Regardless of what its critics and naysayers continue to argue against, electronic commerce is here to stay for a long time.
Not only has e-commerce changed our lives in ways we’d never be able to fathom completely; it has also been probably the lone silver lining in an otherwise economically depressing period, especially over the past five years.
The general view of internet pundits is that the magnitude of its impact would be best enumerated by numbers. So let’s discuss some numbers here.
Reports from market research giants assert that the ecommerce industry has outgrown the overall retail sales market by two times, a trend that is likely to remain intact over the next five years.
As per the findings of Forrester Research, we see that ecommerce industry witnessed a good year-on-year growth rate of 14.8% in 2012, whichovershadowed the retail sales growth of 5.3%.
Furthermore, the internet is expected to add 10% towards retail sales in the country by 2017, catapulting the total value of web sales to a massive $370 billion.
Similarly, online retail sales in China touched $179 billion in 2012, up 42.2 percent from $126 billion in 2012. The figure is increasing steadily every month.
These are staggering figures indeed. Interestingly, a major chunk of this growth is likely to be accounted for by existing ecommerce users and not by new players.
Contrary to popular notion, it is not the brick and mortar retailers alone who have taken the ecommerce industry to its existing level.
While their role can never be questioned or undermined, it is the constant evolution of technology coupled with the emergence of social media outlets that have made multi-channel offerings that much more palatable in acommercial website.
The idealistic concept of ‘customer is king’ has been exemplified thoroughly over the past few years when web merchants have gone out of their comfort zone to accommodate the changing needs of their customers by offering add-on services like store returns and in-store picks, to name a few.
Proactive, dynamic, and personalized service/communication has displaced the conventional notion of straightforward service delivery and a lot of emphasis is being placed on effective online execution.
An increasing number of internet users have become accustomed to the idea of online shopping because their merchants are now not averse to accommodate their varying tastes and create a holistic, 360 product view point.
More and more people, regardless of their demography or geographic location, are out there embracing new technologies to create an ecommerce online.
As per a recent report by Pew Internet Research, almost 50% of all Americans have a smart phone, an increase of 28.5% as compared to 2011. Even more encouraging is the fact that nearly 86 million are shopping online usingintelligent gadgets.
This is an extension of the above point in that the growing use of mobile decided has made an enormous difference towards entrepreneurs who wish to create an ecommerce.
According to a report from IDC, mobile internet use is set to beat PC-based web usage by 2015. Tablets are replacing PCs with a consistent regularity not just in the US, but elsewhere too. More and more web users are using wordpress on their gadgets.
With the burgeoning growth of the tablet and smart phone market, most online retailers are now realizing the importance of incorporating a mobile website or at least a mobile application to remain technologically relevant.
It’s no longer sufficient to utilize social media channels to promote your product to new and existing customers because everybody is doing that.
These days, a successful advertising campaign is all about first piquing about your audience’s curiosity and then creating/sustaining a personalized,emotional connection with your market using brilliant mediums like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
However, too many small and medium businesses make the cardinal mistake of not following up on their seemingly genuine ad campaigns to develop a long-term relationship with their clients.
Entrepreneurs have realized that merely establishing social outlets to establish a connection with new users is not going to get them anywhere.
They need to implement a proper follow-up plan wherein each potential or existing customer would be treated as a member of their extended family and have customized solutions delivered to them. That’s the real challenge confronting the ecommerce industry.
The far-reaching impact of videos in web business no longer remains in the realm of conjectures.
The importance of making interactive videos in websites and even blogs like wordpress is even more overwhelming for consumer-facing companies, particularly web online retailers simply because that helps them maintain an identifiable customer base.
Gone are the days when inserting pictures and text updates were enough to propel web traffic. Any competitive entity must regularly develop video content to engage its audience.
Even established B2B powerhouses like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba have forayed into video marketing in a big way. The results are for all to see.
The difference between generation X and generation Y is very subtle in that the former is fairly content in using technology to communicate and further their workplace commitments. However, generation Y is mostly on-the-go and thrives on doing many things (multitasking) at once, which is why theyintegrate social life into technology.
In other words, they want to use technology to enhance their professional productivity but also want to share their ideas/choices/emotions/likes/dislikes instantly with family and friends. Furthermore, they want to do all that at once in a non-complicated manner.
To that end, ecommerce offers a dynamic cross-channel proposition where different multidimensional purposes are achieved quickly without compromising on the service quality.
To give it a business analogy, the customer buys some stuff in-store while browsing the web and shares the video with a friend; collects the product from the store or gets it shipped from a distribution center.
This involves multiple interactions via diverse channels like kiosk, store, mobility, internet usage, and a mobile device.
In the end, the perspectives of e-commerce, regardless of the level of evolvement and relentless changes, hinge on two constants- convenience andsimplicity.
The end user expects good quality service and doesn’t really care too much about the platform used in that regard.
This essentially means that process and technology are two sides of the same coin in delivering quick and simplified service to the customer. This is something that the ecommerce industry is ideally suited for in terms of interactive business opportunities in the years to come.