e-commerce has been continuously evolving thanks to fierce competition and ever changing consumer behavior. Today majority of online commerce happens over a dot com portal accessed primarily through a laptop/PC/mobile device. However in times to come things are set to change dramatically.
Lets fast forward to year 2040 and look into the lives of Dinesh, Sudha and Anil.
It is Friday morning, time is 8:15. Dinesh, 27, a bank employee is speeding away on his hydrogen powered car, thinking about his beach trip over the weekend. en-route to work, he sees a giant electronic hoarding which is showcasing a latest range of goggles. Minutes ago, in the background the hoarding had communicated with Dinesh’s car and figured out his weekend plans, demographic profile and shopping history. After analysing the data the hoarding’s AI deduced that he’s mostly likely to buy a goggle hence, the display Ad. Sitting in his car Dinesh calls out a voice command and his car internalises the complete specs of the goggles, which in turn appears on his car’s 3D dashboard, he takes a quick look and places an order, a simple voice command and it’s done. About 9:00am he arrives at his office desk to find the product delivered at this desk. Dinesh is all smiles.
On the other side of the world Sudha, 39, mother of two kids receives a party invite from a friend living in a far off city. The moment she hits ‘accept’ on the digital invite, she gets a complete list of airway tickets for that sector and a preferential booking in her favorite hotel. She then taps the ‘auto’ option and the system picks the best flight based on her past travel patterns, weather forecast, medical history, income levels etc and books a ticket in the best possible flight, all in one seamless action, No need to key in credit card number or fill in host of fields. She’s travel ready in less than a minute.
Meantime, Anil, a sixth grader is preparing a quick checklist of items he needs to carry for his school excursion the next day. His parents have given him a monthly budget of Rs 50,000 ( I guess that would be equivalent to 5K of our times ). He has to make sure he picks the right stuff which fits into his budget. In Anil’s case AI doesn’t come into play as he is growing up and as part of curriculum he has to do his own thinking. He manually feeds in the list to a tablet PC, being a naughty kid he slips in a few bags of chips and choco bars. He manually calculates the prices, they fall in his budget, he authorizes the payment by placing his thumb and viola order is through. However, what Anil is unaware that the system has rejected chips and chocos since it is against his dentist’s advice. Also an Immediate notification was fired to his parents about this cheeky act. Package arrives in a while, a note is tagged in, it reads “ chocos and chips were delivered to your parents “ and Anil feels sheepish as reality descends on him.
All this might sound wishful thinking but I strongly believe this would be very much a reality in the future when technology makes a major leap, this means the way we shop will be changed forever. Those will be times when commerce will come to us, we don’t have to step out or carry cash/card to make a purchase. Data analytics coupled with tech innovation will redefine the conventional e-commerce formats.
e-commerce companies will have to lead the way by investing in newer technologies, advanced logistics and creating major touch points to improve customer service and overall buying experience.
What’s your vision? Do you think e-commerce will change in future? If yes, which direction would it go? Feel free to share your thoughts.