The Future of E-Commerce: the Brands and Emotion.
An important debate was organized for the general assembly of Fevad on june 16th 2011: What is the future for E commerce?
More than 250 participants, renowned experts, and the occasion to hear some symbolic spokesmen of the industry were the main factors that drew interest to this event.
Given the upheavals for the past 5 years, how can we distinguish the trends in E commerce? Which actors will last the longest?
We came to several interesting conclusions:
- The future actors of E commerce : Whether its in technology, logistics means, or brands, only protected actors will be guaranteed to have enough impact in the long term. The most emblematic of them are: Google, whose technological excellence is renowned by all , Amazon, who relies on an outstanding user experience and on significant logistics means , and Apple, whose brand is as of today renowned as the most expensive in the world… For most E commerce’ s actors , it will be essential to consolidate their brand, to gain the loyalty of the clients and to progress and evolve so as not to be threatened by other evolutions in the market.
- Who are the temporary actors? : Emerging actors such as Groupon, Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter raise more debates: Are they significant but temporary, such as other actors we all knew (Msn, yahoo), or are they actors truly ready to play their role… The consumers’ involvement in these new technologies and in these new uses is not in fact sufficient. Other actors could capitalize on these evolutions to take advantage them too and experience rapid growth and recognition.
- Facebook’s strength the place occupied by facebook in e commerce remains a subject of inquiry. Some are convinced that its audience will inevitably turn into a market, but on the contrary, some emphasize the use and the growth of facebook rely on behavior that is totally different from e-commerce behavior . The actual numbers of sales are extremely low and encourage companies to be even more cautious. It is possible that facebook will remain only a major actor of social media , with its reputation and its ability to increase traffic for e commerce websites , but it is already a desirable position that one should learn to control.
- Google’s role : Certainly the liveliest part of the debates came from the question “is google a parasite or a growth engine?” Merchants obviously had different opinions about the subject.
Google’s growing power is disturbing. Its dominant position, or almost monopoly, could only raise subjects of concerns. It is essential to master the use of Google and here again the impact of the brand will play an important role in the search engine’s efficiency. Google’s protection of contents (brands, advertisements, etc.) remains a major cause of concern. Unfortunately it is left under each company’s responsibility.
- Working with technology to improve the user experience : All the surveys show that users adopt new behaviours and ways of using websites, linked to both the evolution of these websites and the adoption of new technologies. Scenarios, photo quality, enhanced site features and augmented reality technologies: all these factors must be implemented to achieve satisfactory results.
- European regulations : New regulations designed to force websites to distribute their products in the 27 countries of the European Union, allow unconditional returns and refund customers before effective returns are a major concern, and all players are mobilising to deal with this.
- click and mortar : click and mortar has a special and fast-growing place in the user experience. E-commerce players are turning to mortar as a reassurance factor, and physical actors want to take advantage of this new audience channel to increase traffic to their shops. All in all, the barrier between the two worlds is being eroded more and more each day, and this trend is only going to increase.
Beyond these debates, we must address the fundamental principles of trade. E-commerce
has only existed for 12 years, whereas commerce has always existed… Commerce means adapting and persuading, and two key elements will be important in the long term :
- The brand, what values and feelings it is associated with, during the act of buying and beyond. The challenge is to make customers perceive the enjoyment, differentiation and emotions that will satisfy them...
- Emotions, it’s not just about buying a product or service any more, but also about feeling all the emotions that come with the act of buying and owning it. Scenarios, advice and product association are all factors that play a decisive role.
E-commerce contributes in its own manner towards developing brands and strengthening the emotions linked to the act of buying. E-commerce also takes advantage of continuous technological innovations to increase its market penetration.
It is naturally tempting to think that the main changes are behind us, that the concentration in terms of traffic, audience and resources will penalise most players. In fact the reality is quite different: e-commerce offers many opportunities and has a great deal of untapped potential.
While e-commerce is only just beginning, the whole world is there to be conquered. Providing it can capitalise on its assets, innovate to meet new needs, and draw on the fundamental principles of commerce that are brands and emotions, e-commerce is likely to grow very fast in the coming years.
The e-commerce solution should be an asset for the implementation and success of future projects. Prestashop, by virtue of its simplicity, wealth of features and constant innovations, is proud to be contributing to the success of e-commerce during the years to come!