A friend of mine once ordered four bananas in her online grocery shop and was surprised to see the courier carrying 40 into her kitchen.
Online shopping has definitely had its growing pains, but thankfully (or perhaps not) we now live in a world where most people can order most things from their sofa and have it on our doorstep within a couple of hours. However, thanks to the rollout of 5G, the world of e-commerce is about to transform yet again and this time it will be even more far reaching.
Future e-commerce looks set to benefit from the increased immersion, intelligence and efficiency offered by emerging 5G technologies. This will bring added value to retailers and consumers alike. The onset of new powerful personalization and immersive technologies will almost certainly raise the bar for conversion. The efficiency of logistics in Industry 4.0 will dramatically cut the lead time from cart to doorstep.
Ready to dive a little deeper? Here are three radical ways 5G will re-revolutionize future e-commerce:
The rise of smart assistants. In a study we conducted last year, digital shopping assistants were identified as the next major shopping disrupter. Over 47 percent of smartphone shoppers said they’d like a service that automatically restocks everyday items, and 63 percent of them think sharing price comparisons will be a major role of the smart shopping assistant. It’s easy to see that such services could provide huge benefits for consumers, and the implications for the retail industry could be massive.
Immersive brand experiences. When you think of e-commerce, you automatically imagine a smartphone or desktop in front of you. However, what if it was a little smarter than that? Under 5G, the line between brick-and-mortar stores and the digital world will begin to blur, leading to ultra-personalized AR shopping experiences such as “virtual try before you buy”. This will transform the very definition of “online shopping” and create a new meaning for future e-commerce. This new digital capacity to interact with products will lead to more data points that brands can use to adapt and target to consumer needs. The introduction of the eSIM will also offer a window of opportunity for business owners to move their brand experience to the consumer’s personal device – allowing them to collect data and push products across a versatile range of touchpoints. This will lead to a more responsive shopping experience, one which adapts to our environment according to what resonates and offers purchasing methods which are most convenient at any given moment.
Connected logistics. Arguably, the most crucial arm of the future e-commerce cycle – warehousing and logistics – will be completely overhauled with 5G. In fact, this change is happening today. Warehouse automation and digitalization can not only boost efficiency and lift profits, but can also hugely benefit the customer experience.
To stay competitive, retailers, e-tailers, logistics and fulfillment service providers, large and small, are already looking to digital technologies and connectivity to make warehouse operations far more efficient and agile than they are today, for example through smart robotics and, well, smart warehouses. Included in this will be the rollout of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) which look set to rocket by as much as 20 percent. These can be deployed by the thousand – all working alongside each other and connecting with other smart devices in the warehouse. At peak retail periods, these technologies can combine like clockwork to pick, pack and ship that product you just bought on your AR glasses before you have time to blink.
So, whether you’ll experience Black Friday in the hustle and bustle of the action or plan to spend the day glued to your smartphone, know that all could be about to change in the not-too-distant 5G future!
The Ericsson Blog
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