I hope 15 years later people forget about e-commerce - because they think it’s like electricity.
- Jack Ma (Alibaba founder and chairman)
In ancient times, there were marketplaces where merchants sold their goods through their stalls and shops that were set up in the marketplaces. Then there also were weekly markets and fairs where people of nearby towns would go shopping. With time, these marketplaces expanded as shopping centres with attractive shop fronts and display windows to entice customers. Next, shops selling single type of goods transformed into departmental stores where a large variety of goods were sold.
And finally came shopping hubs (for example, shopping malls, flea markets, bazaars, etc.) with a collection of different stores including retail, entertainment and service stores. You would often have spotted stores like candy shops, bookstores, liquor stores, home stores, convenience stores, pet stores, salons, tattoo parlors, supermarkets, gift shops in shopping hubs. Haven’t you?
E-commerce (online shopping) has emerged as the latest trend of buying and selling in present times, leaving behind regular brick-and-mortar shops and centres. Though the concept of e-commerce was introduced just a decade ago, it has become a huge hit across people of all ages, location, gender, and race. With advancing technologies, the e-commerce sector continues to grow rapidly.
These are some of the trends in this field that one can expect to see in future:
New delivery systems
The e-commerce industry is planning to make delivery of products a more simple and swift process. Some of the new delivery systems that we might see in future include drones (robots that can fly at high speeds to great altitudes carrying weights roughly up to 5 pounds, and have already been seen in delivering products to aid disaster relief products in difficult to reach areas), delivery droids (little robots with wagon wheels that travel along sidewalks and can climb small sets of stairs, are equipped with cameras, microphone, GPS tracking, and censors. They can carry packages up to 30-40 pounds or even more).
Migration to cloud services
Cloud services have all the features that can make an e-commerce company successful. The page loading speed of an e-commerce website gets impacted by the applications and plugins that it uses and thus, with this network latency, the customer’s shopping experience can become poor. Cloud enables high performance of a website in times of need, even when the website gets high traffic. With the cloud, transactions become easy and businesses can access consumer data and enhance their customer’s shopping experiences. With all these benefits and more, most e-commerce companies are expected to adopt cloud computing in future.
Decline of brick-and-mortar stores
The convenience and flexibility that online shopping offers to customers are far above than what a person experiences by shopping from brick-and-mortar stores. With online shopping, they can shop from anywhere and anytime. Moreover, online shopping sites offer better deals and discounts than regular brick-and-mortar stores. This is the reason we might see a considerable decline of physical stores in future.
What is one of the biggest drawback of online shopping? You might have faced it quite a lot of times. It is a missed delivery if you are not at home at the time of the delivery. A cool trend might come in the future to solve this problem viz. shopping locker. Just like mailboxes, personalized lockers (with electronic passwords and camera surveillance, and which could only be accessed by either the consumer or the delivery guy) would be installed by e-commerce companies. Looks something straight out of science fiction, doesn’t it?
Private labels and new brands will emerge
E-commerce websites are platforms where products from a number of brands are listed for buying. There are also some e-commerce players who selling products of their in-house brands and labels. In the future, this trend would only be seen rising, with more e-commerce players manufacturing their own products and launching their own labels.
More efficient shipping methods
Delivery speed plays a key role in deciding whether you want to buy a particular product or not. Consumers do not prefer to wait for days in order to receive their orders and you can also not ignore the fact that your customers absolutely hate the delivery costs. They have become habitual of free shipping and take that for granted. But its too late to change that now. We can see e-commerce companies adopting delivery automation in the future for faster and more efficient deliveries.
HyperconnectivityA decade from now, we’ll be living in a hyperconnected and high-speed world with growing IoT, rising wearable technology, and widely used AI (artificial intelligence) & AR (augmented reality). The e-commerce websites will also incorporate these technologies and features to enhance the shopping experience of their customers.