E-Commerce Smart Stores Digital Technologies

The way of work is changing… Not just e-commerce, not stores, not only income source technologies for digital are advancing alone. Metaverse and NFT are also included in this dimension. In fact, they all form a magic triangle that begins to work together. There is great convergence. The tip of this triangle also points to cloud technologies. All of them strive to make the customer experience perfect.

According to BCC Research’s Smart Retail research, one of the latest studies, the global smart store market is estimated to reach $68.8 billion in 2026, from $22.6 billion in 2021, with an annual average growth of 25 percent. Smart store technologies encompass many applications focused on customer experience such as smart test booths, electronic tags, smart vending machines, smart mirrors and virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) tours.

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In terms of technology, in the market; We observe that applications such as artificial intelligence, IoT, AR/VR, robotics and analytics are at the forefront. Especially IoT technology is especially used in applications such as smart stock systems, digital labels and smart shelves.

We can summarize some of the prominent global applications for in-store technologies as follows: It can be said that Nike’s “speed shop” is leading the “showroom” trend. Customers can try the products they have booked online in the store. Reserved items are stored in personalized lockers that customers can unlock with their phones. A mobile payment option is also available so that customers don’t have to wait in line.

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According to Euromonitor’s retail industry research, technologies that provide “no payment” checkout are among the most in-demand store experiences. In Amazon Go stores; It provides automation of payment processes with computer vision, deep learning and sensor fusion technologies. After entering the store and purchasing the products, customers can leave the store without waiting in line or making any manual payment, thanks to the “just walk out” technology. With this method, the payment is automatically collected through the Amazon Go application.

The “boutique of the future”, which was implemented by Chanel in its flagship store in Paris before the pandemic, is among the pioneering applications for in-store technologies. The sales consultant in the store can see who the customer is and their wish list through an app linked to the app on the customer’s phone. Thus, when the customer makes an appointment to come to the store, all the products on the wish list are ready in the trial cabinet. AR-powered mirrors in the trial booth also show the stylist’s complementary suggestions based on the products the customer has tried.

By pioneering the digitalization trend in the automotive industry, Audi implemented a VR application that allows its customers to examine the interior and exterior design of cars in all realistic details in its global showrooms. In this way, customers have a more dynamic and interactive shopping experience with virtual reality applications.

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E-commerce technologies

It is estimated that the global e-commerce volume will reach $4.9 trillion in 2021 and will exceed $5 trillion in 2022. According to eMarketer’s estimates, global e-commerce volume is expected to surpass $7 trillion by 2025.

When examining how technology changes the online shopping experience, the use of cloud applications to improve website performance is at the top of the list. Cloud apps also provide support for improving the omnichannel experience. Cloud technologies are followed by the artificial intelligence-supported development and personalization of the search engine and customer relations.

When we look at the trends in e-commerce, the “click-to-buy” application has been spreading for the past five years. “Dropshipping“, which is on the rise among e-commerce trends, is supported by online platforms with the market volume it creates by allowing people who want to do e-commerce to sell from e-commerce sites without stocking up on any product.

While artificial intelligence enables more comprehensive personalization in retail, which develops with new technology trends, augmented reality (AR) technologies come to the fore to support more product discovery. In this direction, although AR/VR applications have not yet reached the end consumers to a large extent, we observe that commercial uses have come to life. According to the results of Voice of Consumer surveys, when we look at the use of AR/VR technologies in e-commerce, it is observed that in 2021, consumers are mostly used for previewing a holiday area and shopping for household goods.

IKEA Place, which is one of the most important breakthroughs in the use of AR / VR technologies in the sector, has been implemented in 2017 and offers the opportunity to test real-size three-dimensional products by scaling them according to the size of the room.

Other uses for AR/VR; trying on clothes, visiting the hotel room, trying on make-up products. An example of this is Zara’s “virtual trial” feature when it launches makeup products in 2021.

METAVERSE TECHNOLOGIES IN E-COMMERCE

Metaverse is one of the most popular agenda items in e-commerce. Companies’ metaverse strategies currently focus mostly on promoting brand equity. According to the results of Voice of Industry surveys, when industry professionals are asked how AR/VR applications will affect e-commerce in the next five years, the expectation for the creation of virtual showrooms comes first, followed by the adaptation of the physical experience to the online environment.

