Tech-Tock Goes the Ecommerce Clock: The Impact of Technology on Online Stores

With Apple providing the world wide web on a two by five inch screen and Amazon making leaps toward making shopping a brick-and-mortar-free experience, it is no surprise that there has been an outburst of technological innovation lately. But what does all this mean for the future of ecommerce?

The explosion of mobile and online shopping has inspired companies to try and make the process quick and painless for consumers and retailers alike. Some are looking to new opportunities in different markets, others are working toward revolutionizing grocery shopping, and some are even developing programs for retailers to keep a better eye on their competition. So let’s see what all this tech talk could mean for ecommerce, shall we?

Bitcoin

We’ve all heard of it, but what exactly is a bitcoin? A distant cousin of the penny and dime, a bitcoin is a new form of digital currency that allows transactions to be completed without a bank or middleman. Consumers can purchase and store bitcoins in their cyber wallet and use them to purchase goods or services through channels such as Coinbase or Bitpay.

Although not many retailers have caught on to bitcoin yet, its potential to expand the horizons of ecommerce are immense.

Bitcoins have a transaction time of practically zero because digital currencies don’t “pend” like your credit card does. This could help ease the minds of retailers and consumers alike, as they no longer have to wait to see whether or not the payment was valid. With instant payments, merchants can now send out the items right when the order is received. While Amazon has already begun mastering the art of free expedited shipping with Amazon Prime, bitcoins present other sellers with this opportunity as well. This will improve customer service and increase efficiency.

Bitcoins also open up new consumer avenues by making it easier to conduct business overseas. Retailers won’t have to think about what country has what type of currency or about those annoying conversion rates that are constantly changing. They can simply set their prices in bitcoins and gain consumers from all over the world.

As an increasing amount of brands and retailers, Apple and Amazon included once again,  slowly open up their business and pricing strategies to the idea of bitcoin, there is no telling what other types of innovation it will bring to online retail.

Amazon Dash

While it is very much still in its testing stages and has yet to be released in all American markets, one of Amazon’s latest products, Amazon Dash, has already gotten people buzzing. Measuring in at barely over six inches tall, Amazon Dash is a hand-held device designed to simplify shopping for home goods. Used to replace the everyday grocery list, Amazon Dash allows consumers to vocally record groceries that need to be purchased and scan the barcode of products that are running low. All of this will then be sent to your Amazon Fresh account and makes checkout a breeze.

Although Dash is only being tested as a possible extension to Amazon Fresh, the technology that is derived from Dash itself has the ability to make ecommerce almost instant. As voice recognition technology becomes increasingly better, other retailers could execute their own version of Amazon Dash and allow customers to vocally place orders without ever leaving their homes. It’s a whole new level of convenience.

SaaS & Dynamic Pricing

Software as a Service, or SaaS, has taken the eCommerce industry by storm. Providing new ways for retailers to monitor and track competitors, dynamic pricing software has changed the pricing game for online retailers everywhere.

Here’s how it works:

  • Retailers upload all product data for the items sold in their stores, the software scans the market and collects all competitors with the same products.
  • The program then monitors and tracks all competitor pricing, allowing merchants to see how their prices measure up and whether they are pricing efficiently and competitively.
  • Certain programs also offer customizable automated repricing rules, making it easier for retailers to target a specific competitor, market or reach a goal.

What are other types of new technology do you see contributing to the growth of ecommerce?

Contributing Editor: Amanda Lin

Arie Shpanya

Arie is the former COO, Executive Chairman, and Co-Founder of Wiser, a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine for online retailers and brands. He has extensive experience in business development with a focus on eCommerce (eBay and Amazon), and is a guest blogger on Econsultancy, VentureBeat, and more.

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