Six Trends That Will Change How We Shop
The spread of e-business and digital technology has changed our idea of shopping. This was made clear at the 1st E-Commerce Meeting organized by IESE and OMD Resolution in May. Below are some of the trends highlighted by those taking part:
1. The rise of virtual currencies and loans between individuals
Although credit and debit cards continue to account for 76% of transactions, alternative methods of payment such as PayPal are on the rise, as are business models based on loans between individuals such as Lending Club and the use of the virtual currency BitCoin, the cryptic money that is used in 200,000 daily transactions.
These new payment methods are a challenge for traditional financial intermediaries although many of them still need to be backed by a bank account or a card. Even so, they are also developing their own formulas to facilitate online transactions. The overall objective is to reduce the rates at which people abandon tentative purchases on the Internet and to encourage sales with a particular emphasis on mobile payments.
Brock Pierce, co-founder and chairman of GoCoin and Syndicate Manager of BitCoin:
"BitCoin is like cash. It’s a completely transparent service. Each transaction and each wallet is public. Fraud is impossible."
"The segmentation of micro-payments presents enormous opportunities."
Pilar Aurrecoechea, director of financial services at Telefónica:
"What’s at stake is not just the online payment market but also the capture of big data and the relationship with clients."
"The relationship with business people is important and many of these new methods and applications are taking advantage of all the work and the infrastructure created by the bank to enable credit card payments after decades of research."
2. Creating a unique shopping experience through multiple channels
If consumers are multichannel, multi-screen and multiformat, the brands that want to reach them need to be so too. And this is true both for companies such as advertising agencies and the media who manage their advertising. Clients simultaneously use online and off-line channels. They connect via the web, Facebook or mobile applications but they continue to go to physical stores. They buy online but they like to be able to collect their order or take it back to a shop in the neighborhood. They chat on their mobile phones while watching television. Companies need to adapt and opt for multichannel integration (both on an operational and communication level) and be able to offer the best shopping experience, whichever channel is chosen.
Roger Graell, e-Shop Manager at Mango:
"It’s my client. It doesn’t matter where or how they shop. The important thing is that the shopping experience is satisfactory, whichever channel is selected. The key is the brand and the trust it creates, that’s what we take most care of."
"It’s all about making the client’s life easy and giving them the widest possible range of opportunities."
Paul Rogowski, director of operations at LaModa.ru:
(In contrast to Mango, it began as an expressive fashion business operating entirely online but is now beginning to open its first physical showrooms.)
"There was a clear demand for an off-line channel. We discovered that about 15% of our clients would like to go to a physical shop to look at and try on clothing."
"What matters is to be active in both environments so that one doesn’t cannibalize the other."
3. The physical store becomes technological
Technology is redefining retail, not just online but in stores. On the one hand, it is using various applications to direct clients to physical stores. On the other, stores use technology to encourage shopping and measure the behavior and volume of clients through devices such as touch-sensitive screens, sensors and beacons which communicate with the client via Bluetooth to send them personalized information and offers, as well as maps and diagrams to help orientate the client.
Guillaume Bacuvier, Managing Director of Customer solutions and Innovation (SEEMEA) at Google:
"The aim is to use contextual advertising, shop navigation etc. to target each consumer."
4. The phenomenon of the "shared economy"
The new online businesses based on the shared economy are rooted in the idea of sharing more and owning less. The crisis has partly favored the interchange between individuals and the shared use resources such as houses, cars, money and professional services. Although many began like this in order to reduce costs and have alternative sources of income, now they continue through conviction. Sharing is fashionable but it is also the future because it is efficient, sustainable and cheap.
Jeroen Merchiers, Director general of Airbnb in Spain and Portugal:
"We are facing a paradigm shift; the consumer also produces."
"Over the past 12 months in Barcelona we have generated €128 million with direct and induced business. Tourists who stay with Airbnb spend an average of €263 in the neighborhood which contributes to local business."
"The 10,000 families that we have in the city earn an average of €221 a month through Airbnb and 53% of them say that Airbnb has allowed them to remain in their homes."
Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, regional director of Uber for northern and western Europe:
"The key is to create the trust needed to convince the user that the service is guaranteed. This is something that Uber achieves through the prior qualification of its drivers, through a rating system in which the driver and the user mutually assess each other for the quality and level of satisfaction with the service received, as well as with a double insurance cover, one private and another, very modern, based on peer to peer.
5. Logistic challenges: urgency, new delivery and collection points and technology
Transport companies and messenger services are among those that have been hit hardest by e-commerce. They are under pressure on two fronts: the end user wants all forms of delivery at a good price and the stores expect them to avoid or at least minimize problems with deliveries as returns are a real headache and an additional cost. To face these challenges businesses are exploring innovative, faster, more flexible and efficient formulas. These include urgent deliveries (same day, weekends, night time), segmentation based on the value of merchandise and the type of and speed of service offered (low cost versus premium deliveries), formulas to reduce delivery costs and increase their efficiency (flat rates, Click & Collect sales systems, automated delivery and collection points, the use of drones in logistics and transport).
Yves Delmas, chairman of Seur:
"There are four big challenge which at the same time are what is behind the success of transport and messenger businesses: flexibility, speed, integration and price."
6. The mobile: king of devices
According to Forrester, within four years, purchases made from mobiles and tablets will have doubled. In 2018 they will reach $293 billion in the United States, compared to the $114 billion this year. Services offered on mobiles need to respond to the user’s needs and be capable of taking advantage of the possibilities offered by geolocalization, contextual advertising, mobile scanning of products, augmented reality and the interaction between mobiles and other devices, such as the television, computer or even Google Glass.
Francisco Hortigüela, Communication and Corporate Affairs Director at Samsung Electronics:
"With mobile technology everything is possible. For example, during the last Superbowl, spectators were able to order H&M garments advertised by David Beckham on television directly from their mobiles."