as a Progressive Web App. Magento and BigCommerce currently offer PWA extensions/apps designed to deliver a next generation shopping experience to an increasingly mobile, world wide customer base.

Headless eCommerce

In recent years the ‘future of eCommerce’ has been touted as headless eCommerce. A headless browser is basically software-enabled browsers that offer separate user interfaces. Depending on the circumstances, merchants are able to automate various actions of their website and monitor their performances. When working under command line instructions in a headless browser there is no GUI. Through a headless browser you are able to test web pages and view several elements such as font family, dimensions, web layout and more. In the past, eCommerce sites operating on Magento or Shopify would have their back-end and front-end tightly integrated. But after the introduction of headless architecture, the front-end and back-end are now separated with both working independently. As a web designer there are a number of benefits for going headless. PHP code, complex JavaScript and widgets are no longer in use, making the HTML easier to understand. The HTML page could also be served statically, reducing the load time by a significant margin. And from an eCommerce perspective, the path to purchase is expanded. When operating on Magento, merchants would see a clear performance boost with a headless browser as the static elements of a page would be loaded quicker than with the dynamic elements being loaded lazily through Ajax.

Alternative Payment Methods

Ecommerce transactions used to be limited to credit cards and bank accounts and Paypal. But all that has changed. Now, digital payment methods have become more varied and ubiquitous. And as these digital payment methods continue to evolve, so must your processing abilities in order to keep pace. In the coming years more and more customers will come to your site looking to do business and armed with alternative payment methods. It will be up to you to have a payment gateway that meets your short-term and long-term business goals while also meeting your customer’s needs for security, convenience, functionality and price. 

Mobile Payments

Mobile Payments are a rapidly growing trend in the eCommerce world. There are a number of mobile payment apps that allow users to send money from their phone directly to other users or to digital merchants or directly to a cashier at a brick-and-mortar store. For brick and mortar locations, these transactions are enabled through the use of near-field communications (NFCs). It’s estimated that ⅓ of consumers are now using their NFC-enabled phones for contactless payments in stores. A customer’s phone will communicate and be verified with an NFC-enabled card machine via a close-proximity radio frequency. A customer’s mobile phone only needs to be within a few inches of the checkout terminal in order for the transfer to be completed. This exchange is nearly instantaneous and is more streamlined than the chip/PIN technology that most transactions are built upon.

Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, CashApp, Venmo and Zelle are among the most popular mobile payments apps available. Each comes equipped with their own unique security settings and the ability to connect and process a wide range of credit cards.  There are a number of current Magento extensions that offer flexibility and the ability to process these emerging mobile payment methods. Braintree and Stripe each offer merchants the ability to process Android Wallet, Venmo, Bitcoin and Apple Pay payments.

Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin continues to influence the macroeconomy, and pretty much everybody believes (or wants to believe) that digital currency has an extremely bright future. With that in mind, more and more industries and businesses are incorporating this technology into their eCommerce marketplace and order functionality.

There are numerous benefits of Bitcoin, including zero-fee fast transactions that are processed within a couple of seconds. Operations performed in the cryptocurrency network are immediate because they don’t have to pass through any instances like banks and settlement organizations. And while credit and debit cards are dependent on third parties that charge transaction fees, Bitcoin is free of those restrictions and charges.

Magento 2 CopPay Payment Gateway is a specialized plug-in allowing store owners to integrate the CopPay payment system into Magento 2-based websites. Leveraging the extension, registered CopPay merchants get the ability to easily accept cryptocurrency from their customers with no hidden costs and no additional fees. Customers can pay for their orders in cryptocurrency while merchants store owners receive payment either in crypto or converted to fiat currency. Braintree, Stripe and Bitpay all offer similar Bitcoin support to Magento merchants.

Conclusion

Stepping into new technologies can involve a higher level of risk and reward. Risk, because of the cost associated with unknowns and potential failures. Rewards, because early adopters can attract large amounts of business if properly leveraging the new technology to create a greater user experience. Don’t just implement new technology because it’s new. Instead, do the research to see if it’s possible to substantially improve your shopper’s experience with new technology.  If the gains are foreseeably substantial, then it may be worth the risk.

To learn more about how to integrate these extensions and technologies into your eCommerce site, contact us today.