Shopping online has never been easier, as you can order whatever you like with a couple of clicks on your laptop from anywhere across the globe and get it at your doorstep by 2-3 business days. To make it even more convenient, most online shops have mobile applications to ease the transaction even further. The idea was a hit and more and more consumers are using their smartphones to shop online, thus making electronic commerce (e-commerce) shift to mobile-based commerce (m-commerce).
And it gets better! Because of this huge attraction, retailers are working around the clock to enhance their mobile applications’ performance and user-friendly usability, as they offer a multitude of choices, unbiased reviews and price comparison from reliable sources. Also, in the near future, rather than wearisome catalogue presentations, platforms will become a full-fledged marketplace where consumers can experiment virtual 3D visits and do their “touchscreen” shopping.
Relying on Big Data, retailers will be proposing targeted and customized services, based on individual’s previous shopping trends. Customized outfit planning, virtual sizing and Human Online Shopping Concierges offering recommendations will be available for a more convenient shopping experience.
There are also futuristic ideas under development to solve the main challenge of e-commerce, deliveries and return policies: deliveries can be made to home or work places by drones or within one hour in megacities. Meanwhile, it is reported that worldwide renowned e-commerce retailers will be opening physical stores where consumers can pick or return their purchased items.
Moreover, technologies like NFC (Near Field Communication) are being developed to make in-store shopping easier than ever. This innovative payment method is a smartphone technology that allows for easy communication and data transfer over short distances. By connecting the smartphone to a payment card, payment for goods or services is instantly done. Many innovative initiatives are emerging based on NFC technology. A multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer offers commuters the possibility of shopping in the underground corridors equipped with virtual shelves having QR codes. The chosen items can be scanned with smartphones and thus paid for, and products will be delivered as previously agreed.
A major breakthrough in m-commerce will be in technologies like beacon, an indoor geo-positioning system that identifies individuals and allows transmission of individualized contextual information. It will inform receiver about new arrivals, discounts, or upcoming special events.
E-commerce is definitely changing the way we interact and consume products. It is promising our societies an easier, more productive and money-saving consumption process. It should however raise the user’s awareness and responsibility towards its objectives: satisfy his/her needs while avoiding over consumption.