Ubiquitous mobility is the new religion in today’s disruptive digital world. Megatrends such as e-commerce and e-urbanisation in the new economy will drive business growth. In key growth markets, users continue to look for trusted, secured and accessible online marketplace.
According to Statistica.com, E-commerce is estimated to reach over US$4 trillion by 2021. The difference today is the emerging role of consumers where they are taking the centre stage for this revolutionary business model. Firstly, rather than following a strict buyer-seller relationship, the customer is both a buyer and seller. Secondly, consumers now possess a greater influence over the perception of products and services. For a seller and vendor, the challenge is the amalgamation of e-commerce websites and physical retail from leading merchant brands, which are incorporated into one e-commerce platform.
Online activity generates huge amount of data and the volume of data is exponential. Business leaders need intelligent tools to sieve through all the data to use them effectively, in real-time, to develop specific marketing campaigns or messages to targeted audiences. Digital marketing tools with algorithm and machine learning will enable more precise research and marketing processes that can enhance e-commerce platforms. E-commerce businesses use AI to better understand their customers, improve user experience and generate leads. To stay competitive, it is no longer a one size fits all marketing campaign but targeted campaigns for individuals. Marketing has become more personalised.
Crowdfunding is a trend to stay ahead in business. It is not only a source of capital but a platform for greater customer engagement, creating touch points that can be used to increase purchases.
Various IoT consumer peripherals, such as Google Home & Assistant, Amazon Echo and ecobee4, have an impact on e-commerce. With more connected devices and new additional smart features, more data is generated. However, one of the persistent challenges has been in data analysis and using the data in real time, in order to provide insights and applied intelligence, which can eventually lead to monetisation.
The injection of IoT into inventory management, warehousing and supply chain help streamline e-commerce business process. Just-in-time inventory decreases wastage, improves efficiency and provides growth opportunities. IoT creates and cements a more robust business connection with people, systems and the environment.
Consumers in emerging markets are more receptive to new payment methods. In these emerging and underdeveloped economies, a high percentage of citizens have no access to established payment methods, like credit and debit cards or even bank accounts. Hence, they are looking for alternative banking services that are low cost or even zero cost for the payment of goods and services.
Today credit and debit cards are not the only payment options. Even though they account for half of online transactions globally, there are opportunities for other payment methods that allow the unbanked to transact online. On the sell side, merchants are seeking to reduce commissions from traditional payment infrastructure, which will gradually become a heftier burden as the volume of online transactions grows.
Perhaps looking at popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is an alternative payment option. With the proliferated use of blockchain technology across industries, businesses and consumers will become more receptive, and cryptocurrencies will eventually be accepted as mainstream.
Trust is the bedrock of currencies and trust takes time to develop. However, the last few years of building trust for cryptocurrencies has been much faster than any currency or commodity in history.
Blockchains have other uses that will help build trust. As cyber incidents are the biggest risk to businesses today, companies have been turning to blockchain – information is stored in blocks that are linked and secured using cryptography with a distributed ledger that is tamper-proof. This enables highly secured and audited transactions that are extremely secure without the need for a central authority or the high cost of traditional security systems.
In addition, contract issuance is common within B2B or B2C markets. Blockchain-based smart contracts with permission options for viewing will give authorised personnel access to data at reduced cost. Critical data also stays unmodified and has integrity that is unalterable. When smart contracts are integrated to an e-commerce platform, it provides unprecedented trust.
In conclusion, the nature of ecosystem requires horizontal and vertical integration of e-commerce, AI, big data, IoT and blockchain to succeed.
Sir Eldee Tang | CEO and Founder | Noble Vici Group Inc.
Sir Eldee is a passionate entrepreneur in the e-commerce and fintech industry. He has taken giant strides to build the digital revolution, combining e-commerce, big data, IoT, AI and blockchain for mobile uses. He has also successfully expanded Noble Vici Group’s presence globally where the company will focus on making a bigger footprint in Asia, especially with the launch of V-More, which is one of the major e-commerce players in the retail space.