The future of ecommerce and retail: Study shows how internet will change everything

A white paper released by Plusnet advises start-ups and small businesses on how they can prepare to service the customers of the future via use of AI

The not-so-distant future will see consumers ‘shop till they drop’ using virtual reality (VR) from the comfort of their own homes, as retailers are being urged to prepare their business for big changes in the coming years.

A new whitepaper from Plusnet entitled How the future will influence retail gathers experts from the retail and start-up space to make detailed predictions on how the Internet of Things (IoT), geolocation, AI, web design and ecommerce will change and evolve.

Highlighting seven areas start-ups and small businesses should be thinking about, business owners would be best advised to get with the times, or risk losing out to competitors…

7 ways the internet will change the future of retail and ecommerce

  • Business websites: With every business now firmly expected to have some form of an online presence, entrepreneurs should always be on the look out to see how they can make their website as immersive and ambitious as possible. Improved connectivity and broadband speeds in the coming future should help with this vision.
  • Site speed: As general internet speeds will increase across the board, optimising site speed will continue to be a vital consideration for online retailers to ensure rises in conversion rates – business owners should ensure they don’t fall behind.
  • Shoppers will stay at home: Trips to the supermarket will become less physical and more virtual, as more and more consumers will expect to be able to order goods via smart appliances from their own home. Out of coffee? Simply tap a button on your coffee jar and hey presto, its ordered.
  • Personalise the in-store experience: While shops can reasonably expect fewer customers, those that do make the effort will expect a personalised in-store shopping experience. Shopkeepers should make sure to embrace digital innovation and continuously ask customers for their feedback and suggestions.
  • Virtual reality: Consumers will be able to try on items of clothing and other products before they buy them with VR, 3D printing, and augmented reality innovation across ecommerce sites. Make sure your business follows suit. Clothing brands and fashtechs will be some of the first to invest in virtual reality and augmented reality, so make sure your fashion business is ready.
  •  The rise of geotech: Retailers will be able to serve personalised promotions to customers based on their likes, dislikes, and geographical location using AI and geolocation technology. So, what are you waiting for?

Al Allaway, CEO of CAB Studios, said:

“Innovation is lacking a little in this area – all ecommerce looks the same on the whole nowadays.

“VR offers up the opportunity to take that to the next level, where in your house you could try on those trainers and actually look at yourself in them – potentially even download and print a 3D mould toensure the comfort and shape is to your liking.

“All this before you press the button, and have it all delivered to your house within the hour.”

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Michael Lewis, founder CEO of RoomSignal, said:

“Stores will be intelligent, able to predict shopping patterns, and control advertising and supply chains simply due to data science and interconnectivity.

“In fact, while everyone beats the drum of retail’s demise, I see a different future. For at least two generations more, teens will be able to go to the malls because self-driving cars can take them there.

“This means more foot traffic for retailers that are operating more efficiently and squeezing more revenue out of their margins.”