The best thing about the world wide web is the instant access. The swift access to the web has transformed how we work, how we socialize, and with eruption of eCommerce, the way we shop as well.
Over the last decade, the pace at which both web and tech hardware has evolved had a direct impact with eCommerce. Just like the web has become the choice medium for advertising, marketing and purchasing services; eCommerce has become the rival to traditional shopping in various ways.
Tech giants such as Amazon, who started in 1995, and later Paypal and Google who initiated their eCommerce ventures in 1998. The journey of eCommerce has doubtlessly accelerated over the last decade, and with the way things stand, it still has a long way to go.
Of all the changes that has been taking place over the last decade, perhaps the most impactful are:
- A steep increase in online marketplaces.
- The smooth shift to mobile devices for shopping online.
- The enormous growth of online advertising & digital marketing.
Online marketplaces have gained immense popularity over the last decade, having become the primary way to sell to mass consumers.
While known brands and retail stores offer online shopping, the growth of eCommerce stores like Amazon and eBay have transformed how an average person chooses to spend. With the evolution of eCommerce layers of convenience have been added, which in turn has increased the confidence of shoppers world wide.
As the pioneer of eCommerce Amazon launched their portal in 2001 and they have continued to adapt and innovate. Now they’re the only provider that has drone delivery, they have essentially become a thought leader that has set the tone as to how business is conducted online.
By simply accessing Amazon’s marketplace, customers have a wide variety of products to choose from. Their searches allow them to compare brands, user experiences and prices, as well as buy products well below retail prices. Around the same time, Google Checkout was released by the search giant in 2006, to simplify the payment procedure for shoppers.
Since the eCommerce industry is based on different kinds of technology, another big player had made a name for themselves as the choice content management system for eCommerce in 2007. That player was known as Magento, who was later acquired by eBay in 2011. According to top rankings by Alexa, Magento still maintains its position as the platform of choice for online businessmen with a market share of 26.1%.
A recent, most noteworthy evolution in the world of eCommerce is the convenience. M-Commerce, short for mobile commerce now represents the bulk of the users who now prefer experiencing the entirety of the buyer’s journey through their mobile device. People can now browse, compare and shop on elegant, responsive websites as well as dedicated apps on their smart devices.
In terms of advancements, the convenience being offered is merely the tip of the iceberg. Look at it this way, as the android and iOS platforms developed they paved the way for app-based mobile commerce, creating the perfect opportunity to interact with your customers in way that was never deemed possible up until a couple of years ago. The level of engagement and interactivity enabled through mobile platforms has opened a new door right into your customer’s pocket.
Push notifications is the direct advantage mobile shopping apps have over any other store or desktop website. It is now possible for vendors to engage and re-engage their customers through notifications directly on their phones to promote sales or call attention to products that often get overlooked. Desktop eCommerce stores do not have this luxury, the most they can do is email a newsletter.
Did you know the shopping history of users can help them segment their own percentage of the market anyway they deem fit, each with their own specific advertisements. A large chunk of the businessmen from the previous era haven’t seem to caught on to this surreal shift in the tectonic plates underneath the global marketplace.
Digital Marketing – Social Shopping
The mobile-friendliness of eCommerce has enabled brands to connect with their customers and sell their products. Since most people prefer to keep their smartphones close and handy at all times, they are far more accessible to advertisers and marketers. Online marketing campaigns have all but completely outgrown previous methods of marketing, and are directly hinged to where the people spend time online, a few broad categories are as follows:
- Social Media
- Online games
Online marketing has now grown limitless in the potential to reach customers and persuade them all through their online journey.
Although marketing through social media has become somewhat of a standard across all major platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.now
The “Buy Now” button on Twitter is a way for consumers to discover and buy from their favourite brands in real time. Instagram recently added actionable advertisements feature and such social selling options are only expected to further expand under Facebook.
As marketers attempt to take full advantage of millennial shopping trends, more and more businesses are creating their own online stores to accommodate these audiences.
The Future of eCommerce
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
As virtual reality and augmented reality find their way towards the forefront of innovation and into the mainstream, they are all but guaranteed to dominate the immediate future of eCommerce.
In partnership with eBay, Myer an Australian retailer, launched their first Virtual Reality Department Store. Customers can now browse hundreds of Myers products through VR headsets in 3D.
As you can see from the video, upon entering the virtual store you are presented with the product categories. Holding your gaze expands a category with a smooth animation revealing electronics or clothing items depending on the category. Users can browse the virtual “aisles” to their heart’s content.
Instead of using a mouse or a touch screen, users can choose the items simply by using their sight. Having already coined the term “Sight Search”, eBay have developed a technology that allows user to select items by simply holding their gaze for a couple seconds on the product they wish to choose.
With the power of Augmented reality, it is now possible to add layers of digital enhancement over our existing reality. Let that sink in for second, with AR goggles you can add a layer of artificial reality on top of our true reality, meaning you can see digitally generated items on actual shelves. By offering a more personalized and immersive experience augmented reality will rapidly change how customers shop in this day and age.
In eCommerce space Augmented Reality has limitless potential, top brands are now finding innovative ways to implement this technology for an inspired eCommerce experience and far faster sales process. Forward thinking companies plan to use and capitalize on this “Wow factor”, the future of online shopping will become more than a transaction and into an experience.
The past decade of eCommerce shows significant growth as technology advances, just as the way we choose to buy products.