Square to Acquire Weebly

eCommerce flows through every market possible, and that only seems to be snowballing. Square Inc. is a company that performs an oddity within all markets: massive success primarily through brick-and-mortar businesses. That’s quite an impressive feat, but it makes sense! This new form of payment brings the digital world to business and personal transactions in a way that other similar platforms have simply failed to do.

Square announced last week that they had “entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Weebly,” paying “a mix of cash and stock of approximately $365 million.” Square is already an impressively lucrative business, and this is a big move that business owners should pay attention to. Weebly offers a website platform filled with pre-made templates that allow businesses to create a better-made website, and free and premium plans offered, it’s quite popular. In fact, Weebly touts itself as being the “highest rated website building mobile app in the App Store and Google Play.” That’s no joke of a purchase!

Competition in the Market for Cheap eCommerce Platforms

What does this mean for eCommerce? The intention is to allow merchants to create an omnichannel business in which the combined tactics of Square and Weebly will be utilized. Once again, brick and mortar and eCommerce matchup in a huge way; this promises to become a pivotal platform for business owners everywhere. With Square’s customer base expanding through Weebly’s efforts, and Square’s incredible software flowing into Weebly’s typical services, global expansion is on its way.

This isn’t the first time that Square has delved into other markets; the acquisition of Caviar and Zesty come to mind. Weebly has been honing its sights on small businesses and eCommerce while maintaining the intuitive platform for individual use. One of Weebly’s few competent competitors? Ironically, Squarespace. Luckily, Square offers the potential for Weebly that Squarespace may not be able to keep up with.

Is Weebly Right For You?

Although Weebly may come off as a savior for those who are on a low budget, it isn’t a place to remain. Weebly offers a simple interface and intuitive user experience to those who cannot build their own website or small businesses that do not have the funds to start up. Once these funds are acquired, however, it is imperative to a business’s success to move to a better platform.

If you’re thinking about making the switch from your Weebly site, it’s time to consider what BigCommerce, Shopify, Volusion, Magento, and plenty of other better eCommerce platforms could do for you. Need help finding one? Stay tuned to Genius eCommerce for a thorough explanation of the benefits and downsides of each eCommerce platform!

The Virtual Reality of eCommerce

eCommerce is growing rapidly, resulting in the closing of a number of brick-and-mortar stores. It seems that the future of shopping is almost entirely online as eCommerce sales in the US soar into the trillions. One drawback to eCommerce shopping is the lack of an in-store experience. Online shopping does not allow for interaction with and trial of a product. Or does it? In order to work past this roadblock, several big name companies have been working to develop technology that takes online shopping to the next level. The answer to the problem lies in virtual reality. With VR technology, customers have the ability to feel as if they are in a physical store location. They are also able to interact with 3D models of products similar to how you are able to in real life. Although widespread eCommerce VR implementation is farther off, businesses have already begun testing virtual reality shopping worlds.

 

Alibaba Takes Strides

Recently, Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba revealed their VR shopping model. In November 2016, at their Singles Day shopping festival, they allowed consumers to try their Buy+ virtual shopping experience. The technology allowed its users to travel through a virtual land that began with a taxi ride through New York City before being dropped off at the Macy’s store. In the store, consumers were able to interact with employees and browse through a number of products. They could purchase items right then and there, without taking the headset off. This is exactly how the eCommerce platform’s lack of in-store experience is overcome.

This technology is truly remarkable, allowing consumers to step directly into a realistic shopping world without moving their feet. Whether that scares you or excites you, you have to admit it’s pretty impressive. It draws the question of what eCommerce will look like five to ten years from now. Will people be sitting in their homes with headsets on, simulating an in-store shopping experience? It’s hard to say. It’s safe to assume that some people will be, but it may take longer for the practice to have a widespread effect as many consumers still prefer real in-store shopping rather than virtual in-store shopping. Either way, the hurtle of less personal shopping experiences online is being jumped.

 

Further Developments

Leap Motion, a company that focuses on hand-tracking technology, has made further steps toward a more realistic shopping experience online. They are developing hand-tracking technology that will allow users to interact with the elements of VR with their hands. This technology is designed to recognize hand movements and to parallel these movements in the VR world. For online shopping, this technology would allow consumers to interact with eCommerce VR products like never before, enabling them to swipe through and pick up items with just a couple movements of their hand.

Technology company Avametric and Google teamed up to create a virtual reality dressing room for Gap. Housed within an app they appropriately called DressingRoom, the VR experience allows users to see what Gap clothing products will look like on them. The app does so by having users choose their body type and then shows them a mannequin that represents their body, shown “in front of them” using the phone’s camera. They can then try on different sizes of a number of Gap clothing items to see how each size and product looks and fits on their body type.

eCommerce VR and the Future

It clearly seems that eCommerce is heading closer and closer toward incorporating the world of virtual reality in business. It is only a matter of time until the virtual reality shopping worlds and dressing rooms created by the likes of Alibaba and Gap are fine-tuned, perfected, and released to the world on a mass scale. This addition of virtual reality worlds in the eCommerce environment will allow for more personal shopping experiences online, including being able to “hold” and “try on” products and clothing before buying it. These advancements will elevate the already-booming business of eCommerce to even higher levels, minus the obstacles that keep some people from online shopping. But will the introduction of eCommerce VR create problems of its own? Probably, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Innovations That Will Lead to the Future of eCommerce

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?

The world of eCommerce is becoming more interested in increasing customer experiences through virtual reality.

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.

Voice recognition technology is on the rise and has become a player in the world of eCommerce.

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:

<html>
<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” />
</form>
</html>

That’s it! Now you have vocal search capabilities on your eCommerce site and you are one step closer to the future of eCommerce.