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The Future of eCommerce

Guy Mucklow | Ecommerce

“It’s not every day that you see completely game-changing ideas within the world of eCommerce. After all, there can’t be too many truly innovative ways to sell products online…” That is what I used to think, but this was before I stumbled across two new innovations that could really shake up the market.

3D Shopping

Firstly I wanted to draw your attention to Panoplaza’s new eCommerce platforms. These sites attempt to replicate the bricks-and-mortar feel online, with virtual shops. Using panoramic photos of actual store spaces, the websites allow visitors to visualise the products and walk around a virtual online shop.

Panoplaza has already created a three-dimensional online store for a Japanese sweet shop, where guests can browse a wide array of confectionary presented on the virtual displays. If you don’t believe me check it out for yourself. I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty amazing! I am left wondering, however, whether this type of elaborate design could actually slow down the overall process or even distract consumers from making a purchase.

Window Shopper

One thing is clear, though: this trend of a personalised and virtual shopping experience really seems to be catching on. The latest development to take the eCommerce world by storm is Pinterest, a design representative of window shopping.

If you’ve been living under that proverbial rock for the last few months, Pinterest puts web content into sticky-note sized blocks that users can organise onto their own pin boards. The majority of each block is filled by a photo, and the ability to “like,” “re-pin” or comment at the bottom make it appear like a web page in its own right.

For brands with highly visual products and creativity at their core, it could be a highly effective platform for promotion. According to new data from Monetate, the social pin-boarding phenomenon is driving more traffic to US eCommerce sites than Google+, quite impressive for a new start-up!

Have your cake and eat it

These emerging trends highlight how the boundaries between online and offline shopping are continuing to merge. Offline retailers are enhancing their online offers and online retailers are engaging in offline behaviour.

Savvy eCommerce sites are effectively combining the two channels. HMV, for example, has recently outlined a new multi-channel strategy that will incorporate a service where customers can order online and purchase in store. Our own research found that a staggering 52% rated click-and-collect as fundamentally important.

Consumer’s expectations are continuing to change. What once use to satisfy customers is now no longer enough. The modern online shopper wants to have their cake and eat it too! They want the benefits of shopping in store with the convenience of shopping online.

The Game Changer

Advances like these are really changing the game, revolutionising the way we shop with new types of interface. For e-tailers to be successful in these times of austerity, it’s imperative they look to exploit current trends with their own strategies. This doesn’t mean everyone should be jumping on the Panoplaza bandwagon, but there are fundamental lessons to be learnt here.

Both of these innovations clearly indicate that eCommerce is moving in the direction of less text and more visualisation. Customers are also beginning to expect a more personalised and social approach in their shopping experience. These are all key areas e-tailers need to be focusing on in their website.

As an e-tailer, you will also want to make your customer’s journey through your website as easy and seamless as possible, providing them with the level of customer service they would expect in a physical store. Your webpage needs to be an extension of your store, so if you wouldn’t enforce all your customers to sign up with a long complicated process within your shop, why would you do this on your website?

As with all things internet-related, it would be impossible to predict which new trends will become mainstream and which will fall by the wayside, but if Pinterest’s astounding growth is anything to go by, eCommerce personalisation is here to stay.

About The Author

author

Guy Mucklow

Before founding Postcode Anywhere, Guy was finance director for the family property business, A&J Mucklow Group Plc, which he left to realise a lifelong dream of establishing his own company. Guy also spent ten years as a fund manager at Invesco Plc. Guy is a chartered financial analyst, chartered secretary and holds an MBA. A passionate follower of Worcester Rugby Club and sometime golfer, he is married with three children. You can connect with Guy on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Comments

The Future of eCommerce | Postcode Anywhere Blog | UK eCommerce Trending says:

[...] not every day that you see completely game-changing ideas within the world of eCommerce.Via blog.postcodeanywhere.co.uk Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in [...]

Posted on: 16th February 2012 - 12:17 pm UTC Reply

Matthew Griffiths says:

Pinterest looks to be a very effective solution and one that I would describe as pragmatic, useful and market ready. Panoplaza’s eCommerce platform looks much more like a technology showcase or proof of concept.

In conjunction with a viable shop with attractive products its ‘unique’ presentation may attract tech-savvy visitors who go on to purchase, but I would question whether on its own it improves user experience. The same could be said of the current proof of concept releases of 3D Online Dressing Rooms where users can try clothes on their ‘avatars’ or certain augmented reality shopping apps. Do people really want to ‘virtually’ walk round a shop or would they rather visit an effective e-commerce site with ease of registration, navigation, purchase and mobility.

Posted on: 16th February 2012 - 12:40 pm UTC Reply

How to Cash in on Mobile eCommerce: 10 Top Tips (Part Two) | Postcode Anywhere Blog says:

[...] Remember that smart phones are also social devices! Make it easy for users to share your products adding to wish lists and one-touch posting capabilities to sites like Facebook and Pinterest. [...]

Posted on: 25th October 2012 - 10:53 am UTC Reply

The future of mobile commerce | blog seo tips and tricks says:

[...] offers customers a more convenient and personalised shopping experience – reminiscent of Panoplaza’s ecommerce platforms we mentioned in our blog earlier this [...]

Posted on: 24th December 2012 - 1:37 am UTC Reply

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