Away from the real-world or parallel to it, technology has been shaping a massive virtual environment around us. One such significant virtual reality is online shopping, where technology has enabled us to purchase everything from groceries to automobiles from the comfort of our homes.
With the emerging technological advancements and maturing systems, e-commerce has been flourishing at a tremendous scale. As per 2019 global data of retail sales, e-retail constituted for 14.1% of global sales, and this is expected to reach 22% by 2023. The variety of products, ease of product search, and the global range of product availability has led to the quick adoption of online shopping by consumers. In a worldwide survey conducted among online shoppers, 20% of the respondents stated that they purchased physical goods online weekly. Characterized with such an augmenting nature, let us look at the evolving 4Ps of online shopping fields - Preferences, Purchasing Ease, Product Delivery, and Personalization.
From shopping mediums to methods, customers have been trying and developing specific tastes and trends. As the versatile nature of smartphones shows, 34% of online retail purchases are driven from mobiles. However, the revenue towards online shopping seems to be directed more through desktop than mobiles. As per 2019 global shopping order value data, desktop accounted for the highest sales with an average order value of 128.08 U.S. dollars than 86.47 U.S. dollars through mobile. There has also been an increase in the adoption of influencer marketing, with a survey showing 15% of global internet users discover brands through influencer endorsements, in which the role of vlogs for product research increased by 38% from 20 15 to 2019. Further, looking at the online products in demand, 60% of the respondents in a survey preferred to buy books, movies, and video games online over an in-store purchase.
The widening variety and availability of options in the market have led to marketers innovating and adopting new technologies and methods to ease the customer experience. Social commerce is one such efficient technique to harness the wide audience availability over social media. As per survey data, the usage of social media for brand or product research among consumers have leaped about 40% between 2015 and 2019. Subscriptions are another privilege system for online shoppers, which attracts consumers with special provisions in shopping. These subscription types have been developed into different categories considering consumer needs as automation of frequent purchases, personalization of the customer experience, and providing various special access in the form of discounts, offers, etc. The subscription service has been witnessing rising adoption with 15% of online shoppers in a survey having an e-commerce service subscription. Among these subscribers, subscription for personalization of content is the most adopted, with half of the subscribers falling under that category. However, the constant need for innovation in the boundaryless market ecosystem demands innovation. With that said, shoppable videos using interactivity is a nascent but high potential tool that will change online shopping.
Though online shopping tends to empower the overall retail industry, product delivery is a major current drawback of the field. Initially, with a month or fortnightly delivery of products, the system has evolved to deliver products in a week, two-days to same-day delivery. However, innovations have taken a further step from home delivery to enable in-home delivery. Retailers such as Amazon and Walmart have been introducing a novel way of implementing smart technology to conduct in-home delivery. The delivery system involves the customers installing a unique lock system and cameras, which would enable the delivery person to unlock the door under the customer's surveillance through live camera visuals. Another significant highly acclaimed technology implying the future of online shopping is the deployment of drones and droids for product delivery. Dominos had tested this technology by making the first-ever pizza delivery using drones in New Zealand back in 2016. Google's parent Alphabet's Wing is another drone delivery system used to deliver FedEx and Walgreen products weighing 2-3 pounds. The drone delivery is expected to see higher adoption with Amazon planning for 'Prime Air' drone delivery in the near future.
With flourishing technology and bombarding market competition, stringent attempts have been made to fulfil the need for the touch-and-feel experience of products. Technologies such as face recognition, augmented reality, and AI have been shaping the virtual world by allowing personalized shopping experience to online consumers. Lenskart's '3D Try On' has revamped the traditional eyewear shopping by enabling the consumers to virtually view their look using the eyewear by just recording a 180º video clip online. The furniture giant Ikea's new smartphone application 'Ikea Place' uses augmented reality to have a virtual experience through the phone camera of how the product would look in the buyer's' space.
With the ever-increasing innovations and advancements in technologies, the online shopping field is set to revolutionize in order to cater to the forthcoming tech-savvy world and we look forward to being in that emerging space.
By Rayhan Perera, Founder, OneDash
OneDash is a full service marketing and e-commerce enabler that provides users with the ability to upload video, edit their content directly, add sound, integrate social media publishing, and add buttons or overlay for direct-to-product purchasing.