(R)ETAIL (R)EVOLUTION – Part 3: E(asy)-Commerce

In a continuation from last week’s post: Part 2 – (M)etail, the (R)ETAIL (R)EVOLUTION is a phenomenal trends report that was put out by Trendwatching.com. Today I’ll be covering Part 3: E(asy)-Commerce.

Related: Part 1: E is EverywherePart 2: (M)etail

It was once thought that many basic products such as clothes, shoes, furniture, and groceries, could not be sold online. Now it seems as if everything and anything can be sold online. With eCommerce getting smarter, more user friendly and technologically advanced, it’s getting easier to sell virtually anything online.

Will It Fit?

One of the biggest deterrents about buying form fitting products online (clothing, shoes, etc) is that they might not fit. People might ask themselves “Why would I want to buy something online that might not fit me, when I can just go to the physical store and get the assurance that it fits, right there and then?” This is a great question, and it was definitely a major risk for consumers with eCommerce. Many online retailers have tried to overcome this risk with free returns or an easy return policy. However, with the advancement of eCommerce many of these risks or problems have decreased and consumer confidence has risen.

For example, in Berlin, UPcload lets shoppers use their webcams while holding a CD to develop a size profile. This is then turned into a UPcload ID that can be used when shopping for clothing at any online store belonging to their network. It’s gathered some pretty great reviews from Spiegel Online, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg Newsweek. In fact North Face is even going to trial the system in the US. Another company helping to decrease anxiety when buying clothing online is the UK based Bodymetrics and its LivingRoom product. This product uses body metrics to turn your living room into your personal fitting room using PrimeSense 3D technology, it is able to map a user’s body using Kinect-like 3D sensors. “When attached to a TV, shoppers can virtually ‘try on’ clothes and see how they will fit on their body shape.”

A great example where eCommerce wins big over physical stores, is when you want to decorate your home, but can’t quite picture what the decorations would look like while you’re in the store. Zazzle, an American company has developed a great solution to help consumers visualize how prints and artwork would look in their own home with Realview. By simply adding the software on your computer, choosing a decoration element and uploading a photo of your home, you can see (in your own home) if the decor works well with your home or not!

These are just some of the many initiatives to help encourage consumers to buy products, that they would prefer to buy in stores, online. With these advancements in eCommerce it will help to push the boundaries of where eCommerce can go, and how easily any product can be bought or sold online.

Delivery: I want it NOW!

Growing up in a technology-filled world, running our lives online at the speed, we expect things to be done quickly. We want everything now, whether we’re downloading something online, searching for the right information, or getting a package in the mail. We want it now. Shipping and delivery is an obvious key component to the eCommerce revolution, but what is being done to increase its efficiency? Well I’m glad you asked….

The UK company Shutl, offers deliveries in as little time as 90 minutes across the majority of the UK. They partnered with Maplin, an electronics retailer, in March of 2012 to delivery in over 40 cities quickly and efficiently. For customers in China an Italian fashion e-tailer Yoox has an enhanced delivery system where they have a partnership with FedEx, and the employees are expected to wait at a customers house while they evaluate their purchases, try them on and decide whether or not they wish to keep or return them! Crazy! With faster delivery times, and the ability to return a product with the delivery man will definitely help to ease the anxiety some consumers have when shopping online.

Advancements and the boom in eCommerce around the world is helping retailers change for the better. With less worry about whether or not your product will satisfy or how quickly your package will be delivered, eCommerce is truly becoming e(asy)-Commerce as well as transforming the buying process and user experience online!

*Source: www.trendwatching.com. One of the world’s leading trend firms, trendwatching.com sends out its free, monthly Trend Briefings to more than 160,000 subscribers worldwide.