The world of ecommerce has rapidly evolved over the past two decades, transforming the way we shop and interact with businesses. In today’s highly connected and globalised world, ecommerce is no longer a luxury but a necessity for businesses to thrive and grow. As an industry expert and visionary, Scott Dylan Co-Founder of Inc & Co has shared his insights into the trends and technologies that will shape the future of ecommerce over the next decade. This article will delve into the three main areas Scott believes will revolutionise the industry: AI and automation, sustainable and ethical online retail, and personalisation and customisation.
- AI and automation in ecommerce
Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation have already begun to make waves in the ecommerce sector. As Scott Dylan predicts, “In the next decade, AI will go from being an emerging technology to an essential component of online retail.” He believes AI and automation will play a pivotal role in enhancing customer experiences, optimising supply chain management, and driving sales growth.
a. Customer experience
AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants have become increasingly popular in recent years, providing customers with immediate and accurate assistance. According to a study by Mordor Intelligence, chatbots are expected to save businesses $10 billion per year by late 2023, a significant increase from the $4.5 billion saved in 2021.
Moreover, AI-driven recommendation engines will play a crucial role in personalising the shopping experience. By analysing customer data and preferences, these engines can suggest tailored product recommendations, driving customer engagement and increasing conversion rates. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 50% of ecommerce sites will have AI-powered recommendation engines.
b. Supply chain management
The integration of AI and automation in supply chain management will lead to greater efficiency and cost reduction. From demand forecasting and inventory management to warehouse automation, AI can streamline processes and minimise human error. In fact, a study by McKinsey estimates that AI could potentially reduce supply chain costs by up to 45% (3).
c. Driving sales growth
AI-driven marketing tools, such as email automation and ad targeting, will continue to improve in the coming years. These tools enable businesses to create personalised marketing campaigns that resonate with their target audience, increasing engagement and driving sales. Research by Salesforce reveals that AI-powered marketing campaigns can lead to a 57% increase in customer engagement and a 54% increase in revenue.
- Sustainable and ethical online retail
As consumers become increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impact of their purchases, sustainable and ethical practices will play a central role in the future of ecommerce. Scott Dylan states, “Businesses that adopt sustainable and ethical practices will not only appeal to a growing consumer base but also contribute to a better future for our planet and its people.”
a. Sustainable packaging and shipping
The ecommerce industry has faced criticism for its excessive use of packaging materials and its contribution to carbon emissions through shipping. In response, businesses are turning to eco-friendly packaging solutions, such as biodegradable or recyclable materials, and are offering carbon-neutral shipping options. A study by Mintel reveals that 72% of UK consumers are more likely to buy from a company that uses eco-friendly packaging.
b. Ethical sourcing and supply chain transparency
To cater to the increasing demand for ethically sourced products, businesses must ensure supply chain transparency and adhere to ethical practices. This includes fair labour practices, responsible sourcing of raw materials, and collaboration with ethical suppliers. Research by Nielsen shows that 77% of global consumers are
willing to change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact, and 66% are willing to pay more for sustainable products.
c. Social responsibility and community engagement
Businesses that engage in socially responsible initiatives and give back to their communities will have a competitive advantage in the market. This can range from supporting local charities to implementing fair trade policies. A study by Cone Communications found that 87% of consumers would purchase a product from a company that advocated for a social or environmental issue they cared about.
- Personalisation and customisation
In the age of information overload, consumers are seeking more personalised and tailored experiences. Scott Dylan believes that personalisation and customisation will be a key differentiator for businesses looking to excel in the ecommerce landscape. “The businesses that can create truly personalised experiences for their customers will stand out in the increasingly competitive market,” he asserts.
a. Data-driven personalisation
As data collection and analysis become more sophisticated, businesses can leverage customer data to create highly personalised experiences. By gathering insights into customer preferences, purchase history, and behaviour, retailers can offer targeted product recommendations, promotions, and content. Research by Accenture shows that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations.
b. Customisation and on-demand manufacturing
Advancements in manufacturing technology, such as 3D printing, are enabling businesses to offer customised products to their customers. This not only adds value to the customer experience but also reduces excess inventory and waste. A report by Deloitte states that 36% of consumers are interested in purchasing customised products, and this number is expected to grow in the coming years.
c. Omnichannel experiences
As the lines between online and offline retail continue to blur, businesses must create seamless and consistent experiences across all channels. This includes integrating in-store and online customer data, offering consistent pricing and promotions, and providing a unified customer support system. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that customers who used multiple channels to engage with a brand had a 23% higher customer satisfaction rate than those who used a single channel.
The future of ecommerce will be shaped by the integration of AI and automation, sustainable and ethical practices, and personalised customer experiences. As Scott Dylan’s vision for the next decade unfolds, businesses that can adapt and innovate will be the ones that thrive in this ever-evolving landscape. By embracing these trends and technologies, businesses can create a more sustainable, ethical, and personalised shopping experience for their customers, ensuring their success in the competitive world of ecommerce.