Article

Faizan m. Syed
Faizan m. Syed 8 July 2022

How Has the Landscape of Digital Commerce Evolved Over the Past Years?

Ecommerce has been around for a while but the structural shifts in the markets have caused the digital landscape to evolve. When shopping online, you have more options than ever before. The pandemic has caused ecommerce to step into the spotlight and become a necessity for many brands as it accounts for close to 35% of total retail sales today.

For the longest time, businesses were debating whether to invest in improving their in-store experiences or enhancing their digital presence. It is safe to say that there was no replacement for digital. When the world was shut down because of the pandemic, businesses were largely relying on ecommerce stores to even buy everyday essentials. The true potential of digital markets was seen in the last few years.

Let’s see how this has shaped the ecommerce industry as we see it today, and what can we expect in the future.

1. Social Media has Played a Big Role in Ecommerce

Social media has changed the landscape of ecommerce, with platforms like Instagram and Pinterest becoming key players in the sales process. Previously, potential customers would need to actively seek out products, either by visiting a store or browsing through catalogs. However, social media has made it easy for businesses to reach a wide audience with little effort.

Social media is using the ‘push strategy’ to connect products and services with potential buyers. Products can be displayed and promoted on platforms with millions of users, increasing the chances that someone will see and purchase them.

In addition, social media provides a way for customers to interact with brands and learn about new products. As a result, social media has become an essential tool for businesses that want to succeed in ecommerce.

How you can tap this Market?

  • Organize community engagement
  • Start interacting with influencers and get them onboard to promote your products and services
  • Promote on community-driven platforms to get more orders

2. Ecommerce has Become more Commonplace, with People Buying more Items Online

Almost everyone has internet available today. Those that don’t have, will have access to it in the next few years thanks to Musk’s Starlink, Facebook Balloon, and Google Fiber. Thanks to this easy accessibility to the connected world, ecommerce has become more commonplace.

More and more people are relying on the internet to purchase items of daily use. It not only saves them time but also enhances the user experience – digital combines convenience and competition. As a result, you can compare the same products from different competitors, and have the product delivered to you on your doorstep.

How you can tap this Market?

  • Target online marketplaces to get your products listed on multiple platforms
  • Instead of focusing on a single channel, go omni-channel with storefronts on Amazon, Walmart, Etsy, Ebay, and various others
  • Start using 3PL to outsource inventory and logistics

3. The Rise of Mobile Commerce has Made it Easier for People to Buy Things on the Go

In 2021, around 70% of internet visitors were from mobile devices. In fact, a large number the daily internet users don’t even have a laptop or a computer available. This is true, especially for Asian & African countries where smartphones are readily available for under $50 while laptops or desktops with internet connection cost over $300.

Mobile commerce has made it easier for these people to buy things online as and when needed.

"Remember, every ‘mistake’ your customer makes, it’s not because they’re stupid. It’s because your website sucks" – Founder of ConversionXL.

How you can tap this Market?

  • Get a mobile app developed for your website
  • Run ads on mobile platforms to get more people onboard
  • Product promotions should be your top priority both on mobile, web, and smart devices

4. Blockchain Technology is Starting to be Used in Ecommerce, with Companies like Alibaba Using it to Verify Transactions

Alibaba is just one of many companies that are starting to use blockchain technology to verify transactions. By doing this, they are able to create a more secure and efficient payment system.

However, this is not the only use for blockchain technology. It can also be used to create smart contracts, which can help to automate the process of buying and selling goods. This could potentially revolutionize the way that ecommerce works today, making it faster and easier for buyers and sellers to connect.

However, there are also some concerns about the security of blockchain technology. For example, if a transaction is verified on a blockchain, it cannot be changed or reversed. This could potentially lead to problems if there is a dispute between buyer and seller. As the use of blockchain technology in ecommerce grows, it will be interesting to see how these issues are resolved.

How you can tap this Market?

  • Start adopting blockchain technologies like Metaverse, NFTs, and Web3 channels for product development and promotion

5. Automation is Becoming more Prevalent in Ecommerce, with Companies like Amazon Using Robots to Pack Orders

Finally, what is paving way for smooth ecommerce transactions is automation. Giant ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart are heavily relying on automated processes like robot-governed warehouses, and drones to pack and ship orders to the customers.

Automation has made it easier for ecommerce stores to become more efficient, reduce carbon footprint, and save more costs – all thanks to improvements in the technology sector.

How you can tap this Market?

  • Cost cutting with the use of automation tools in all departments
  • Use Jarvis, Canva, and other similar tools to get product pages and promo materials developed at scale

Future of Digital Marketplaces

1. Rise of Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR)

Digital marketplaces have been a convenience that most consumers enjoy but people still hesitate to shop for things online. A major reason for this is a lack of trust. The product that is shown online is not the same as delivered and this is where AR comes into the picture.

Retail giants are exploring and making use of AR technologies. With this, they aim to close the gap between the expectation and reality of online products. We anticipate AR to be a key player shaping the digital experience for online buyers.

2. Enhanced Cyber-Security

One of the key challenges that digital marketplaces are facing today is the risk of security. Scams, fraudulent transactions, storing personal information, and advertising malpractices (malvertising) need to be controlled (or eliminated) for a seamless online shopping experience for the buyers. And since digital is here to stay, significant work is being done in improving cyber-security.

3. Omni-Channel Experience for Customers

While we have seen a rise in ecommerce in the last decade, it will not be a complete replacement for brick-and-mortar stores. People still prefer buying from stores in certain cases. A customer today is looking for a consistent and positive experience from all the channels – digital and in-store.

Lastly, the digital landscape is constantly changing, and businesses must adapt to stay competitive. New technologies are being developed all the time, and consumers are increasingly reliant on digital devices and services.

As a result, businesses need to be agile in their approach to the digital landscape. They need to adopt new technologies quickly, and they need to be able to meet the demands of a constantly changing market. The businesses that succeed in the digital landscape will be those that are able to embrace change and harness the power of new technologies.

Bottom-line

Tech advancements are changing the digital landscape as we know it. The only way to stay ahead of the game is to adopt these advancements and use them to your benefit. For ecommerce owners, current advancements open a new arena for experience and experiment. That’s why trying all channels should be their priority, forgoing those later that don’t prove results.

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