E-Commerce will continue to utilize new technologies as they become available. Let’s take web technologies as an example. In the early days of the Internet businesses had websites that were static merely a few pages of text and some still pictures. There was no dynamic interaction between customers and the website. Online catalogs were no different than print catalogs; they had product images, description and static prices. At present, online shopping websites are interactive and dynamic. Photos are interactive and some are 360 degrees, where the customer can view a product from any angle, zoom in and zoom out, and manipulate the image in different ways, giving the customer a closer experience with the product. Auto dealers have online car shopping websites where customers can view an interactive image of their chosen car, and not only can they see it from different angles, but they can also build their car and customize it with features of their choosing. As they add each feature the image changes accordingly. They click on a spoiler to add, and the image of the car now has a spoiler. They pick a red color and the car now looks red. The total price of the car also updates according to the customer’s additions or subtractions of features. This rich user experience and interactivity is expected to evolve.
Such future trend is Augmented Reality (AR). AR became popular by the introduction of Google Glass, and then the Oculus rift and currently the introduction of Microsoft’s HoloLens Holographic Augmented Reality. This has great promises and future applications in many areas including E-Commerce. Looking into the future, and continuing our previous example shoppers can see the car in the space around them and see themselves sitting in the car, touching the controls and examining more subtle features of the car.
Advances in mobile technology will increase the ubiquitous of E-Commerce. As mobile devices advance in technology and features, consumers will rely more on those devices for online shopping and online payments. Starbucks started accepting mobile payments, by scanning a barcode on the customer’s mobile device. That is an area that will continue to evolve and eventually replace credit cards and cash. Bitcoin, a new form of digital money, might gain in popularity as more businesses accept it as a legitimate form of payment. All of which adds up to making E-Commerce more convenient and mainstream.
On another front, GPS technologies will be incorporated with advertising and marketing strategies, where a customer will be sent contextual messages, coupons and ads to their mobile devices based on their current location and their personal likes and dislikes and shopping behavior and personal profiles. Example of a customer driving near a shopping plaza and he gets a message with a coupon of an item he/ she likes and was searching for online recently, and the item is available right there and then at a store nearby.
One new technology can change the future of online shopping. Expect to be surprised!