There was a time when shopping meant waiting for the big sales and discounts in shopping malls and rushing there to get at much ahead of the queue as possible to not miss out on the products which you have been looking to buy for a long time but never was able to own it because of the high price tag. But then we got introduced to a magical gem known as e-commerce which helped us to get over these struggles to easily own our favorite items online without even getting out of our homes.
Now, this magical gem is ruling the world and is causing the gradual downfall of the retail business.
But if you still are a little bit confused about what exactly e-commerce is then keep following this article.
E-commerce refers to buying and selling of products or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions. In simpler words, it’s a store which operates via the internet and must not necessarily have a physical outlet. This all began in 1994 when a man sold a CD by the band Sting to his friend through his website NetMarket, an American retail platform. Cited as the very first example of a consumer purchasing a product from business through the World Wide Web—or “e-commerce” as we commonly know it today. Since then e-commerce has been gradually evolving and has made products easier to discover and purchase through online retailers and marketplaces.
Global retail e-commerce sales are projected to reach $27 trillion by 2020.
The top 10 e-commerce websites that are ruling the world today are – Taobao, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Target, Alibaba, Flipkart, NewEgg, Overstock, Best Buy respectively.
People have been facing major changes in every term through technological advancement in e-commerce. Earlier it wasn’t easy as same as today but people have learned to grow and adapt to changes finally. Nobody had ever figured individuals will turn down using physical keyboards to screen touch, however, yes truly they did.
Some such revolutionizing technologies and their implications are discussed below:
1. Omni-Channel Presence/Support
Present shopping habits involve cross-channel research, consideration, and purchase. Statistics say that 90% of customers expect unhindered interactions across multiple channels and devices. This boosts the importance of omnichannel readiness for today’s businesses.
Video Chat – This allows businesses to interact face-to-face with customers and develops a personalized, cross-channel, visual demonstration and consultation experience.
Document Interaction – This is the method of interaction with the customer documents in a safe way and includes e-signature technologies for enhanced security.
2. Extensive Personalization
Consumers feel better when they get a personally-relevant shopping experience based on their preferences. More than 78% of customers ignore offers that aren’t personalized or based on their previous orders. This proves that personalized attention in marketing and customer support is the most important. Personalization comes from understanding the customers search history and past orders. Almost every action performed on the internet is captured and turned into a volume of records known as big data. Big Data, Machine Learning, and AI have made personalization normative by driving customer behavior patterns, trends, and affinities, while interpreting this data.
3. Mobile Shift
E-commerce has recently been found to be getting shifted to mobile platforms. Consumers feel more comfortable to search for their favorite products online using their smartphones than computers because of the portability of the former. Failing to provide a mobile-oriented shopping experience may lead to downfall.
E-commerce Mobile Apps – These apps continuously engages customers with new and relevant purchase options.
Location-based Marketing – Knowing the geographical whereabouts of a customer helps the businesses to categorize product recommendations for them that are oriented to a specific location.
4. Conversational Marketing
Besides the one way directional flow of traditional marketing channels, a new concept of conversational marketing has arisen. Many advantages to achieving e-commerce success have been brought by opening two-way communication mediums.
Chatbots – These excellent conventional marketing tools provide customers with answers using conversations taken from multiple channels, matching the brand’s tenor, and are capable of handling multiple conversations at a time.
Live Chat – With the help of this support team can communicate with customers through chats. It also allows businesses to help customers having certain issues.
5. Image Search
Customer surveys have shown that they take the photo of products around them to search for similar products on different websites. Today e-commerce businesses with the help of various technologies are trying to fulfill that wish of the customers.
6. Fast & Easy Checkout Processes
Cart abandonment has caused a lot of business downfall despite the gradual sales, promotions, and offers. Studies have shown that the main reason for cart abandonment is the checkout procedure.
To overcome this problem the e-commerce websites much embrace technologies to ease out the checkout procedures like –
Nowadays, a number of eCommerce store development platforms have popped up in the market. All the platform fulfills unique needs and so choosing any of them comes with its share of benefits. Below is listed top e-commerce framework that should be considered in 2019 –
This is the most popular and widely used tool for eCommerce development. Almost 17% of the eCommerce websites around the world are built on the Magento framework. It is featured with wide community support, robust features and full control over design and functionality and easily ranks as the topper.
This is the leader in e-commerce platforms for the WordPress community. Anyone with knowledge of basic WordPress programming skills can easily integrate WooCommerce and manage products easily. The plugin offers a number of free and paid modules and themes which can be used for an online store. Because of its dependency on WordPress, it might not be so much appealing for big stores.
This one is the most preferred framework among startups and small business. This can be easily used by anyone having a little bit of programming experience as it is so simple and user friendly. Its popularity has not been affected by its minimum functionalities as compared to other shopping carts because of its simplicity.
Having its fan base in the European region over 300,000 stores are running successfully around the world on this framework. Its features ranging from intuitive installation and customization process has helped the developers in easy access. All though for customizing the fully functional website one needs to purchase a few plugins which put PrestaShop on the downside.
Bagisto provides an easy customisability to the gradually growing Laravel community. It offers out of the box multi-warehouse inventory management. The only downside of the platform being the newly launched framework bagisto is catching up very fast amongst the opensource and laravel communities.
The possibilities have become endless for both businesses and consumers, since the inception of the Internet and e-commerce. E-commerce has its disadvantages including consumer uncertainties just like anything else but nothing that can not be resolved or avoided by good decision-making and business practices.