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What Comes Next for Ecommerce and Digital Retail

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By Naveen Venkatesh, Sr. Director – Technology, Lowe’s India

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, once said, “Change is the only constant in life.”

Covid-19 has taken the comprehension of change beyond any of our imaginations. While several organizations have gone defunct, many have flourished as well, and some are struggling to keep up with the changing landscape. Life, as we knew, has changed upside down.

The current pandemic situation has all but accelerated the adoption of many existing and new eCommerce trends – some of the top ones being digital payments, voice search, social commerce, and AR & VR.

Contactless payments have seen a significant uptick. As the transactions get full digital, we will start seeing transparency in those transactions with the help of blockchain, especially in the B2B space.

Voice search is going to continue growing with the widespread adoption of smart speakers and virtual assistants literally integrated with everything. About 40% of smartphone owners use the technology to shop; 25% of mobile queries are currently done with voice search. Voice shopping is expected to reach $40 Billion in the U.S. by 2022.

Social commerce, native storefronts on social media platforms provide users with a convenient and personalized shopping experience. Users would prefer to shop from one space rather than visiting different websites or mobile apps. Facebook shops and Shopify are some of the players making inroads in this space. Integration with Facebook shops provides businesses access to users on both Facebook and Instagram, allowing them to reach billions of consumers in no time.

Applications of Augmented reality and Virtual reality have come a long way, especially in retail. Product visualization, in-store navigation, and virtual product trials are some of the top ones. Imagine the power of visualizing your backyard oasis using a mobile camera without buying a single product. V-commerce will soon be a reality as organizations make significant investments in building their digital shopping experience with integrated AR & VR.

There are many such trends coupled with Covid-19 driving significant e-commerce growth. If anything to go by, Moody’s predicts a 25% increase in YOY e-commerce penetration for the next five years, and there has been a 100% increase in YOY eCommerce orders in the U.S. already.

Omnipresence is critical for organizations to cashing on this wave of eCommerce adoption, which, believe it or not, is here to stay. Retailers who are ready to acquire, engage, and retain customers through all digital touchpoints, including physical stores, will win hands down.

If you are a retailer, there cannot be a better time to serve your customers with endless possibilities. Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride.

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