I often think to myself what’s next for eCommerce and I have all these wonderful and crazy thoughts. So I’ve decided to put some of these ideas down in ones and zeros so that I can come back to them in 10 years time and see how far off I really was!
The Future is Mobile
Let me start by saying the future of eCommerce is mobile. You don’t need to be a futurist to see that one, the data speaks for itself. As we see mobile eCommerce having such strong growth I believe innovations in eCommerce will be skewed towards mobile in an effort to improve user experience and increase conversion rates.
Contextual Advertising and Personalisation
Location based advertising is already here with platforms such as Google Adwords already offering location based targeting. However I think people are going to become a lot more strategic and creative when using location based advertising. One idea I’ve had is to identify if someone is show rooming from within or even near a competitors bricks and mortar store and offering that customer an incentive to convert on your website instead. In the near future I think that location based and future targeting is going to transition from advertising to highly optimised on-site personalisation.
I also predict this advertising and personalisation is going to become a lot more contextual. By adding a customer’s current velocity (speed and direction) to an already known location we can detect whether a mobile customer is walking or travelling on another medium. By tracking this movement we can detect if they are travelling by road towards or passed one of our stores or are they travelling on a train to a station or flying on a plane to an airport or city where we have a store.
We may also know through analytics that a customer on a plane is less or more likely to convert than a customer on foot and therefore be able to direct our marketing dollars more effectively.
As devices evolve I believe we will be able detect the environment in which the customer is browsing. By monitoring temperature and humidity in a customer’s location we will be able to offer a very high degree of personalisation displaying winter or summer items.
Touch, Feel and Smell
Looking a little further into the future one of my other predictions that people often gawk at is the thought of customers being able to touch our products via their mobile device. While this requires major innovations in hardware I don’t believe it’s beyond the realm of possibility for a device (maybe using small electric currents?) to be able to simulate different touches and feels. Imagine if you can feel the thread count of that linen or stroke that suede jacket, how much would that increase a website’s conversion rate by?
And while we are talking “crazy” ideas, how good would that new book smell be during the checkout process on Booktopia.
No discussion on the future of the internet could be complete without wearable devices. I believe both wearable and possibly embedded devices are the future of the internet and will play a role in the future of eCommerce. It will definitely mean more data points for retailers to consider but while I don’t think Google Glasses are going to go beyond the tech community I do think user experience and interface thought will need to be given to the contact lens and other wearable devices.
The future of eCommerce is endless and this blog could continue on forever. What do you think lies beyond the horizon for eCommerce?