The process of selling products and services online is not new. With the first online shopping system launched in 1979, digital transactions are almost 40-year-old. Thomson Holiday UK was the first business to install online shopping systems to deal with businesses in 1981. One year later, the Minitel was introduced in France and enabled online ordering in most households. The first ecommerce website as we know them introduced ten years later in Cleveland and offered book purchase with credit card processing. Since then, web technology has evolved to meet security requirements for customers data. Additionally, further devices have been developed, allowing customers to shop directly from their smartphone, using an app or a mobile-friendly website. But the experience of shopping online has remained very much the same since 1992.
Reaching out to global locations
Throughout a year, British households spend almost £4,600 online using payment cards, according to the UK Cards Association. It appears essential, for online retailers to survive in future, to expand their market and reach out to developing countries and remote locations. India, for instance, is a rapidly developing country with a growing population. In its learning position after the British colonisation, the country can benefit from quality services and products aimed at the low-income population. Additionally, working along with local warehouses and logistic partners – dedicated knowledge from Master supply chain management online courses and studies can make a great deal of difference – is crucial to increase buying power through employment. Other markets worthy of interest are the Republic of Ireland, eastern Europe, and southeast Asia.
Give your customers a personal AI-ssistant
If you haven’t yet been investing in AI development, you need to embrace the potential of its growing sector that is predicted to hit a global revenue of $90 billion by 2025. Companies such as Microsoft, Alphabet Inc and Baidu offer a deeper understanding of how AI can improve your customer journey. Ultimately, through chatbots to predictive sales analysis, artificial intelligence can act as a shopping assistant for online users. At an age when everyone demands personalised services, letting AI take over tasks that are time- and resource-demanding creates better resource management solutions.
Show your customers what your items do
Augmented reality is not exactly new – anyone who has heard of and played Pokemon Go on their smartphone knows what augmented reality can do. But it’s not commonly used in ecommerce. Very few retailers have chosen to incorporate AR technology into the customer experience. Allowing customers to see what products would look in their homes – a solution devised by Magnolia Market, for instance – adds a playful and tailored touch to the shopping process. IKEA also uses the function to help households pick the right furniture for their space. Other brands such as Converse and even L’Oréal Paris offer their clients the ability to take pictures of what a product would look like in them and share with friends and relatives – hence getting the seal of approval of their social circles.
The eCommerce of the future puts customers back at the centre of all activities, from expansion to assistance and shopping experience. The only way forward for online retailers is to bring a new sense of accessibility to the shopping process.
Photograph by HutchRock