This is a guest post by Emma Vasar who is a finance expert whose passion for small business led to the creation of her merchant account blog. Get more tips and advice for small business, e-commerce, and much more here!
Ecommerce has changed the world, yet there are many ways in which it’s still not living up to its potential. There are a number of emerging technologies that promise to dramatically change the landscape, and offer even more options for both businesses and consumers.
Let’s take a look at some of these emerging technologies, and think a little bit about how they’ll impact the way forward:
The proliferation of smartphones and tablets poses some interesting challenges to ecommerce. Simply offering customers a web portal through which to buy products is no longer sufficient. Some experts suggest that, within just two years, more users will use mobile devices as their primary method of Internet access than use desktops.
Accordingly, there are ecommerce solutions appearing to address this phenomenon. GPS-based options, for example, can allow a given portal to offer products specific to a geographic location. When combined with SMS or email marketing campaigns, mobile ecommerce sites are about to be integral to any successful ecommerce strategy.
Collaboration and pass-thru portals.
One of the ecommerce advances that are going to become very apparent among larger ecommerce retailers is the ability to collaboratively offer solutions to customers. This includes not only things such as retailers populating their ecommerce site with live data provided by wholesalers, but also partnered businesses sharing web portal space, trading content with one another using XML or other languages that allow pages to be displayed across various systems.
Ecommerce kiosks in the retail space.
Smart in-store kiosks will grow into more than simply information portals. They’ll be used to make actual purchases and perform transactions.
These kiosks don’t even need to be housed in a specific retail location. An ATM, for example, could be used for a loan application. A kiosk for an electronics retailer could be located inside the local grocery store, offering customers a whole new line of products. The products could be shipped directly to the customer’s home, or they could be shipped to the store at a faster and cheaper rate.
This technology is already being implemented in the form of both Redbox and now Blockbuster video rental kiosks.
More ecommerce products.
We’ve seen this already in the form of MP3s, streaming and downloadable video, and eBooks. We’re to the place already where old media is becoming something of a relic. Sure, there will probably always be a place in the publishing world for gorgeous collectors’ item hardcovers and quality trade paperbacks; but you can bet that the books themselves will also be available digitally.
There are other products that, while they still require physical delivery, are becoming good candidates for ecommerce. Some analysts have predicted that 2012 will, overall, be a disastrous year for the retail sector as more and more goods go digital and/or are sold via ecommerce.
What does this mean for the marketplace? There’s no better time than now to make a move in ecommerce. The key to success is keeping up with these technologies and trends, and making sure you’re getting your marketing message out to every potential customer.