The digital revolution has changed the way we buy things. We no longer have to go to a physical store and meet face-to-face with an employee to check out. Instead, we can shop from our homes, offices and other Internet-connected devices. This has created a world where e-commerce is changing once again. This time, it’s not just about selling more stuff — it’s about selling it digitally and becoming part of the customer experience rather than against it. That’s why e-commerce is so important for your business and what you need to do as an online retailer to remain competitive in today’s marketplace. Here are five trends you need to know about if you want to understand what the future of e-commerce will look like for your business:
More and More Consumers Want to Stay in Control of Their Data
In the old days, when retailers sold things to you directly, you had all the control. You could decide if you wanted to buy the dress that was on sale or the one with the price tag attached. These days, consumers are empowered with the ability to shop from multiple vendors and have much more control over the buying process. They can decide which products to buy and how much to pay for them. Some retailers are taking advantage of this by letting customers “listen in” to the buying process by having them scan a barcode with a smartphone app or look at an item being shipped and order it online. Belk, for example, lets customers look at the merchandise being shipped to them, request returns, and pay for items online with a single click of a button.
E-Commerce Will Dominate the Digital Economy
As e-commerce grows, it will become increasingly important for retailers to understand their customers and their needs. That’s why it’s important for businesses to understand the digital economy and what their customers want. And that’s where e-commerce platforms like ShopRunner come into play. ShopRunner lets retailers offer free two-day shipping and free returns for a limited time. The Internet of Things is going to bring another revolution to the e-commerce industry. We’re already starting to see this with home security systems and smart home devices. With the release of the Apple HomePod, Siri can now control many connected devices in your home.
The Internet of Things (IoT) Is Coming
The Internet of Things is a big deal. It’s the concept that every device connected to the Internet, from your car to your doorbell, creates a shared network of data. From that shared network, you can send and receive information and control devices without having to touch any of them. This “Internet of Things” promises to be both a blessing and a curse for businesses. On the one hand, consumers have more devices to connect and share data with. On the other, cyber security experts are warning about the growing popularity of “bad actors” who could misuse this data.
Mobile Commerce Is on the Rise
Mobile is making its presence felt in e-commerce. It’s already bringing in billions of dollars in sales and is set to grow even more in the months and years ahead. This is great news for retailers who are looking to benefit from the growth of mobile commerce. With a mobile app, you can accept payments, track inventory, and process returns from your smartphone. It means that consumers are willing to make purchasing decisions while they are in-store, eliminating the anxiety they might have when making a purchase online.
What Will Drive Change? Smart Bricks or Hard coding?
Many e-commerce initiatives are built on hard coding, which means that every aspect of the platform is programmed from the ground up. With hard coding, you’re trusting that the platform you’ve chosen is secure and working correctly. But with smart bricks, companies like Walmart have begun to experiment with. This approach allows companies to build an ecosystem of tools and apps that work together to offer a seamless online shopping experience. It also means that companies are more likely to succeed if they are better understood by consumers.
Wrap It Up
As the digital economy continues to expand, so will e-commerce. What will drive change? How will retailers use the new found power granted to them by the digital economy? While there are still challenges ahead, such as how e-commerce platforms can keep up with the demands of hundreds of thousands of customers, the future of e-commerce for retailers is bright. E-commerce is not just about selling more stuff, it’s about becoming a part of the customer experience rather than against it.