Last year in June, Amazon—the ecommerce giant, celebrated its 23rd birthday. Today, the company enjoys more than 35% of the ecommerce market share and this number is expected to increase to 50% in three years’ time. Much of this can be credited to the innovations that Amazon has introduced into the world of ecommerce. Today, many ecommerce companies and not just Amazon are benefiting from these innovations. While Amazon and the ecommerce industry have evolved considerably over the years, they are still in their infancy and there is a lot more to come. Here is how technology will change ecommerce in the coming years!
Today, ecommerce technology is continually evolving, and this is changing how businesses interact with and offer their products/services to customers. To create and sustain customer value, some retailers today are providing advanced digital experiences that simplify the ordering process, combine digital and physical capabilities and ensure quicker delivery of orders.
Some of the prominent innovations in the ecommerce world include smart refrigerators, augmented reality goggles, droids and drones—things that are helping transform the ecommerce industry. More innovations in ecommerce are expected in 2018 and beyond. Here is how technology will change ecommerce in the coming years.
Over the next decade, an innovative retail industry technology that will reshape ecommerce is drone delivery. While regulations pertaining to drone technology are yet to established in some parts of the world—affecting its widespread use by retailers, drones are being widely employed for delivering products today. Many companies have already started to incorporate drone technology into their operations and are yielding many benefits from it.
The speed at which most drones can fly is 60 MPH. Additionally, they can reach at altitude of four hundred feet. Depending on the prototype, the radius distances of drones can hover between ten to fifteen miles. Additionally, most drones can carry packages weighing up to five pounds. Today, some ecommerce companies are delivering parcels to the doorsteps of customers. In fact, there are some airports in the United States and Europe dedicated specifically to drones.
Soon, drones will enable companies to deliver parcels on the same day, or even the same hour the order is placed. Along with the increased exposure to online shopping, the faster delivery times enabled by drone technology will encourage more purchases over the internet in the future.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
If you are impressed by augmented reality and virtual reality now, then you will be spellbound when this technology is working in full force in the next half a decade or so. Five or ten years from now, customers may be able to have the same buying experience via AR or VR that they currently have in physical retail stores. And, five to ten years is stretch because technology enabling such experiences already exists.
One of the biggest hurdles faced by the ecommerce industry today will be removed by AR or VR tech as customers will be able to physically interact with and test a product/service before buying it. While products can be viewed through virtual reality today, they are not perceived to have the same value as physical items. However, when VR and AR technology enables people to physically touch and interact with virtual items, the ecommerce industry will enter a completely new era where manufacturing products will be as easy as copying and pasting code and where designers will be the engineers. While VR and AR has the potential to completely change the buying experience, it will be some time before this becomes a reality.
Increased Purchases from Mobile Devices
Online purchases made from desktop computers and laptops are already on the decline, and this trend will increase in the future. Today, most of the web traffic comes from mobile devices, and it is just a matter of time before mobile devices become the primary technology for making online purchases. You may have heard a lot about omnichannel recently. Yes, it is important today but this will change as mobile technology get more advance and more and more people switch to smart phones.
Mobile technology is already helping some ecommerce companies to gain a competitive edge. Example of this is the mobile-shopping experience offered by Amazon. Customers can now select what they want in one click and make a purchase with a single press of a button using the mobile platform of the America ecommerce giant based in Seattle. In addition to Amazon, Google—the American tech company offering internet services and products, is also stepping up its mobile-tech game. Today, search results indexing on mobile devices and not desktop computer is the primary focus of Google and this trend will only grow in the coming years. In five years’ time, expect most retail experiences to be enabled by mobile technology.
If you have an Apple device, then you probably bug Siri a lot—asking her all sorts of questions and making her open apps for you. And, if you have Alexa—the voice assistant offered by Amazon, then you probably use your digital personal assistant a lot to order food and listen to your favorite playlist. This technology will only get better in the future and this can significantly benefit ecommerce. Soon, customers will press a button on their fridge to update the list of items to be sourced if they run out of milk or bread. This technology is already in place but its use is expected to become widespread in the coming years. This will make our lives extremely convenient and will help the ecommerce industry to grow.
by Bobby J Davidson
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