Personalization and Globalization Represent the Future of E-Commerce
Clearly globalization is an essential piece of the e-commerce puzzle for companies looking to extend their reach and grow sales, but organizations of all sizes and in all markets must also be tuned in to the second force transforming online retail today: personalization. In many industries, online buying is replacing in-store buying. However, if an e-commerce site doesn't enable visitors to see and feel a product before buying it, can it really offer users the "personal touch" they get in-store?
Actually, personalization can in some ways improve on the traditional shopping experience. For example, you could visit five cycling stores before finding an employee knowledgeable enough to set you up with the perfect bike. Yet e-commerce technologies like smart sizing calculators can match you with a perfect bike regardless of where it's purchased (and some years down the road, a 3-D printer could build it right in front of you). Other developments like same-day delivery, virtual dressing rooms and "click and collect" are blurring the line between online and in-store shopping, and bringing personalization to the forefront of e-commerce strategies.
We don't have to think of in-store and online shopping as in opposition to one another. In fact, they complement each other quite well. Big data analysis enables retailers to become more and more targeted in their marketing and sales efforts by personalizing ads and website content, as well as conducting real-time analysis with new technologies like iBeacons, which tracks consumer behavior in-store. The same technologies allow retailers to stock physical stores with the types of goods they know local customers will buy, so the benefits work both ways. This is good news for both retailers, which save on logistics and shipping costs, and consumers, who don't have to wait ages or travel far to get the products they want.