The Future of eCommerce: Give Consumers What They Want Before They Know They Want It

Last month we conducted a workshop about the Future of X: a series of workshops for specific industries such as travel, FMCG, F&B and financial services that deep-dives into the future of each industry respectively. For this I prepared an introductory presentation about the Future of eCommerce as a warm up exercise for the group. I wanted to share this with a wider audience as it is relevant for any digital business.

Future of eCommerce

Thanks to technology, “new” value propositions are emerging that are incorporated in the brands products and offerings: setting default preference, seamless experiences (from online to offline and vice versa) and removal of friction points. This article is about the key features that build the Future of eCommerce. 

Convenience is the Key Driver

Still on top of the list for the future of eCommerce is convenience. The convenience to order food within 32 minutes (deliveroo). Same day delivery of groceries (Amazon Prime) or ordering a cab with one click without using your offline wallet (Grab). There are countless of other examples which shows still that convenience is one of the key driver for digital solutions.

2019_Deliveroo App
App Store Preview of deliveroo

Creating even more value when convenience is incorporated in the User Experience

2019_Deliveroo App_Features
deliveroo application with key features

It goes so far that digital businesses are incorporating the elements of convenience right into their product solutions. Just open your food delivery app and look at how the products are offered. Top on the list: Order again, followed by top rated, fastest delivery and tasty discounts. These are all elements and driver for creating new stickiness with brands.

Personalisation costs you little, but makes a big difference

Another driver is the personalisation of products. In the past, it has cost some significant extra money (not to talk about the logistical delays) for getting your products customised. Usually people had to go to different providers in getting their preferred product customised. With the mass adoption of digital/3D printing and superior last-mile logistics solutions you will be able to create customised products without paying the (heavy) extra price for it. And because it’s so easy and cheap, consumers will expect this level of personalisation from almost any brand in the future.

2019_Adidas_Personalisation
Example of entrepreneurship7 customisation with Adidas

Co-Creation of Products or: Personalisation 2.0

Another big trend is the co-creation of products. This is a step further of the personalisation experience. It means brands provide a “clean” product and as consumer you co-create new products with your favourite brands. So instead of just putting your name on it, you can choose material, colour combination and can invite your family & friends to develop your product together.

2019_NikeID_Personalisation
Example of entrepreneurship7 customisation with NikePlus

Your Amazon-Store: How your Future eCommerce experience will look like

In the future we won’t have standardised landing pages. Hence, your brand experience will be different to mine. Amazon is testing this approach already with its “Your Name Amazon.com”. Based on historical searches, viewings and purchasing behaviour they recommend all relevant products to you.

2019_Amazon_Personalisation.jpg
Example of personalised shopping experience

Consumer Revolution: Give them what they want before they know they want it

The biggest consumer revolution will be to provide product solutions before you know you want them. Have a look on the example below. At first it looks like two un-related product categories that are shown: books and a mini USB stroller fan. Both very different categories and not really related.

2019_Amazon Advanced Recommendation
Example of predictive recommendation at amazon.com

Here is the point: while I enjoy reading books about entrepreneurship, digital business and biographies, I also recently searched for a baby stroller online but ended up buying it at a baby shop (offline) and not at amazon. Bringing up the (random) USB mini stroller fan that seems somehow unrelated to my previous purchases is a genius move: as I am registered in Singapore (with the all year round humid and hot weather) they knew that based on other consumer profiles within the same region who searched for strollers, the stroller fan would probably be useful for me. And guess what: I bought one for our stroller. I was not thinking, let alone searching, for anything like it but it made total sense after I saw it. They gave me something before I knew I want it. Thanks to AI and machine learning we will see much more of these recommendations across products.

 

In the future we will see more innovative solutions that brands use to guide the consumers into the future and bind them to their brands. Or as Peter Drucker, one of the management gurus, said “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. We will share more updates on the Future of X series in the coming months.

Thanks to Kat for your contribution to this article!

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