Technology has added to e-commerce convenience and speed, the top two focus points for modern consumers. As a result, more than 10% of buyers have moved away from high street shops to online stores.
Gone are the days when one would meander online wondering if the purchase was worth the risk. Today, emerging technologies help customers better interact with stores and keep track of their purchases.
Technology is benefitting both the buyer and the seller.
“While helping consumers make their choices, technology also aids businesses in building relationships with their customers allowing for a highly personalized and pleasant shopping experience.“
– Adriana Blum, Solution Architect at e-commerce development company Iflexion.
Redefining the e-shopping experience
Not so long ago, many were of the opinion that brick and mortar businesses would always stand taller than their online counterparts because of the actual shopping experience.
The advent of augmented and virtual reality in the e-commerce domain has given online vendors the chance to display their items in detail, giving their customers the feeling of real-life shopping, only more exciting.
Both eBay and Shopify made their VR (Virtual Reality) debut in 2016 in partnership with Myer.
Shopify released their own virtual reality app called Thread Studio.
By doing this, Shopify gives customers a new interactive way of creating and testing out different product designs. No need to queue up for the fitting room. Here, you simply put on your VR headset and try on your T-shirts - as many sizes, colors, or designs as you want.
EBay created their own full-featured Virtual Reality store. Here customers simply need to download the iOS or Android app that works with VR headsets like Samsung Gear VR and browse through thousands of products without leaving home.
You can not only get a full 3D shopping experience but also choose items just by looking at them. And while you browse for items, the store’s AI learns about your taste and preferences. Pretty neat, right?
Futuristic e-commerce logistics
Consumers are looking for benefits in every purchase. We want low-cost or free shipping and we want it fast. According to a recent study by Walker Stands, 9 out 10 consumers say ‘free shipping’ is the #1 incentive for them to shop online more.
And here’s the showstopper. Amazon announced that they will be using unmanned aerial vehicles or drones for delivery of goods. Amazon Prime Air is a conceptual delivery system by Amazon that plans to drop goods to customers within 30 minutes or less.
They have already deployed an army of Kiva robots in selected warehousing plants. Deutsche Bank claims that this single move is potentially saving the retailing giant $22 million. This savings in the future, they say, will go up to $800 million with more drones.
And drones are not just for Amazon. A Mumbai based restaurant in India has successfully dropped off their first pizza with a customized drone.
New technology in logistics represents the future growth of e-commerce. Through further advancement in technology, retailers will be able to better control their internal logistics and meet higher customer expectations.
Seamless payment processing
Advancement in payment technology has been a major driver behind the rapid growth of the e-commerce industry. At the heart of this is the consumer’s need for frictionless payment while shopping online.
In the last few years, we have seen the emergence of ‘alternative payments’:
- E-Wallets – Reports suggest that this is the fastest growing payment type around the world, especially in Asia-Pacific. In mature e-commerce markets like U.S. and U.K, new wallets like V.me (by Visa) are gaining popularity. Globally, we find e-wallets like Paypal and Alipay still dominating the market.
- M-Payments – Mobile payments are convenient and popular. As defined by Worldpay, Mobile Payment or M-Payment fall into 2 categories:
- Direct Carrier Billing
- Mobile Wallets
- Cryptocurrency – Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology are gaining momentum. Now, for the first time, we have the real possibility of removing the middleman, allowing both customers and businesses to have more control over purchases. Stores can use this technology to bill the customers directly. This will not only remove unnecessary fees but also expedite the time required to receive funds.
The e-commerce ecosystem is evolving at a mesmerizing speed and emerging technologies sit at the very heart of its expansion.
New technologies like VR, AI, biometrics, AR will further fuel the growth and popularity of online retail stores.
With giants like Google and Amazon investing heavily and actively taking part in this evolution, high-street shopping in Oxford Street might very soon become obsolete.