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Future Trends of E-Commerce

E-Commerce was a term first coined in the 1960’s, as electronic transactions had just come into play and were allowing organisations to send commercial documentation electronically.

During this time, E-Commerce was defined as “the process of execution of commercial transactions electronically with the help of leading technologies such as the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)”. Transferring data from one computer to another, businesses could transfer orders, invoices, and other transactions using a set data format.

In 1979 a man named Michael Aldrich made the connection between E-Commerce and television shopping. From here he connected a television set to a transaction processing computer with a telephone line, and created “teleshopping”. This was the first step towards the online shopping that we are used to today.

When the internet was developed in the 1990’s, E-Commerce was put into play by technologically savvy people (such as Amazon and Ebay) who implemented the purchasing of goods and services online. By the end of 2001, business to business E-Commerce was rapidly growing and had approximately $700 billion in transactions.

Now we are in the 2010’s and online shopping is second nature to most of us. By 2020 E-Commerce sales are estimated to reach $27 trillion dollars in transactions. Because of its popularity and ease, consumers have become interested in two things: convenience and safety. Many of the features offered by online store software reflect these two priorities. For instance, the need for convenience has led most large online stores to offer the ability to create an account, review and track past orders, and store customer information to facilitate faster check out. At the same time, concerns about the security of information exchanged over the internet have prompted many online retailers to offer checkout and account management via secure channels. But what happens next?

The Future of E-Commerce is uncertain, but some things remain constant – delivery times will improve, customer service will get increasingly better, and product selection will become even greater. But how might the future of buying online actually look from the customer perspective, and what should you be implementing in your own business over time to stay ahead of the curve?

Perhaps one of the most exciting developments in E-Commerce is one we are already starting to see: Drone delivery. In the future Drones will allow companies to deliver packages much more efficiently and quickly, with delivery times of just 60 or even 30 minutes from order entirely plausible. Drones will be sent out from distribution centres and travel directly to the delivery addresses provided, at significantly lower cost and logistical hassle than at present.

Product curation and pay-monthly models are likely to continue to form an increasing part of the future of E-Commerce. People don’t want to buy generic products from you, but they do want to buy curated products, lifestyle products, and E-Commerce packages where a brands product knowledge and expertise can create an altogether more enjoyable, rounded experience.

A way that brands are using real-world physical experience with online E-Commerce is by “Showrooming” and “webrooming”. Here customers visit a local shop to view products, and then buy them online for a cheaper price, or vice versa. This is presenting new challenges for retailers, as they try to bridge the gap between the online and offline environments. However, it pays off, as online only E-Commerce retailers miss out on the webrooming aspect, as any sales made from research on a website and paying in physical retail environment is lost. Here is where Pop-up shops also come in handy.

Pop-up shops can serve as a low-cost way of reaching out to new customers and winning new long-term customers. Pop up shops give customers a chance to connect with brands in a physical way, while helping brands reach corners of the market that may have been difficult through online channels. Pop-up shops are marketed similarly to online shopping, but also have the traditional foot-traffic benefits.

Social media and E-Commerce is still a future collaborative resource. Here brands create click-through leads through social media advertising, enter competitions, and see collections on the social media page. Domino's in the USA are starting to roll out a process where you can direct message them an Emoji, and from here they know your address, your pizza preference, and your name. Voila! Your pizza is on its way. Due to personalisation and stored details, the future is looking towards easily bought commodities with the click of a button, or even the sending of an emoji.

The boundaries between E-Commerce and physical commerce, i.e. the retail store, will become less definite as time passes, and companies are already looking at ways of tying together online tracking and customer information with their real-world experience. This also complements the idea of greater customisation of the shopping experience, allowing retailers to use existing online data to personalise their entire relationship – both online and offline.

Greater personalisation and better customer experience will be the holy grail for E-Commerce businesses in the future. As it becomes increasingly difficult to secure customers against a backdrop of ever increasing competition, customers will flock towards those offering as close to the in-store experience as possible, and major E-Commerce retailers are already striving to make things more personal and more tangible on the web.

For more information on how you can implement E-Commerce, contact Expert on us@expert.services

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