Is it just us, or does the evolution of Large Language Models (LLMs), paired with the latest movements in the domain of AR and VR, open the doors to a bold reshaping of the e-commerce experience?
The age of catalog-based e-commerce began in the late 90s and early 2000s when businesses saw the potential of the Internet as a global marketplace. Catalog-based models, an online replication of physical product catalogs, became the norm as companies sought to bring their stores to the virtual world. This approach enabled consumers to browse through extensive product listings, compare prices and make purchases from the comfort of their homes. However, despite the convenience and reach it offered, the catalog-based model was (and still is), often impersonal and lacked the engagement of a physical shopping experience. Now, as technology advances, we're seeing a shift toward more interactive and immersive e-commerce experiences, marking the gradual decline of the age of catalog-based selling.
A new level of engagement is unlocked
With the latest technology breakthroughs, we have unlocked unprecedented possibilities for creating truly engaging e-commerce experiences. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence and augmented reality (AR), as well as virtual reality (VR), we are moving toward a more conversational form of e-commerce. This approach allows online platforms to replicate the dynamic and personal interactions found in physical stores. Customers can now have interactive dialogues with AI, ask specific questions about products, receive personalized recommendations, and even “try on” items virtually. This innovative blending of the digital and physical realms offers a shopping experience that not only resembles a physical store but also exceeds it in terms of convenience and personalization. The future of e-commerce promises a seamless, immersive experience that bridges the gap between online and offline shopping.
What's being cooked up in the e-commerce kitchen?
Sell where your content is
This powerful new concept is taking root. Rather than directing consumers to separate e-commerce platforms, this approach integrates shopping experiences directly into popular content platforms, such as social media sites, blogs and online magazines. Leveraging the power of engaging content, businesses can embed purchase opportunities within the platforms where consumers already spend their time. This innovative strategy blurs the line between content consumption and shopping, creating contextually relevant buying experiences. By linking products directly to related content, businesses can capitalize on consumers' immediate interest, increase conversion rates and provide a smoother, more convenient shopping journey. As we move forward, this content-driven approach to e-commerce is set to redefine the way we shop online.
Hybridization of offline and online channels
This strategy, known as omnichannel retailing, aims to provide a seamless customer experience by integrating physical and digital touchpoints. Augmented Reality (AR) plays a pivotal role in this integration. Customers can now use their mobile devices to virtually “try on” clothes, preview furniture in their homes, or interact with products in ways that were previously only possible in a brick-and-mortar store. As we all know, Apple just announced the visionOS operating system and the Vision Pro device that will push the boundaries even further. This type of technology will enable customers to enjoy the visual appeal of in-store shopping from the comfort of their homes or complement their in-store shopping with powerful AR features. It seems to us that the future of retail is not about choosing between online and offline but harmonizing the two.
Fully conversational online interfaces
Whenever a product-selling process requires a certain level of expert knowledge (for example, travel arrangements, numerous house and garden products, insurance policies, complex machinery, etc.), the shortcomings of current online shopping methods are emphasized. The ability to inspire customers and then expertly guide them through the sales funnel is the holy grail for many online retailers selling these types of products. Presently, we are witnessing the rise of various tools aimed at addressing this challenge, such as guided selling and video commerce tools. Nevertheless, in our view, this is merely the beginning of a journey that will fundamentally reshape the online buying experience, even without the use of any AR or VR hardware.
When will we have the benefit of using the first solutions?
There is no way to predict this. Currently, we are in the process of a major reshaping of the entire landscape, and it's very difficult to predict either the outcome or the speed of change. However, what we find somewhat inevitable is that this major change will indeed occur.
Meanwhile, this is what Logeecom is focusing on
Based on initial market research, Logeecom has decided to engage in an R&D process that focuses on the third point described above: fully conversational online interfaces. In partnership with our associates in the Travel and House and Garden industries, we are currently working on a project that carries the code name ”23 degrees.” We will be writing more about it soon.
Schedule a call with one of our e-commerce experts and let’s talk about leveraging the potential of upcoming disruption.