Over the past 5 years, the art of selling products online has dramatically changed and in many ways shifted toward a data driven science. Real-time availability of data in many ways has opened up new channels and technology to sell more products online. From advancements in Google Adwords to free access to enterprise level analytics, more than ever eCommerce stores can react quickly and offer the best products for their customers. And yet, many stores still struggle with the age old problem, “How do I continue to grow and sell more?”. Today I want to explore what the next 5 years bring to the world of ecommerce and how will these new technologies allow us to sell at a much higher and more profitable rate online.
Several trends that will continue to change the ecommerce landscape:
- The Tablet Takeover
- Online Television
- HTML 5
- Highspeed Internet Access Anywhere, Anytime
The iPad and other tablet devices will allow us to shop in a much more intuitive and convenient manner. Instead of shopping in a very limited and restrictive manner on websites, the iPad offers users an interactive way to browse, zoom and flip through products with an ease that my grandmother can do it. You do not have to even know how to use a computer. This not only opens up new markets but it also reduces many restrictions to shopping online like “it’s not fun”, “It takes too long to find what I want”, or “I don’t know how to use this website”. With apps like Gilt on the iPad, shopping online will feel exciting, fun and interactive and will allow anyone watching TV on the couch to buy from your store. I am looking forward to stores that will take the tablet multi-touch technology to the next level.
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Online Television: Let’s take one more step into the future. Okay it seems like every day another internet powered TV device is coming to the market. When I think internet TV in the future, I envision true TV and internet integration, where news articles, products or sports scores are available with a click of the remote as they appear in your favorite show. With DVR, commercials are becoming less and less of an effective advertising model. Sooner than later TV producers will give into this pressure and look for more interactive methods for selling products in their shows. You may see your favorite TV character wear a nerdy t-shirt and seamlessly you will be able to click a remote button, save that product for later and confirm the purchase after the show. No more add to cart clicking or filling out an extensive form online to purchase. If you want to purchase a product that didn’t show up in the show that you just watched, you can search or browse for a product with your touch pad device and it will popup a show with that product so you can see who wears it and what it looks like.
HTML 5: I wanted to quickly mention HTML5, the next internet standard that’s promising a richer and more interactive web experience, because it could drastically change the landscape of ecommerce stores. Instead of using a plugin based technology like Flash for a richer web experience, developers will now have many of these features built-in to the web browser so that they can ensure the website is Search Engine Friendly, but also very fun to use and shop at.
High Speed Internet Anywhere and Anytime – Not much needs to be said here, the uses are fairly endless. I will say that voice activated shopping in your car could happen. “Car, please find me a pair of running shoes… and ship it to my work address by tomorrow”
Looking into the future is exciting and I believe it will bring easier and easier ways for consumers to buy online. The competitive pressure in the ecommerce industry will drive stores to continually find methods to increase the rate of visitors making a purchase. One proven method to accomplish this goal is to reduce the barriers to purchase. Technology and future stores will bring down many of those barriers so that there will not be an excuse to order. We saw this happen with the invention of the credit card, Paypal, Amazon One Click shopping and now iPad couch shopping, interactive television, html 5 websites and anytime anywhere internet access.