Technology Stack for Online Retail: The Future of E-commerce by Sidhartha Sharma
E-commerce businesses need agile and end-to-end technology infrastructure systems to win.
Demand generation to Demand fulfillment and then repeating the cycle (with upselling and cross-selling propositions) is the most important task.
Technology stack needed for customer experience transformation by pure e-commerce players
- AI for personalization and customer service: E-commerce companies have big data sets for every user. Without AI technology, it will be complicated to find insights out of the data. Personalized services, recommendations, and offers all depend on the AI and data analytics engine maturity. Chatbots are already deployed by all big e-commerce players, and the next frontier is the voice bots for customer service.
- Voice and Image-based search and ecosystem: Voice and image shopping is another convenient technology that major e-commerce players are exploring. Alexa allows you to shop directly on the Amazon platform using your voice as the command. E-commerce companies are also working on image recognition systems that help you shop by simply giving you recommendations around the image you click or share on the platform.
- Visual search, AR/VR: AI and computer vision will play a significant role in fashion wear and other retail products. Many people would like to buy products that look like what they have in pictures. An increasing number of apps and start-ups are sprawling up in the space where a product’s picture can help you identify stores where the product may be available (through image recognition). Augmented and virtual reality is also going to be a game-changer. Imagine trying the fashion apparel on yourself. The mass adoption of AR/VR is yet to pick up as the costs associated with technology adoptions are very high.
- Cybersecurity and firewalls must be reliable and secure: It is the death-knell for a company if the e-commerce logins, payments data, and shopping history of a customer get compromised.
- Delivery technologies: Drones and autonomous vehicle technologies are being tested for speedy and last-mile delivery. by 2025–2030 drones for delivery will be a new normal. The cost economics work in favor of drones, once the air-safety regulations have been met. B2B e-commerce delivery where cargo is bulky will continue to depend on traditional delivery methods and then gradually shift to autonomous trucks (for city/state/country) deliveries.
- Localized retail inventory tech- Quick commerce has the potential to disrupt e-commerce. A lot of quick commerce initiatives by the mobility players in the high margin e-commerce categories (like Groceries ) are aimed at taking market share away from the e-commerce players. Mobility has the delivery capacity and the local retailers act of the local warehouses. The challenge that quick commerce companies face is that small retailers/ malls/ mom and pop stores, inventories are not updated on a real-time basis.
Ecommerce and Quick commerce battle will be decided on two fronts- the 30 min to 1 hour delivery capabilities in ~5 years (2020–2025) from now and the availablity/inventory systems.
Digital Strategy and Transformation Expert
15+ years experience as consulting director across Mckinsey, BCG, and EY
(Views are personal)
Sidhartha S. - Director, ASEAN- Digital Strategy & Transformation, Global Innovation - EY |…
15 years experience in Management/Strategy Consulting (BIG 4) firms and worked with Startups in ASEAN, India. Strong…