What will electronic commerce or e-commerce be like in the future?
The unstoppable speed of new technologies and the redefinition of the sales processes of multiple companies and businesses (driven by the global health emergency that we are experiencing) has caused an exponential growth of e-commerce, in a timely manner.
According to data from the national observatory of telecommunications and the information society, the total business volume of electronic commerce in Spain grows at an annual rate of 25%. Logistics and distribution will be key aspects that will determine the future of electronic commerce and that is that buying online reveals very valuable data about trends, consumption habits and sociodemographic profiles of users, essential for the definition and implementation of marketing strategies. marketing.
Evolution of e-commerce in Spain
- The 60s, the origin. Electronic commerce in Spain was born in 1960 with the arrival of EDI: Electronic Data Interchange, a system that allowed companies to carry out electronic transactions and exchange commercial information.
- 80s, first purchases. It will not be until 1984 when the first online purchase is made: a 72-year-old British lady was the forerunner, who placed an order with a supermarket, how? Through a list of products that appeared on television and that connected to a computer that received the signal.
- The 90s, the years of .fury The true leap of electronic commerce or e-commerce was erected, the fury and the hatching of dotcoms, a step to advertisements and community contacts on the Internet.
- The 21st century and the future that awaits it. The future of e-commerce is expected to be so promising that there will come a point where online and offline sales will not be distinguished. Users will perceive advantages that will be key to their purchase decision and that the offline world (physical stores) will not be able to offer them, such as 24-hour availability or knowledge of different opinions about the product by other buyers.
The evolution of the number of Internet users in the world reveals to us how electronic commerce is growing exponentially, at a dizzying pace with multiple changes accompanied by technological advances.
In 2021 e-commerce reaches 76.8% of all internet users (worldwide). And at a European level, 60% of Internet users have ever made purchases online.
According to the 2021 Global Digital Overview report (carried out by Hootsuite and We are Social), 77% of internet users have purchased a product through an e-commerce in the last month.
At the local level, electronic commerce represents a turnover for our country of 41,509 million euros.
The future of e-commerce in Spain
To know the future of online shopping we must closely follow the steps of the great Asian giant and specifically China. A country that reflects the latest trends in electronic commerce and that determines the consumption habits that will be exported to the rest of the world. We already know that the Smartphone has become the most common shopping tool used by consumers and China predicted it several years ago.
Some of the trends we see are:
Add digital content to physical reality, merge both elements. From a marketing point of view, it has been shown that correctly applied augmented reality generates quality added value for the user. A strong trend in e-commerce is the use of augmented reality to display products and bring them closer to the customer, as is the case with the so-called “virtual testers”, a simulation that allows the selected items to be tested through the camera. Its usefulness allows us to see products in real size that are not available, receive more information about them and even try them without having to purchase them. This is the case of the Sephora brand that has a system that allows multiple lipstick colors to be tested on a person using only their photo. There are multiple variations of this use of augmented reality, another application of this technique would be the one used by decoration e-commerce, a multitude of online stores dedicated to decoration or furniture sales are making applications available to users that allow users to test the furniture in the home. An example would be the application of the Swedish company IKEA, in which, through the camera, it is possible to test the furniture in the different spaces of the home.
This is e-commerce that uses the mobile phone as the main shopping tool. Smartphones thus become the true protagonists of online purchases : more than 50% of the volume of global electronic commerce is carried out through mobile phones. Marketing strategies take a close look at the protagonist and design strategies based on the usability of phones: they analyze and study the visibility on said platform, the movements we make with our fingers, compatibility with all devices, the conversion generated, test A /B…etc.
The benefits of social networks in e-commerce are many: they help to enhance the brand image, they allow you to advertise products and services, they improve SEO positioning in searches, they humanize company-client communication, they favor the shopping experience … among many. A good use of them will allow us to generate quality relationships with users and we will be able to attract customers and boost sales.
To achieve efficient Big Data strategies applied to e-commerce, we must be clear about the information of the data generated by our company, with the aim of regrouping and centralizing it. For this, it is important to detect the relevant areas in which Big Data is involved: database of products, services and customers, logistics, user experience, customer service, pricing and marketing policy. It is about detecting the opportunity that Big Data offers us, access to our most valuable information will help us make decisions quickly and efficiently.
Technological advances make it possible to optimize online shopping processes and enrich the user experience. AI fully impacts e – commerce and covers 3 areas for improvement with its development and application: personalized user experience (allows companies to react in advance and sometimes automatically), customer service (the famous chatbots allow interaction with users through an acquired language and guide their passage through the store) and logistics (through predictive analysis we can determine what the user is going to buy and react well in advance of its delivery).
Electronic commerce is advancing by leaps and bounds, well marked by the circumstances that push it to do so, such as this health crisis, or by technological advances that improve its quality in global terms. What happens is that more and more e-commerce replaces physical purchases due to the attributes and advantages it offers.
We do not know if this will cause businesses that only offer their products in physical stores to disappear in the future or we will achieve a balance by alternating the online experience with the real experience offered by touching a product, smelling it or knowing the person behind the creation.