How people buy
How people buy and sell products has slowly evolved over the course of human history. Perhaps the modern concept of shopping began during ancient Greece in the agora, a market where shoppers bought products from merchants who ran individual stalls.
More recently, the internet has completely transformed the way people buy products and services. It has been predicted that goods and services sold on the web will grow to a market value of $1.915 trillion a year by 2020.
However, shopping is not done evolving. As technology and trends change, the methods people use to purchase goods transforms as well. With that mind, here is a look at some of the next big changes that will affect e-commerce.
Delivery by Drone
One significant change to online shopping that is certainly on the way is product delivery by drone. As reported by USA Today, Amazon delivered its first package via drone to a customer living in the United Kingdom in December, 2016. This drone delivery system is currently in the trial phase and will soon be adapted on an international scale.
The benefit of delivery by drone is that it makes same day delivery of products cost effective. No longer do customers have to wait a week to receive a product. They will receive it that day possibly only hours after making the purchase.
However, there are some ethical questions concerning drones being used for something as mundane as product delivery. If airspace fills up with drones delivering products, it could serve as a safety hazard when they malfunction or run into other aircraft. There is also the possibility that a drone filled airspace could be taken advantage of by terrorists to launch attacks against civilians with their own drones. These are questions that companies like Amazon don’t seem worried enough about to address but may become an issue in the future.
Traditionally, people made purchases with whatever currency was backed up by their government. Americans paid with the dollar, the Japanese paid with the yen and so forth. However, there currently is a kind of internet currency not backed up by a government that is being circulated in certain corners of the internet. This is the bitcoin.
Bitcoin is the first truly digital form of currency. It is created electronically through encrypted software and is held electronically as well. Actual coins and printed bills representing value in bitcoin do not exist. Bitcoin is also not controlled by a central authority of any kind such as a state actor. It is instead managed by a distributed network that limits the number of bitcoins in existence to help ensure the digital currency retains its value. While this may sound ridiculous, it is a valid form of currency used across the internet to purchase goods and services.
While it remains to be seen if bitcoin will ever be adapted on a mass scale, the possibility certainly exists. Thanks to the internet, we may also see other digital forms of currency gain popularity as well. This will create a significant change for online shopping. It will also have a significant effect on how the world economy operates since bitcoins are not limited by international borders and are not controlled by centralized banking authorities.
The Impact of Big Data
Big data, the collection of massive amounts of data in a central hub for later analysis, will also have a significant effect on how people shop online. 75 percent of companies are investing into big data, because it can slash costs and increase efficiency.
This means more accurate pricing for products sold online. It means really cheap auto insurance quotes produced after the data is analyzed. It means personalized marketing that seems to predict what the customer wants before they realize it. There are many possibilities.
Technology and e-commerce is transforming how people buy and sell products. Online shopping is certain to continue evolving as new and better technologies are introduced by companies.