IT Services

E-Commerce Market Transformation and Challenges

E-Commerce Market Transformation and Challenges

E-commerce businesses and platforms have undergone a massive transformation since giants like Amazon and eBay began in the mid-90s. It has brought a paradigm shift in consumer behavior and shopping experience, enabling customers to shop for products and services online anytime. Also, customers started preferring e-commerce sites over brick-and-mortar stores because they received the ordered products right at their doorstep. E-commerce platforms have helped businesses expand their customer base, boost their brand reputation, and foster revenue growth. 

GoodFirms Leaders Roundtable is a series of podcast discussions where we hold interviews with top leaders and professionals of successful companies and ask them to share their valuable insights and experiences on various topics. 

In this podcast discussion, we had the opportunity to interact with Arshdeep Singh Walia, Business Analyst FATbit Technologies, to understand the state of the ecommerce market today.  

FATbit Technologies is a leading and premier e-commerce solution provider offering a wide range of products, such as Yo!Kart,  Yo!Kart B2B , Yo!Coach, Yo!Yumm, Yo!Rent, and many more. It is also a reputed software development service provider specializing in mobile app development, enterprise app development, Laravel development, website design, digital marketing, and business strategy consulting. 

The Key Highlights of the Podcast Discussion: 

  1. Future Trends of the E-commerce industry 
  2. Critical Factors to Choosing the Best E-commerce Platform 
  3. Role of AI in Improving & Expanding E-commerce Platforms
  4. Common Challenges of Developing E-commerce Shops 

Furthermore, this podcast discussion focuses on

  • How AR/VR and 3D technologies are transforming and driving e-commerce platforms forward
  • Vital tips to successfully complete an e-commerce project
  • Tips to Address the AR/VR implementation challenges in e-commerce 
  • How GoodFirms has helped to counter the stringent e-commerce competition

Since COVID-19, ecommerce and the way businesses sell products/services, including consumer purchasing habits, have changed, with regular purchases such as food, clothing, and entertainment made online. As a result, in 2020, consumers spent $791.70 billion on online retailers. FATbit has been in the ecommerce industry since 2004, so please tell us how far ecommerce has progressed and the future trends of the ecommerce industry.

I agree with your statement that the e-commerce industry has flourished during the Covid-19 pandemic. It remained the only viable way to purchase both essential and non-essential goods without flouting the lockdown norms. 

The futuristic trends of the e-commerce industry are as follows-

  1. We have witnessed massive changes in consumer behavior during the Covid-19 period. Concepts like contactless deliveries and Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS) gained more traction, becoming normal norms as people avoided standing in long queues and skip at-the-counter invoicing. 
  2. The emergence of omni-channel commerce, where customers could directly buy a product from an Instagram or a social media ad without visiting the actual eCommerce store. The demand for personalization increased, which included virtual try-ons and support for diverse payment methods.
  3. Many e-commerce innovative trends, such as AR/VR and the use of drones in delivering items, are likely to stay more in the future. Also, AI-based smart product recommendations and customer support have paved the way for the future.

Quotation 1

Which is the best ecommerce platform, in your opinion, and what critical factors should a small business examine before deciding on an ecommerce platform?

Well, I would say that you cannot cherry-pick an e-commerce platform randomly and call it the best one. This is certainly not the right approach, as different businesses have different requirements. An e-commerce platform may efficiently cater to the requirements of a particular business type, but it may fail to meet the expectations of another business. For example, a platform built for handling the use cases of the CPG industry is highly irrelevant for businesses in the rental industry.

Here are a few essential tips for evaluating an e-commerce platform before choosing one. 

  1. You need to consider other vital factors, such as hosting type, payment structures, scalability, customer support, technicality, and budget constraint. 
  2. Also, attending demos is the best way to find out which platform will best meet your requirements and should definitely be considered while making a decision.
  3. Businesses can ask for customizations and API integrations if a platform is only failing to meet 10-25% of their requirements.

