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Recent Transformations In E-Commerce

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Tarun Bali, Head-IT, The Body Shop

Tarun Bali, Head-IT, The Body Shop

Tarun has over 19 Years of rich experience in managing IT landscapes in Automobile Component Manufacturing, Wholesale, Retail Channels, e-Commerce, Digital Transformation, IT Infrastructure Planning, CRM, Retail & Distribution, Networks, RF, MPLS, VPN, and many other areas.

E-commerce business is gradually redefining to Omni commerce as most of the single channel player are thinking or already changed their gears towards single to multichannel business strategy covering different geography and demography with seamless physical experience everywhere anytime or as per customer choice. Though trends will not change drastically but the trends will improvised with corrections on analytics, targeted marketing, personalization, data protections and data securities. Technology advances will be more on 360 degree customer profiling with actionable insights, right time right place marketing, process automation, VR/AR engagement tools offering and empowering customers with deeper knowledge on products and services.

Omnichannel Tech Continues
Focus of every business is now becoming omnicommerce enterprise in Loyalty, CRM, Shopping, Marketing, Social listening, supply chain. Last year trends by definition are now becoming reality since lot of enterprises are in middle of executing and carry forwarding customer centric strategies since most of them last year faced execution challenges for one or more reasons.

Instore technology like geofencing, targeted promotions and in-store Wi-Fi/apps will be the reality now due to the major developments of IoT, 4G solutions and it should be connected with e-Commerce.

Technologists who are ready to be reshaped will be surviving and leading the space only if they keep their direction on building omnichannel solutions rather being specific to single channel experts. It can market automation, Point of Sales, Payment solutions, Supply chain apps, ERP’s & Loyalty engines.

Anticipatory Shipping & Deliver Anytime
Solutions are being built on anticipatory orders based on wish list, preorder booking so that forecasting system can be optimized and refreshed on known customer demands and products can be manufactured & delivered in time to the nearest fulfillment centers before actual order takes place.

Smart Parcel/Delivery box are adding good flavors to convenient deliveries. No more restriction on time bound availability of customers. This is also helping travelers to collect consignment right after reaching to their destination transits.

Analytics & Actionable Insights
Last year was trail year of building multichannel model and multichannel touch experience but actual translation of omnichannel strategy will going to happen this year.
Cross platform analytics will be key focus area and deep driving into customer journey across channels to offer best and relevant promotions needs to be derived and balance has to maintain between Retail and e-Commerce without overlapping into the profit centers. Retargeted marketing platforms will be thriving to enroll new customers, retain existing customers who are any point of time touched and interacted with Brands. Post purchase interactions tool will also be the key focus to convert one timer to subscribed customers.

Knowledge Base
Business is not about only selling product it has to value adds contents and impactful message via Social media, blogs, in store engagement tools about Brands, products and CSR’s. In-store & online knowledge base data repository storage and search engines will be the key driver to increase and connect customer base using Mobile apps, instore Kiosk and other engagement tools. Voice guided and reverse image search engines will trendsetters for company success.

VR/AR Continues
More and more business will adopt VR/AR technologies as customer wants product preview virtually before taking buying decisions. Self assisted InStore KIOSK and virtual apps solutions will impact the buying behaviour. Gamification for customer engagement will also be booming this year to keep always in touch with customers not for purpose of buying but to keep long term relationship .Customer loyalty tech will further improved over value added services.

Customer Voice & Feedback Tech
Customer satisfaction and post purchase conversion is very critical for the business to become customer centric. This requires one central data repository for Voice, email, chatbots, Social listening to recognise and identify customer voice proactively in time. It is very easy to make dissatisfied customer loyal if handled with almost care and by recognising his sentiments using AI driven tools. Every single voice lost will be loss of one potential customer.

Blockchain
Blockchain technology is a best fit for e-Commerce, since they are designed for storing and retrieving huge transactional data transparently. This tech being used for faster payment processing using crypto currencies since level of authentication reduced drastically from traditional transactional authentication steps. It also offers balance speed, accuracy, privacy and data integrity. Blockchain powered e-Commerce platforms can record every activity steps in chunks of blocks and even third party apps can perform action consistent transaction on same set of blocks. So trust and transparency in the established parties cannot be breached since it works on data distribution model and any one failure cannot impact the integrity of data.

Data Security & Protection
Cloud data protection using encryption keys, tokenisation on sensitive data, Big data encryption tool will redefine the way we store and govern data. Consent & data subject right tools, data privacy management tools, data discovering and data classification tools, application level encryption will the key strategy of every enterprise in 2019.

Conclusion
e-Commerce definition is persistently correcting & shifting tracks since new technology pushes and rising customer expectations on shopping experience and data security concerns. On time adaptation will help brands to take early advantage to remain viable, consistent, and customer centric. Year 2019 is going to be a best year for omnicommerce, and brands shouldn’t wait now otherwise they will lose grounds.