Here’s how Dr Somdutta Singh is re-imagining the future of e-commerce with emerging tech

Here’s how Dr Somdutta Singh is re-imagining the future of e-commerce with emerging tech

E-commerce is booming, and it's all thanks to the constant innovation in technology.

Dr. Somdutta Singh

Have you ever stopped to think about how much technology has changed the way we shop?  Did you know that by 2023, global retail e-commerce sales are projected to reach $8.1 trillion by 2026?

That's right! E-commerce is booming, and it's all thanks to the constant innovation in technology.

Think back to the early days of online shopping. It was a far cry from the convenient and personalized experience we have today. Just like every other industry, e-commerce is constantly evolving. New technologies are emerging all the time, and they're having a major impact on the way we shop. Let's dive into some of these exciting new technologies and see how they're transforming the e-commerce landscape!

 .  Augmented reality (AR)

Augmenting the shopping experience with AR

If you ask anyone in the field, most of them will agree that augmented reality is a game changer in the ecommerce world. And I know most readers will agree if you think about it. The biggest benefit of brick-and-mortar stores over online ones for wearable products was the ability to try it out before you could buy it.

From clothing and fashion accessories to essential products like prescription glasses, people always rely on physically trying out items before committing to a purchase. This tactile experience provided reassurance and confidence in the product's fit, feel, and overall suitability. AR can bring this experience to online shopping, bridging the gap between the online and offline shopping experiences.

Case in point

Indian eyewear retail chain Lenskart allows users to use their phone’s camera to test out how the glasses they choose will look on them. This experience has also been extended to products like furniture and home decoration.

Ever bought furniture online and worried if that new chaise lounge would swallow your living room whole? IKEA Place uses AR to let you see exactly how their furniture would look in your space.  Just point your phone's camera at the spot where you want to put the furniture, and voila!  Suddenly a virtual version of that bookshelf or dining table appears.  

According to Shopify, using AR can increase conversion rates by up to 94 per cent.

 .  Machine learning and AI

Given how prevalent AI and machine learning already is in all facets of life, it’s somewhat hard to imagine how things will change in the future.

Let’s look at how AI is used now.

AI powered chatbots are already allowing online retailers to communicate with customers for trivial queries, many of which can be successfully resolved without ever having to pass on to human customer sales representatives. Moreover, machine learning algorithms analyze customer data to provide personalized recommendations, enhancing the shopping experience by showcasing products that align closely with individual preferences. Fraud detection systems leverage AI to identify and mitigate suspicious activities in real time, ensuring secure transactions.

How do I forecast the future with AI and ML?

As AI continues to evolve, we can anticipate even more advanced applications such as predictive analytics for supply chain optimization, voice-activated shopping assistants that understand and anticipate customer needs, and immersive virtual shopping environments powered by AI-driven augmented reality. These innovations promise to make e-commerce more efficient, personalized, and secure, fundamentally reshaping how we shop online.

  . Self-driving vehicles

While the previous examples mainly talked about improving the user experience, emerging technologies are also poised to revolutionize the backend operations of e-commerce. Self-driving autonomous vehicles can revolutionize the logistics and delivery landscape. Equipped with advanced sensors, AI-driven navigation systems, and machine learning algorithms, self-driving delivery trucks and drones can optimize routes, avoid traffic congestion, and operate around the clock without human intervention. Self-driving vehicles can also contribute to sustainability efforts by reducing fuel consumption and emissions through more efficient driving patterns.

Current state of self-driving vehicles

While fully autonomous vehicles are still not there yet, there has been some substantial development in the past few years, with companies like Waymo, Cruise, Aurora, and AutoX are already experimenting and making strides with Level 3 automation. Level 3 implies that some driver intervention is or might still be required while driving. We are still quite a way away from Level 5, or full driving automation, but experts have predicted that these kinds of autonomous vehicles might be ready for consumers by the end of this decade.

 .  High speed connectivity

5G and high-speed internet connectivity

As is the case with all forms of technology, telecommunication technology has also made some major strides over the years. These advancements have transitioned us from basic landline systems to the high-speed, wireless communications we now enjoy, enabling global connectivity. 5G technology is the latest leap, allowing even faster mobile data speeds than ever before.

What does this mean for the e-commerce world though?

Not only does 5G allow websites to load faster, thus reducing the downtime for users and allowing seamless transactions. Enhanced speeds and better connectivity also enable the usage of some of the technologies we discussed before, including AR technology and autonomous vehicles.  

Future of connectivity

At the moment, 5G is steadily being deployed across the world, and is expected to reach the overwhelming majority of people by the end of this decade. Work on 6G development for even faster connectivity is also already underway, although that is still quite a while away. As 5G networks become more widespread, they will enable more robust mobile commerce, ensuring stable and fast connections even during peak usage times, thus increasing conversion rates and customer satisfaction. Overall, the integration of 5G technology over time will significantly transform e-commerce, making online shopping more efficient, engaging, and accessible.

In conclusion

The convergence of cutting-edge technologies is not merely an evolution but a revolution in the e-commerce sector. These advancements are poised to break down the remaining barriers between physical and online shopping, creating a seamless, highly personalized consumer experience. Embracing these technologies will be crucial for businesses aiming to thrive in this dynamic environment, ensuring they remain competitive and responsive to the evolving needs of their customers.

The article has been authored by first-generation serial entrepreneur, Assiduus Global Inc founder & CEO, LP angel investor and ex-member Niti Aayog Dr. Somdutta Singh.