Quotation 2

AI is spreading at an alarming rate to assist in any sector of business. With retail behemoths like Amazon significantly investing in artificial intelligence, Could you please share some use cases of AI in e-commerce with aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs to assist their ecommerce start-ups to improve?

Artificial intelligence has brought a sea change in how businesses are operated in the current landscape. AI can assist e-commerce startups in diversifying ways. These include-

  • It has automated the entire process and played a significant role in personalizing the customers' shopping experience through streamlined and accurate customer segmentation. 
  • AI can also predict more appropriate product recommendations, autocomplete search queries and display highly relevant or extremely close search results. Going one step further, it can detect cart abandonment and send respective follow-ups. 
  • AI can provide more affordable and reliable high-level customer support to identify key customer challenges and help e-commerce businesses enhance the overall customer experience.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) can improve interaction and deliver near-human responses.

Quotation 3

Once again, ecommerce businesses are hurrying to implement a new means of engaging customers and raising conversion rates, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). What are your thoughts on 3D, AR, and VR in ecommerce, and do you believe they will forever change how things are sold online? How does AR/VR help to create unique shopping experiences? 

Undoubtedly, 3D commerce has gained more impetus with comprehensive support from next-generation technologies, such as augmented reality and virtual reality. AR and VR technologies are transforming the fashion, furniture, and real-estate industries to the next level, where products are required to be tested for aesthetics and appeal. They help hone customer experience and enable them to make informed decisions. For e-commerce brands, it helps to minimize cart abandonment, which in turn decreases losses in terms of order-processing costs.

Apart from augmenting the customer experience, AR and VR have been widely used for marketing purposes. Top-notch brands like Dominos, MTV, and IKEA are creating AR/VR campaigns to increase customer engagement and gain publicity. Even users are now able to attend fan events, concerts, and get-togethers from the comfort of their four walls with AR-based broadcasting.

Q-4

You can use AR and VR technologies to emulate reality, but there’s a notable difference. If you want to access AR, you need a smartphone camera to project a picture in real-world reality. For example, when using the virtual try-ons at IKEA, you can virtually place furniture at your location through the supporting devices. While the actual furniture is still at the store, AR technology allows you to assume what it will look like to place the furniture in a particular spot.

On the other hand, virtual reality (VR) does not augment something in reality but simulates an entirely new computer graphics-based reality. To use this advanced technology, you need a pair of VR glasses. Nowadays, Facebook is immensely promoting and using virtual reality in metaverse reality.

Q-6

What are the common challenges companies encounter while developing e-commerce shops? To add more, what developmental challenges have you faced with ecommerce solutions since the introduction of new technologies like AR/VR, and how do you deal with them?

Startups have to encounter diverse challenges and issues while building e-commerce shops. These include-

  • E-commerce platforms have to identify the right business model, select the appropriate software, create a brand strategy, and set up the logistics. However, some crucial challenges may arrive unprecedented.
  • Other major concerns are cyber security threats, PR crises, seasonal competition, and order returns. These can happen unexpectedly; hence a company needs to get prepared for any such occurrences and create strategies to overcome them. 
  • At times, minor marketing decisions may help you solve the problem. Still, sometimes you may have to invest in upgraded technology to meet customer expectations and keep pace with the latest trends.

Q-6

To answer the second part of your question, I believe that there are different types of AR/VR applications, but they are still in nascent stages and notability limited to only a few niches where cosmetic excellence is imperative. With that being said, a proper strategy is required for AR/VR implementation. 

If you don’t have a proper strategy, you will have to tackle various obstacles, primarily at the hardware level, not the software. Also, I feel that both sellers and customers should be familiar with the technology to access the AR/VR-enabled stores. They are also required to learn how to scan the space for augmentation or do 3D image rendering.

Quotation 7

Furthermore, Mr. Walia has pointed out a few viable solutions to tackle the challenges. 