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Recently, Nike has collaborated with the online gaming platform Roblox to create a virtual world, and in line with this collaboration, users will be able to dress their avatars in Nike branded clothing in “Nikeland”. As Metaverse technologies find their place at the forefront, both small-scale and large brands continue to explore how they can turn this business into a source of income. While it is said that Nikeland will be free when it comes to life; This platform is also expected to be an ideal platform for testing new products. The global luxury goods market is estimated to grow from $309 billion in 2021 to $382 billion in 2025. The online segment in luxury consumption accounted for around 12 percent of total sales in 2021 and is expected to reach 14 percent by 2023.

While digitalization, which has accelerated with the pandemic, is felt in almost every category of retail, there is a somewhat contradictory situation in the luxury consumer goods segment. While traditional luxury focuses on “privilege” and “rare access”; Technology makes products accessible to everyone. While maintaining the basic brand values ​​of luxury brands; On the other hand, it is critical for them to develop strategies that will enable them to take advantage of new digital opportunities in the most efficient way. At this stage, luxury brands that can bring the online shopping experience closer to the physical shopping experience by using digital channels, and even digitalize the physical shopping experience, will be ahead of the competition. Benefiting from advanced data and analytics technologies, brands develop better insights into their customers,

“Metaverse” opens the doors to a new world for luxury consumption

Another area that offers a very serious growth opportunity in the luxury consumption sector is the “metaverse”. Industry analysts predict that demand for luxury goods in the metaverse could reach $50 billion by 2030. 58 percent of the respondents in the luxury consumer survey conducted by KPMG with approximately 1000 people are familiar with the metaverse platform and 1 out of every 2 people surveyed states that they can purchase a virtual product. Luxury brands can be expected to leverage digital products and services to generate new revenue streams, test innovative products, increase loyalty from existing customers, and gain new customers.

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TRANSFORMATION IS DIFFERENT

If you ask, no one thought we would come to these days. So much so that when e-commerce was said to be the sales channel of the future, it was said that ‘The consumer does not give up on the store, there is still a long way to go’. The change has been incredible, and if you ask me, we’re only at the beginning of the change and we haven’t seen anything. Consulting firm KPMG has released a report to identify transformational trends in the retail industry. In fact, most ‘real’ developments, not trends. Trends are now more futuristic. We already live in most of the things mentioned. In its research, KPMG collects trends in the conventional retail and consumer products sector under two main headings; smart store technologies and e-commerce technologies that carry traditional retailing into the future. Of course, smart merchandising is already an extension of e-commerce. Otherwise, smart merchandising is not a very meaningful thing on its own. Again, let’s give some numbers and trends before we work…

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Mobile e-commerce is on the rise

While the global e-commerce volume is estimated to reach 4.9 trillion dollars in 2021 and exceed 5 trillion dollars in 2022, the global e-commerce volume is expected to exceed 7 trillion dollars by 2025. The e-commerce market, which increased by approximately 165 percent in 2020, reached the level that is expected to reach an average of three years on the basis of volume, and reached a volume of 220 billion TL in one year. The e-commerce market is expected to reach a value of 638 billion TL by the end of 2025. While the mobile e-commerce market in Turkey had 41 percent of the total e-commerce market size before the pandemic, this rate increased to 53 percent with the pandemic. It is estimated that the market share of mobile e-commerce in total e-commerce will reach 80 percent by 2025.

ESG is encouraged

ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) requirements and socially responsible business models are encouraged by investors, while companies in the fashion and consumer industry are still primarily concerned with growth or at least market share gains. On the other hand, 67 percent of consumers pay attention to the effect of their clothes on nature.

Another prominent transaction in the global markets is the acquisition of Depop, which appeals to the large and fast growing market and the younger generation, by Etsy in June 2021 for USD 1.6 billion, and this merger is expected to create a significant market share synergy. In Turkey, the acquisition of Dolap, the second-hand clothing platform provider in terms of sustainability, by Trendyol, Turkey’s largest ‘marketplace’ provider, in 2018 was one of the important transactions in this area.

NFT source of income for brands

Within the Metaverse, the most talked about digital assets, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which are of course confirmed to be unique. Creating new concepts in the virtual world that fosters a sense of ownership and exclusivity, NFTs are often used to establish identity and provide credibility in a community where buyers are perceived as valuable. Within the $300 billion NFT market, the luxury virtual/hybrid collectibles category could increase its share to $25 billion by 2030, according to Morgan Stanley. NFT offers a very important opportunity for luxury brands with its relatively low cost and “uniqueness” feeling. It is observed that some brands are already working in this area. Dolce & Gabbana combined a group of NFTs with physical products in October 2021, generating revenue of up to $6 million.

Would you like to start your own digital transformation and adaptation on e-commerce? Contact Enkronos team today.

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