In the recent times, technology has become a cornerstone of growth for almost every industry and e-Commerce is no exception.
New developments in technology are impacting the e-Commerce world by revolutionizing the process, by which consumers can seamlessly connect with brands and shop online without any hassle. As e-Commerce industry is growing at a rapid pace, one needs to embrace the latest trends of shopping to boost sales and stay competitive.
E-Commerce giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Alibaba are revamping themselves through technology innovations and advancements. To survive in today’s competitive market, retailers must adopt new technologies that enable them to simplify business processes and provide satisfaction to their customers.
Here are the technologies that are revolutionizing e-commerce industry:
1) Artificial Intelligence
- Smart Chatbots
E-Commerce websites are making use of chatbots to enhance customer support and service. As buyers are more impatient than ever, expecting a lightning fast responses to their enquiries round the clock, e-commerce businesses face difficulties to meet these requirements in real time. This is where the requirement of automated chatbots arises - the chatbots that are smarter and able to store data and analyse it. One can specify their requirements to the chatbot and will be served with the processed results. Chatbots are created using artificial intelligence to serve the purpose of communicating with humans by understanding their queries. For example, Facebook Messenger chatbot is able to locate products and guide customers make purchases through conversations.
- Image Search Recognition
Many a times, we come across a situation where we look for a product whose image lies in our smartphone however, we don’t know what it is actually called. Artificial intelligence service can help us here. By using the application of artificial intelligence, concept of image search is carried out on e-commerce websites. AI understands the images and displays the relevant results. Users can make searches on the basis of images. Mobile apps of e-commerce websites are able to find product just by scanning the actual product with camera. This completely eliminates the need of keyword searches.
2) Seamless Payment Processing
Smooth customer experience is a huge driving force for e-Commerce companies which encourages faster shopping transactions. When online payment issues arise, which is one of the main causes of cart abandonment, the business incurs a significant loss. To overcome this, online retailers are adapting to technologies that enable faster and smarter payments. The past few years have seen a shift from traditional payment methods to a modern and sophisticated ones like PayPal, Paytm, and digital currencies like Bitcoin etc.
3) Direct Purchases from Social Media
Various social media channels like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are currently used as marketing channels where e-Commerce websites showcase their products on the basis of users’ history. When a user clicks on the ‘Buy now’ button, it directly takes the user to the e-Commerce site and provides the options to make online payment and buy the product.
4) Digitized Stores
Despite the growing e-commerce stores, brick-and-mortar stores always dominate and will never going to lose its value anytime soon. However, to cater to the online customers, they have started adopting digitization and taking their business online along with running the existing physical store. Companies like eBay, Walmart, Sephora have started digitizing very early. They are using memory mirror technology, which involves a virtual mirror where a person can look at herself and visualize how they look in a particular outfit. They don’t need to wear it. Users can explore various options like size and colour, and identify what meets their requirement the best.
5) Augmented Reality
AR has the potential to do wonders for an online business. AR is capable of providing users an in-store shopping experience on their mobile. With growing interest of customers in AR technology, e-Commerce is realizing the potential and benefits of adopting this technology. AR basically combines the physical world with digitally generated graphics which are superimposed on the view to give an idea that how an object will look in a real life application. AR certainly has the ability to blur the boundaries between online and offline shopping – by providing buyers everything they need at their fingertips.
For example, AR allows consumers to virtually try furniture in their home environment that helps in lowering the returns on products that do not fit one’s requirement. One of the first SDK platforms is Apple’s ARKit, leveraged by IKEA that allowed their consumers to virtually try furniture in their homes and visualise how product will look like through mobile apps.
Another example is Gap’s dressing room app that brings the AR magic in apparels by allowing users to see how garments look on a mannequin of their selected size. According to a Statista, AR growth in devices and revenue is expected to be worth $54 billion by 2020, which gives retailers even more push to experiment with the tool.
6) Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is a computer simulated reality which combines technology and design to create an immersive environment that gives users a feel like they truly entered a different environment altogether. With endless potential of storytelling, it is quickly evolving within the e-Commerce industries. To fascinate the online users and providing them a whole different online shopping experience, retailers are working on creating virtual showrooms - that resemble physical store experience.
One of the notable application of VR technology is Lowe’s Holoroom, a tool, which is leading the way of virtual showrooms. Lowe’s Innovation Labs conveys that by making use virtual showrooms, customers can visualize their ideal result and it allows them to become aware of how multiple products would work, when put together.
This provides consumers a more realistic shopping experience. Users can put on a headset at home and they will find themselves in a virtual superstore where one can shop for virtual products in the same way they do in a physical store.
7) Mobile Commerce
Mobile applications are providing retailers ample opportunities to connect with the consumers that are out of reach of physical stores. Brands do not anymore need to wait for consumers to walk into their stores. Mobile applications are growing so fast that it’s become one of the leading digital platforms and is accountable for two-thirds of digital media time spent on smartphones and tablets.
Mobile has established themselves as an integral part of e-commerce and consumers’ drastic shift towards smartphones is giving rise to the need of creating mobile applications for their businesses. While big e-commerce players are using mobile applications as their main source of driving traffic, others are also following them by delivering personalized experience to the users through mobile commerce. According to Statista, mobile commerce can acquire the 72.9%. of total e-Commerce market. Personalized and user-friendly experience are two aspects of healthy brand experience. Customers are looking for easy methods to interact with brand rather than searching online for details and then contacting their customer care services. Successful organizations like Amazon are building features like self-help on applications for placing, cancelling, and reviewing orders etc.
8) Mobile Wallets
In the world of growing business, quick and effortless payment methods are driving the future of business transactions. . One such payment method is mobile wallets. Mobile wallet serves different purpose to different people. Mobile wallets are interactive and is a virtual form of physical wallets that allow consumers to select the kind of payment, such as credit or debit card to be used at the point of sale. Examples include Visa’s V.Me and MasterCard’s MasterPass. These new payment options let consumers to transfer money instantaneously and reduce the longer transaction processing period. Online business owners are increasingly opting for more secure payment platforms for the users that will help in more secured payment system.
9) Voice Search
Voice search is gaining more prominence as Voice assistant devices like Amazon Echo, Google Assistant etc. are gaining immense popularity among users. This clearly indicates that voice search is becoming one of the preferred methods of searching. Big players like Walmart and Google have announced a partnership which allows shopping through Google’s voice assistant, which is mainly used for reorders.
10) Drone Delivery
Drones have been around since long. Flirtey, which is a medical supplier recently employed a drone for providing doorstep delivery without human’s involvement. Perception of drone delivery is taken positively due to the belief that drone delivery will be convenient and faster than traditional methods. Similar technology adopted by Amazon with the name ‘Amazon Prime Air’ which is in the testing phase in England and is restricted within a limited users and airspace.
Drone delivery technology is considerable as it may guarantee that consumer get emergency supplies delivered quickly in busy areas, but there must be proper regulations as well to avoid any kind of misuse of this technology.
The fundamental goal of e-Commerce companies is to acquire more customers, be it through physical store or e-store. New technologies allow sellers to engage their customers better by adopting new innovations and making customers more curious to visit their online and physical stores.
In the current generation of digital natives, technology is a major part of their daily lives. It also paving the road for e-commerce to make an influential presence in the lives of the users. Emphasis is on younger generation and their preference to technology which is going to make e-commerce reachable to masses like never before. In order to provide consumers more secure and personalized shopping experiences, latest innovations of technology are redesigning the landscape of e-Commerce.
It is completely naive to expect that e-commerce could achieve an impressive market size without technology. As 3D technologies are getting more matured and advanced, one can expect the e-Commerce industry to reach at incomparable levels of growth in the time ahead.
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