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The Evolution Of E-Commerce
In 1995 Jeff Bezos and his team launched the e-commerce bookstore Amazon.com. Bezos worked under the motivation of what he called the “regret minimization framework” — Amazon was a result of his fear that he would miss out on something big. This fear was rooted in great forethought seeing as since 1995 sales made via e-commerce platforms have grown beyond what most could even imagine at the time (with Amazon taking a hefty piece of the pie).
While Bezos was working to grow Amazon, another pre-2000’s player was making their way into the ring. After spending labour day weekend alone at home writing code, Pierre Omidyar launched his website AuctionWeb, the father of what is today Ebay.
Both eBay and Amazon are now household names; each has their own distinct purpose and branding, but still sharing in that they have been aboard the e-commerce train since it left the station. In spite of the fact that shoppers and online stores alike have to operate in the shadow of these colossal retailers, the market isn’t stagnating, and this is because of the new tech that’s arising every.
Social media has, for a while now, been a huge player in generating online sales. Payflic allows for a shopper to remove some conversion-killing steps that online consumers previously had to take by allowing a user to screenshot a product they see on their feed, and immediately have that entered into an intuitive shopping cart. This upcoming app works to get rid of redirects to websites and the 10 click trek to get from post to purchase. When using Payflic, you can simply scroll, screenshot, and pay.
Augmented Reality Shopping
There are many ways that retailers are using augmented reality to give a new, more enticing experience for their customers. Amazon announced a tool which allows a shopper to visualize how an item will look when placed in their home. AR dressing rooms are now being used to help with online fashion purchases. Applications of AR and shopping even go beyond eCommerce. One really neat app allows its users to enter a list, and will then guide them around the grocery store to their items (displaying nutrition facts along the way!)
Alexa Shopping allows for Amazon customers to place orders and hear about daily deals using only their voice, and many other new software are discovering existing applications of virtual assistants. It is theorized that purchases made by smart speakers will jump from a $2 billion industry to a $40 billion industry by 2020.
Some of the earliest chatbots were made long before the internet. However thanks to big data and machine learning they are now into their mind-boggling potential, and like all great technology, are being used to sell. Some of their current uses are implications include extremely cost-effective and scalable customer service, conversational based navigation, and website personalization that can make each customer feel like a retailer’s product is (more and more literally) speaking to them.
A U.S. startup, Flirtey, has already managed to deliver medical supplies via drone and is now exploring the commercial implications. Of course Amazon is not letting this opportunity fall out of mind (remember the “regret minimization framework” that keeps Jeff Bezos up at night?) Since today everyone has grown totally comfortable with one day shipping, Amazon Prime Air hopes to up the ante by delivering packages via drone in an average of 30 minutes.
E-commerce Is Evolving
Just like a living creature, the e-commerce industry is evolving through trial and error. To the regular consumer, it’s not much more than a guess of which new ideas are going to be the big players of tomorrow and which will fall by the wayside. And most e-commerce companies feel the same way.
What makes it all so much more exciting is how globally available these technologies are becoming. While using advanced AI in your small online store may seem light years away, it is important to keep in mind a trend we are seeing: e-commerce, and the tech that comes with it, is becoming more and more anyone’s game. Perhaps soon someone will install Augmented Reality, Droid Delivery and all other awesome technologies as easy as installing an app.
That’s not so far away with Payflic’s direct social media shopping app. Visit Payflic.com and stay up to date on what an awesome customer experience is going to look like.