  • The first and foremost is to integrate a module that supports 3D augmentation for all AR-possible devices, including those with sensors and without sensors.
  • Secondly, vendor training in 3D imaging is required to get the product listings AR-ready. 
  • Thirdly, to get technology friendlier, customers will need a complete app tour to help them understand how they can scan their rooms and other spaces for proper 3D augmentation.

What key points or a checklist do FATbit Technologies follow to complete an ecommerce development project successfully?

Our e-commerce development approach depends on the specific project. However, the key differentiators are particular business requirements that need not necessarily be the same for every entrepreneur. I’m providing the critical steps you can follow to complete an e-commerce development project successfully. 

  1. The first and foremost step is to fully understand the client’s business model and their specific needs and prepare a Business Requirement Document (BRD) based on the available information. You need to meticulously analyze their target audiences, niches, key issues, demographics, competitors, and vision. 
  2. Next, you need to work on the crucial elements of functional and non-functional requirements. These may include multiple revisions of the scope of work. Also, preparing and finalizing a Software Requirement Specification (SRS) becomes necessary. Note that BRD is indicative of what the client wants, while the SRS is indicative of how we aim to achieve it.
  3. You need to remain agile and flexible to make any changes quickly. Once the end product is ready to be launched in the market, the marketing team can create a “Go to Market” (GTM) strategy that helps the client successfully enter the target markets. 

With severe competition in the eCommerce web development market, staying the best performers in the eCommerce industry is a difficult and never-ending endeavor. Could you please share your thoughts on how GoodFirms has aided FATbit Technologies in this journey?

I firmly believe that both firms providing IT services and software development companies must build a relationship of trust, and GoodFirms has undoubtedly surpassed the expectations of thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs in creating and consolidating their trust. As a leading and premiere software critic platform, GoodFirms provides an entrepreneurial ecosystem that software development companies require to build new business connections.  Apart from this, a GoodFirms profile is a strong branding asset that can be outright shared with clients as a portfolio or reference for trust building.

You can listen to this podcast discussion here. 

What’s Next

The latest Statista figures of September 2022 indicate the retail e-commerce market to increase by 24% by 2026 in comparison to the current revenue of $8.1 trillion worldwide. More and more brick-and-mortar stores will go online to reach out to global customers. As a result, the competition level is expected to get more stringent and fiercer as new players will keep joining the e-commerce industry. 

Apart from artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things, augmented reality, and virtual reality, newer technological trends will disrupt e-commerce platforms. This is likely to amp up the offerings from the eCommerce development companies that can enhance the customer experience. 

Interested in a Podcast discussion? Be the first few to enroll your company’s name. For the podcast discussion, please email [email protected].

Paul Richards
Paul Richards

Paul  Richards is a Senior Content Creator at GoodFirms, an IT research and review firm with 7+ years of rich experience. An ardent sports enthusiast and travel freak, he loves to share his ideas and knowledge on everything technology, software systems, digital marketing, and the latest industry trends. An avid reader, he likes to explore and browse various websites to accumulate more information on different topics. 

Be first to respond
Write Comment
Minimalistic Designs: The Key Ingredient to Creating Visually Stunning Websites
IT Services
Minimalistic Designs: The Key Ingredient to Creating Visually Stunning Websites

In this podcast discussion, Jessica Hennessey, the CEO of 3 Media Web, has interacted with the GoodFirms team and discussed in length how minimalistic designs are helping ... continue reading

The Transition and Challenges of Mobile App Development
IT Services
The Transition and Challenges of Mobile ...

Team GoodFirms, in this podcast session, got the opportunity to interact with Omer Aslam, the Founder and CTO of Clustox ... continue reading

Outdo Web Development with the Perfect Frameworks, Languages and Technologies
IT Services
Outdo Web Development with the Perfect F ...

In this GoodFirms Podcast discussion session, Sandip Malaviya, the Founder & CEO of Samarpan Infotech, discussed how web ... continue reading