With each day that passes, technology continues to evolve, and become more innovative, slowly changing the landscape of human life. These technological advances also have certain implications for the world of eCommerce. As we look toward the future of the online business world, there are a few practices that are rising in popularity and ideas that are moving closer to becoming a reality. It is quite possible that the future of eCommerce is heading in the direction of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality. Some businesses have already taken steps toward such practices, but the future may very likely go on to prove that this technology can be integrated into all of the most popular eCommerce businesses. The most innovative practices occurring today prove how the eCommerce landscape is changing greatly and offers a glimpse at the future.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
In today’s world, virtual reality is mostly discussed in the world of gaming and video viewing. But virtual reality is becoming a possibility in the world of eCommerce as well. eBay partnered with the Australian retailer Myer to create the world’s first “virtual reality department store.” This VR store allowed users to shop through Myer’s products from anywhere, while viewing the products and their information right before their eyes. Powered by headsets, the VR experience sets up products on a map with connecting lines. Consumers can then reject products that they don’t like so that the technology better understands their product preferences, and offers better suggestions. More than just a “cool” innovation, this technology will be able to help businesses better understand how their customers think, while offering a technologically advanced experience. It is likely that many follow in eBay’s footsteps. And if virtual reality can be utilized in eCommerce, why not augmented reality too?
Augmented reality differs from virtual reality as it offers a live view of a physical setting with it’s elements augmented thanks to the help of computer-generated sensory input. Augmented reality will play a role in the future of eCommerce, and has already been integrated into it thanks to companies like Amazon. Amazon has included some AR techniques into their mobile application that allows users to test products virtually against the physical view of their home. Although the current state of the AR technology on the app is very basic, it is clear that this is only the first step in a potentially huge future for AR in eCommerce. It is said that people will be able to try on clothing in an augmented reality setting, which would greatly change consumers’ outlook on eCommerce.
Visual Search Technology
A big innovation in eCommerce as of late has been the introduction of visual search technology. This technology allows consumers to hold their smartphone up to a product in order to be linked to the product’s purchase page instantaneously. This is another feature that is included on Amazon’s mobile app. Users can point their phone’s camera at an object and the app will identify it in seconds. This makes product searching much easier for consumers. Further innovations to this technology have been utilized recently.
Tommy Hilfiger took this technology and made it even more useful. At a recent fashion show, he employed the technology to identify not only certain pieces of clothing, but entire outfits at once. Developed by Slyce, a recognition software company, the Tommy Hilfiger partnership technology allowed guests at his show to use an app to quickly identify and purchase outfits seen right in front of them on the runway.
Vocal Recognition Software
Customers are now able to buy products simply by talking. Amazon’s “Echo,” the home of a personal home assistant called Alexa, allows it’s users to make purchases directly through Amazon just by using their voice. People can tell Alexa to purchase a specific item for them. The device will then repeat the item’s name and give you a price and delivery information. You can then confirm or cancel the order. To prevent anyone in your home from buying, you can protect vocal purchases with a password. This technology is changing the way people buy products and will continue to expand beyond just Amazon.
The Future is Now
All of these technologies of the “future” are being utilized right now by eCommerce companies. But the current uses imply a greater involvement of them in the future, with large improvements and advances in how the technologies can be used. The larger eCommerce companies will continue to lead and innovate, while smaller businesses will have the chance to incorporate the current advancements that have been discussed. The future of eCommerce will be exciting and will offer consumers new ways to shop.
What You Can Do
Are you interested in implementing one of these technologies into your eCommerce website? It’s easier than you may think. In fact, you can include voice recognition technology into your website with a few lines of code. Just copy the following code into your eCommerce site:
<form method=”get” action=”http://www.google.com/search”>
<input type=”text” name=”q” size=”30″ x-webkit-speech />
<input type=”submit” value=”Google Search” />
That’s it! Now you have vocal search capabilities on your eCommerce site and you are one step closer to the future of eCommerce.