The Digital Era and the Future of E-Commerce
Ever since its beginning stages, e-commerce has rapidly grown and continued to transform the world of retail, a trend that has only accelerated in recent years. But even the e-commerce sector has undergone some major transformations, especially after adopting new technological advancements. The digital era has influenced the industry in many impactful ways, presenting new trends and tendencies that will shape the future of e-commerce in the years to come.
The continuous growth of e-commerce
The e-commerce sector has been on the rise for quite some time, but the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic allowed the industry to reach new heights. E-commerce has seen tremendous growth worldwide, with certain areas experiencing a 50% increase in sales. Although many believed this was just a fad due to the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the pandemic, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. E-commerce continues to grow steadily and is predicted to make up a significant percentage of total global sales shortly.
Delivering omnichannel experiences
Providing omnichannel (or multichannel) experiences to consumers is slowly becoming a necessity in e-commerce, and may even be common practice in the upcoming years. While online shopping is rising, that doesn’t mean that physical establishments will be replaced altogether. After all, consumers prefer speed and convenience, regardless of what that may mean at the moment. For example, they might see a product in a store window but decide to buy it online due to a busy schedule, or they might choose to purchase an item online but pick it up in the store to save on shipping. In any case, consumers need to have options, which is why digital and physical retail must remain connected.
Focusing more on personalization
Personalized experiences are becoming increasingly important to consumers, and e-commerce businesses must adapt. This means sending customized emails and messages with the customer’s name and gathering relevant data to improve product recommendations to consumers. Artificial intelligence and automation software will be key to developing these features. As consumers expect more personalized experiences, online shops must strive to find assertive yet non-intrusive and compelling ways to reach customers through customized solutions to reach long-term success.
A change in consumer requirements
While the sector may evolve independently, consumer demands are also slowly changing. The recent pandemic had a significant impact in this area, encouraging customers to turn away from traditional leisure and entertainment products that were most popular in recent years, and towards new offerings that support the health and safety of consumers. As a result, products such as pre-workout powders are quickly becoming best sellers, bringing great profits to the health and fitness sector. The same changes can be seen in all industries. Customers are choosing health, safety, and necessity instead of desires regardless of the sector, meaning that these products will likely continue to be sought-after in the future as well.
Offering different payment options
Another rising trend in e-commerce is offering customers several payment options to make the entire checkout process quicker and easier. Along with conventional card payments and transfers, this also includes digital services such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and even cryptocurrencies. Online stores that don’t offer various payment options might experience a reduction in sales or a loss of customers soon. Options are vital for remaining competitive, as a lack of payment solutions might deter a large percentage of the consumer base that has a strong payment preference one way or the other.
Leveraging beneficial delivery drones
More sophisticated technologies might become a common aspect of e-commerce in the future as well. And it seems like this future is not so distant either. For instance, many food companies are already testing delivery drones and their use in daily processes. These drones can handle and automate shipping procedures in various volumes without the need for human intervention. This comes with several advantages, including an increase in delivery time speeds, a decrease in freight costs and human error, a reduction in accidents, and a rise in customer satisfaction. Drones can truly revolutionize the e-commerce sector.
Incorporating visual stimuli more often
Because we are living in a heavily visual society, this might be another field where the use of advanced technologies could be of great help in influencing purchasing decisions and boosting success rates in the future. Of course, features such as images and videos on product pages, ‘search by image’ functions, and online visual merchandising are already quite common. But the use of virtual reality (VR) will significantly increase in the upcoming years. VR devices can allow consumers to try and realistically test products before actually purchasing them, which has the potential to truly change the course of e-commerce.
As technology continues to advance, so does the field of e-commerce. The digital era has already made the sector more scalable and vibrant, but the future holds even more unique and interesting e-commerce experiences.