Mobile commerce and gamification are two of the leading trends shaping the future of e‑commerce. A new report from Deutsche Post DHL, “The Future of E‑commerce in the U.S.,” identifies eight trends driving qualitative changes in e‑commerce beyond rapid growth. A brief summary of each trend follows.
M‑commerce: As consumers continue to rely on mobile devices for Internet access with greater frequency, m‑commerce will keep growing in importance as a form of e‑commerce. DHL cites figures from reports such as a Google study indicating 89% of U.S. residents use their smartphones during the day and a report from Wanderful Media showing 63% of online shoppers make purchase while watching TV to support this trend.
Omni-channel Retailing: DHL classifies omni-channel retailing as both shopping across two more channels and the integration of the brick-and-mortar and Internet channels. PwC data indicates 65% of U.S. consumers shop using two or more channels and 21% shop using five or more channels.
Entertaining Commerce: Retailers will increasingly include entertaining elements in their omni-channel customer experience to heighten customer engagement and brand loyalty, a practice known as gamification. Gartner Research projects that more than 70% of the world’s 2,000 largest companies will have at least one game-based application by next year.
Custom-Tailored Shopping: E‑commerce platforms are increasingly personalizing communication and pricing systems as well as recommendations and product pre-selections. This type of customization can help boost purchase frequency by 100% and average order value by 50% according to a recent marketing study from MyBuy.
Data Protection: The U.S. lacks formal regulations governing the security of electronically transmitted personal data, but the government released recommended guidelines in 2012 and consumer awareness of data protection and security issues has grown significantly in recent years.
Intelligent Interfaces: In addition to a growing number of digital interfaces for e‑commerce, such as Google Glass, e‑commerce interfaces will also keep getting more intelligent. This includes features such as voice and gesture recognition, smart sensors and augmented reality.
New Payment Concepts: The use of traditional credit cards for e‑commerce payments will continue decreasing as use of virtual alternative payments such as PayPal and digital currencies such as Bitcoin continues growing. Javelin forecasts that virtual alternative payments will total $87 billion in 2015 compared to $43 billion in 2010.
Flexible Delivery: Flexible delivery options such as same-day and same-hour deliveries, deliveries within specific time windows and private locker boxes at residential homes are all expected to grow substantially, driven by 18-to-34-year-olds.[Source: "The Future of E‑commerce in the U.S." Deutsche Post DHL. Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Aug. 2013.]