E-commerce in future: evolution of on-line trade

How will on-line business function in few years? Once it has started with small on-line shops but nowadays people are attracted with absolutely new formats of on-line trade. Digital environment dictates new trends, depending on technology development and human behavior. This world changes both off-line and on-line. So business' task is to adapt on time to new formats of e-commerce, think two steps ahead. In this article we will learn about the history of e-commerce and that tendencies will be actual in the near future.

In the beginning was the pizza: appearance of trade on-line services

They say, the first step in Internet harness of B2C format was made by Jeff Bezos. Let’s not diminish his merits, but he was the second. In year 1994 international pizza restaurant chain Pizza Hut launched on-line service for pizza order — PizzaNet, in Santa Cruz, California. Person had to select pizza on web-site, leave one's phone number and address and then wait for delivery. Of course, it was impossible to pay on-line, but payment on delivery system is still actively used nowadays. So the first product sold on-line was pizza!

Jeff Bezos created more complex model of on-line trade — on-line shop. Amazon.com was launched in 1995, with development investment of $300 000. In year 2019 the cost of Amazon was around $790 billion. Assortment of Bezos's on-line shop was mainly books. Then CDs, films on VHS, video games, software, clothes, furniture, toys were added. Bezos detected the trend and quickly found a place at the market.

The end of 1990s — eBay, Apple Store, first electronic debit payment sysytem NetCash, WebMoney, Alibaba Group came into existence. First Russian on-line store appeared in 1994 as well. It was bookstore Books.ru, that still functions nowadays.

On-line shop advantages

To put it simple: on-line stores are convenient. They are convenient for buyers, they are convenient for sellers. Digital world has fewer barriers for fast deal, however exotic or multilevel they can be. Business and buyers understood quickly the advantages and benefits of on-line trade. All these have provided a powerful impetus to further on-line B2C trade development, and later — for B2B as well.

E-commerce: advantages for buyers

  • Personalization. Personal account with purchase history, discounts and recommendations
  • Speed deal. No need to waste time on visiting shop to order and deliver products
  • Large assortment. Marketplaces strive for universal assortment formation so that customer can buy at the same web-site anything from touristic tent to luxury watch
  • Economy. On-line store reduces the expenses, no need to keep off-line stores and hire employees. So it is cheaper to buy on-line

E-commerce: advantages for business

  • Loss decrease. On-line store is open 24/365 Large audience is encompassed. Moscow on-line store can process the orders from London, Singapore without being there in fact
  • Supply optimization. Simplification of few sellers supply algorithm without transfers between trade spots
  • Increase of deals. On-line order can take few minutes only
  • Qualitative target audience segmentation. Business gets the access to information about clients and use it to increase the sales.

Sales move to social nets and messengers

We guess you might remember ICQ? First full-fledged messenger with free access via Internet was created in 1995 in Israel and was very popular to 2010s. Social nets have appeared at the same time as on-line shops, also in USA:

  • Classmates.ru
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Live Journal

Russian spaces for virtual communication VK.com and Odnoklassniki were created on base of American ones, and were widely recognized by the public. Idea of sales via social net is simple and effective. Business comes to the platform where the target audience abides. No need to start the web-site, look for advertisement agencies, distribute flyers with discounts. Social nets provide the tools for new product launch, advertising, dispatch, direct communication with clients and even money transfers.

Social nets know that business attracts new members and hold the users. That is why VK and Odnoklassniki develop business-tools of B2C segment, transforming the communication platform to mighty retail space.

Sales via messengers cannot be called pure e-commerse. Messenger is used as the communication channel between seller and buyer: ask question, send bank information or photo of the pachage. It allows structuring the communication with clients, make it operative and leave inconvenient on-line chats. At the same time there are public groups that sell used things, services and educational programmes in Telegram. WhatsApp still stays the messenger for personal correspondence.

Business in Instagram. Surge of mobile commerce

We do not know if Instagram creators counted on success among business community but nowadays this service for pictures and videos exchange has become the most popular trade service if we consider mobile traffic. Instagram has desktop version but it is very inconvenient and the functionality is limited. Instagram web-site did not elaborate like mobile application. Perhaps, Facebook will drop the desktop version in the future as it is visited many times fewer than the mobile application.

From the start Instagram service was created as mobile application. It is very factor of its fantastic popularity among both users and retail. Why is it more profitable nowadays to sell in Instagram than in landing page or on-line store?

  • Business works with on-line traffic that has exceeded the desktop one long time ago
  • It is ready-made platform that needs no modification or customization
  • Business has special features, like segmentation by types and spheres of activity. That allows more precise presenting company to client
  • It is international social net, that helps to expand the sales

One can argue that VK.com has the same features, excluding maybe international audience. Yes, now VK developed business account, adapted the platform for mobile devices. Apart from that, it has cahtbots, SEO-optimization, ability to enable extra services from 1С-Bitrix to InSales. VK has even launched the payment feature VK Pay, while Facebook tests such service for Instagram.

But social net VK was created for communication and Instagram — for photos and videos. It is more effective to show the product than tell about it. Via Instagram, you can successfully do indirect marketing: create attractive page templates with goods and designed interface. It affects the brand perception and allows better understanding what, how and for whom the shop sells. Seeing is believing. Or reading. One more fact: in year 2019 audience of Instagram has reached 1 billion users per month worldwide. VK is visited by 97 million users per month, from Russia and countries of ex-USSR. That is why Instagram is full-fledged on-line showcase for the shops, with effective tools for promotion via just mobile traffic.

Mobile applications for business — the presence and the past of e-commerce

Share of mobile traffic has grown in 2017-2019 on 30%. In year 2019, 60% of Internet users communicated, made purchase, looked for information via smartphone. Researchers predict further increase of mobile traffic and decrease of desktop traffic. It is reasonable: boundaries blur, people become mobile, the need for fast search of information grows. Mobile applications become the main communication channel for both B2C and B2B segments. Let us see what applications megalopolis citizens install:

  • one or two banks
  • few taxi services
  • favourite on-line stores
  • messengers
  • social nets
  • fitness and health
  • games
  • apps for work
  • services for traveling, translators

For that reason the business whose aim is the long term development, bonds with customer and launches own mobile application for on-line sales and indirect marketing.

Mobile application for loyalty programme

Loyalty programmes develop as well. People are attracted by fast and convenient applications with discounts and shop catalogs in smartphone. Mobile application for loyalty programme is the flexible customized tool that allows more effective working with customer loyalty and business promotion expenses decrease.

We have developed VDcards platform for all stages of loyalty programme in customer smartphone:

  • setting, script selection, gamification
  • instant launch of electronic bonus cards
  • launch of loyalty programme on mobile devices. Application is available to download and install on iOS and Android
  • launch of push-dispatch with promotions and discounts
  • on-line monitoring of statistics, reports and download of data on electronic discount cards holders
  • promotional materials in mobile application: coupons, commercials, catalogs

You can select the standard rate or build the individual solution from the modules. The options of mobile application branding and loyalty programme are available as well. Our clients use VDcards platform for work with segments of B2C, suppliers, partners, agents. Customer loyalty increase with mobile loyalty programme is timely investment in business development and smart usage of mobile traffic for sales increase.

Launch VDcards platform for free. We provide two weeks of DEMO-access and consultations on loyalty programme setting. Register yourself or contact us any convenient way:

Mobile application VDcards — modern business-tool for direct communication with clients and brand target audience loyalty increase.

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