Keeping customers informed about parcel delivery times by text message will become an increasingly common practice among retailers in the years to come, an expert has predicted.
Writing an article for Internet Retailing to mark the 18th anniversary of the online shopping industry, Keith Bird, chief executive of eSellerPro, said it will become increasingly important for companies to make good use of social and media platforms.
This will allow merchants to engage with their customers and meet growing demand for real-time interaction.
Sending timely information relating to deliveries will achieve a similar result, according to Mr Bird.
"The use of text messages to provide real-time updates on delivery times will become more widespread, while social media will be used to provide speedy responses and online chat with customer service representatives - a technique already effectively deployed by brands such as O2," he wrote.
Another trend that is expected to define the retail industry over the coming years is the emergence of a multichannel environment, with consumers set to become just as comfortable to shop on mobile phones and retail apps as in a high street store.
Mr Bird advised that, while these new developments could be somewhat daunting for retailers, they can prove beneficial as long as "the concept of engagement is considered throughout".
The eSellerPro chief executive stressed that seller and buyer should have a two-way relationship and retailers must use every tool available to them to communicate with their customer base.
Capgemini, a provider of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, released research this month suggesting that consumers expect the shopping experience to be integrated across a number of different channels in the next few years.
In a survey of some 16,000 digital shoppers, more than half of respondents predicted that physical stores will simply become showrooms for selecting and ordering products by 2020.
Author: Paul Burn