E-commerce has come of age but still has a long way to go before it truly matures. What seemed like magic when it began, E-commerce, to this day, has several layers of internal and external technical dependencies. These determine its potential to be excellent. Our expectations as consumers & providers of the very platform have evolved over the decades, giving both parties a constant reason to keep improving and enhancing the buying experience, making it better than ever before.
The buying experience is highly dependent on the buying behaviour of a consumer while cruising through the platform, defined by the combined usage of technology and consumer insight. While buying behaviour and buying process interact between themselves as spouses do, outweighing each other at every opportune moment, technology acts like the house they live in. So overall, it's the technology that has to work hard to ensure smooth relations and interaction between the buying behaviour and the buying process, thereby improving the buying experience and resulting in more and more sales.
It is this very technology that runs various stages of the buying processes. We can bucket them in two segments - Before ‘Buy Now’ and After ‘Buy Now’.
Before 'Buy Now’ optimal implementation of technology helps in:
• Performing personalized search
• Customization of buying options
• Populating Intuitive optioning
• Populating actionable content
• Encouraging ‘buy now’
• Filling and managing your cart
Whereas technology has a decisive role in the stage After ‘Buy Now’ click, in:
• Facilitating payments
• Managing and maximizing rewards
• Interacting with logistics
• Encouraging repeat
Each of these stages engaging an ever-evolving set of technologies is an industry in itself and has given birth and rise to many startups and unicorns in the e-commerce domain. They all come together and act as various performance accelerators of the buying engine, aimed to enhance the buying experience of the consumer, better than before.
In the future, while mobile Apps and PWAs will fetch more sales numbers, Web will still rule in the bigger ticket purchases. Personalizing search and populating customized buying options, usage of ElasticSearch, Solr search and Kleavu will find much more widespread usage, ensuring that the customer's journey remains as exciting, every time it starts on any e-commerce platform. Though AI is very popular but is currently underused. It is yet to be used efficiently enough for improving the experience while generating customized buying options, intuitive optioning, populating actionable content and encouraging ‘Buy Now’.
An AR Future for e-commerce
Wish there was a ‘Paytm’ of virtual shopping ready before the crisis-driven opportunity of Covid hit. It would have surely made that virtual shopping brand an instant hit just like how Paytm became at the time of demonetization. The technology of virtual shopping will gain much more prominence and take centre stage in the coming times. While Virtual Reality (VR) & Artificial Reality (AR) are popularly known as the backbone of virtual shopping, Mixed Reality (MR) would actively be implemented in various features. Various startups are already working on it and it should not be long before you step into your popular brand's virtual store, mimicking your actual walk-in experience of a retail store.
The new technology being worked on will minimize the number of clicks for every process and the process of payment is no different. It rather has its challenges of security concerns, govt guidelines, consumer confidence and smooth transaction. It actually is a ‘gateway’ as a lot of orders don't cross the ‘line’ even after the customers add them to the cart. This happens due to a lack of ease of payments, confidence and payment options.
E-commerce will keep evolving as humans do and our buying behaviour does. Improving Buying experience will largely depend on how we humanize the technology to serve the customer better while drawing useful conclusions from consumer’s buying behaviour, marketing insights and business objectives.