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With the evolution of technology, e-commerce has come a long way, and there are even more burgeoning trends. E-commerce has gradually and steadily become a huge part of commercial transactions online. From relying on brick-and-mortar operations to establishing an online presence, businesses have experienced a complete turn-around.
Simply put, Electronic Commerce (e-commerce) is conducting a trade of goods or services using the internet. On the other hand, online shopping is simply purchasing goods or services via the Internet. These two play a very crucial role in the modern world by contributing to the growth of the business industry while improving the convenience of shopping.
Therefore, the need for the world to adapt the culture of e-commerce is crucial to the interest of every single person.
Changing Customer Expectations and How They Affect E-commerce
‘Seeing is believing’ has been the mantra that most customers use before buying anything. This prompts them to visit physical shops or markets so as to carefully inspect products before acquiring them. A lack of trust has greatly affected the advancement of e-commerce in some areas around the globe. Some sellers betray the customers’ trust in different ways including:
- Delivering poor-quality products
- Products advertised differ from what clients receive
- Long delivery periods
- Poor packaging thus damaged goods
- Extra expenses incurred by customers
- Poor quality products
These factors and more influence e-commerce because customer expectations are not met.
However, this can be changed by making the business industry more vibrant, trustworthy, reliable, and efficient. When all industry players put their ideas together, they’ll succeed in changing their customers’ way of thinking.
Benefits of E-commerce
There is a lot to be excited about for users of e-commerce — both the business owners and their clients. There are numerous advantages. Some of them are listed below:
Advantages of E-Commerce to Businesses
- It’s convenient and flexible because you’ll be able to work remotely and produce desired results.
- Advertising is easy, fast, and cheap, and you’ll reach a wide customer base.
- It’s less costly to establish as you’ll need very little capital to do so.
- Tracking your finances will be simple.
- You’ll have the option of selecting a specific target market for your goods and services.
- Interacting with your customers will be easy as will knowing what to improve on.
Advantages of E-Commerce to Customers
- Browsing for products online is a lot easier than walking around looking for things in different shops and markets.
- A range of products will be available for you on one website depending on what you’re looking to buy.
- Energy, time, and money will be saved because you’ll do everything in the comfort of your home or office. Plus, all deliveries will be made straight to where you prefer.
- You’ll have the choice of comparing products and going through reviews to help decide whether or not to make the purchase.
- Chat live with the seller for more information or to place an order on a sold-out item.
- Shop without limits without worrying about how much space you have in the car to ferry them home.
- You get to customize the product you want in terms of colors, size, textures, materials, and more.
The History vs. the Future of E-Commerce
E-commerce has existed for an estimated 40 years before it became known as it is today. This was during the onset of teleshopping; where customers made orders of what they wanted to buy through the telephone. In the 1990s, one company launched its first e-commerce website, and since then, the growth never stopped.
More companies have emerged and contributed to the widespread popularity of e-commerce today thus growing the business industry and boosting economies in a big way.
Over the years, the technology world has made significant advancements, from desktops to laptops and smartphones.
Today, you can simply download an application and start shopping from the comfort of your phone. This has made shopping more convenient, fast, flexible, efficient, and most of all, informative. As the world is growing, the business industry is growing along with it, if not faster.
The rate at which people are embracing e-commerce and technology is great and will give way for innovators to come up with even more informed things to make life better as we transition to the future.
Every good thing must go through a test of time to improve. E-commerce is no different. The industry has come a long way from where it was started. Just to mention a few:
- Establishment of secure websites
- Creating a trustworthy relationship with customers
- Improved knowledge of using the internet
- Availability of the computers and access to them
- Acquiring gadgets was quite costly, unlike today
The evolution of technology has played a big part in the development of e-commerce. This is because:
- As computers were improved, it became easier for customers to gain access.
- It became easier to use and navigate websites.
- More companies emerged, thus expanding the industry.
- Customers became more welcoming to the idea of shopping online.
- E-commerce has created more job opportunities for people.
- Economies continue to stabilize thanks to e-commerce.
E-Commerce Technology Trends
As mentioned above, technology advancements go hand in hand with the development and growth of e-commerce. As such, here are known technology trends in the e-commerce industry:
1. Blockchain Technology
Chain of Supply
This trend ensures accountability during supply and deliveries by keeping good records and tracking history. It reduces cases of counterfeit products and lost goods.
Secure Payment Transactions
Blockchain technology has helped ensure all payments are efficient and safe by using encryptions to safeguard transactions and using decentralized networks during processing, thus reducing unauthorized reversals and fraudulent incidents.
Customers like being treated with some extra attention, which is why business owners use loyalty points to reward their clients. These points can later be redeemed during their next shopping spree. Blockchain makes it easy to create and build that relationship with customers.
2. Augmented Reality And Virtual Reality (AR/VR)
Immersive experiences have completely revolutionized how products and services are marketed and sold online. Oftentimes, a product is better understood by its description and imagery.
Technology has enabled e-commerce to evolve in a way that customers are able to assimilate a product before placing an order. This allows clients to actually have an encounter with products in a virtual setting and make informed purchasing decisions.
Apart from a user manual, after purchasing an Augmented Reality-integrated product, customers need training on how to use the products while identifying its pros and cons.
On top of all this, business owners get a platform that allows them to educate their employees about the various products in store.
Most customers have their top brands that never disappoint them anytime they go shopping. Augmented reality and virtual reality offer a space where customers are able to interact with brands better. They are able to get updates in real time on their new products and upcoming projects. The fashion industry has also engaged with this by creating virtual shows for their customer base.
E-commerce has vastly expanded due to the possibilities offered by the AR/VR trends while growing businesses.
3. Delivery Automation And Logistics
Tracking Deliveries In Real Time
Customers want to follow up on the order delivery process and the estimated arrival time for their orders. Tracking technology has made this possible. Today, a customer is able to get updated information about the whereabouts of their order and the exact time it will be delivered to their doorstep. This strengthens the trust between the seller and customer while promoting transparency and customer satisfaction.
Use Of Autonomous Vehicles For Delivery
Moving along with technology advancements is important for business owners in e-commerce. Take, for example, the use of autonomous delivery vehicles, which will reduce your expenditure while also reducing customers’ delivery costs at the same time. By doing this, both parties will be satisfied through the adoption of new technology that is aimed at making life easier and cheaper.
Proper Warehouse Management
Managing inventory can be cumbersome, tiring, and time-consuming if one is using manual labor. Businesses in e-commerce have embraced the use of robots and other technological inventions to properly organize and make changes where necessary for easy access. This ensures a smoothly run system and reduces the amount of time spent in the warehouses.
A returns system is an important part of any business because it greatly affects each customer’s ability to keep coming back to the shop. Technology has also aided in the success of this area in e-commerce. Processing of returns, substitution of goods, and refunds has been automated making it faster and more efficient to achieve customer satisfaction.
This feature will help a business owner know the products that have high demand and suggest the amount they might need to restock. Predictive analytics also helps to enhance the delivery system by proposing better routes, which makes things less stressful.
E-commerce is one of the many industries experiencing immeasurable development through technology evolution. More people around the world are embracing the idea of infusing technology into our daily routines, including shopping online.
As time goes by, the technology world keeps evolving, and this has an impact on e-commerce and online shopping. New exciting improvements will be invented and added on. If you’re looking to venture into the world of online shopping, make sure to tap into the trends that come with e-commerce. This is something that will guarantee you success in your business and ensure you have a satisfied customer base.