The Future of Ecommerce: What Cyber Monday Might Look Like in the Next 5 Years
I was having a conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago about how we live in an amazing time. I was taken aback a bit because he believed that there was nothing “too cool” happening. I do get over-excited about small things, but we live in a world where we can sit in a chair in the air and fly from one country to another. We have created technology that can save lives, increase communication and transcend our solar system. How is that not amazing?
Technology will only continue to evolve and with Thanksgiving on the way (and the shopping extravaganza that comes immediately after or sometimes on Thanksgiving Day), it’s difficult not to wonder what Cyber Monday and the future of ecommerce as a whole might look like in the next five years. Let’s take a look at some of the tech that will shape the future of ecommerce.
Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality
Augmented reality and virtual reality are both here to stay - but what’s the difference between the two?
Augmented reality is when computer-generated images are augmented (or supplemented) on a person’s view of the world. In other words, augmented reality will allow you to see digital objects and your real world at the same time.
A great example of augmented reality (for you superhero fans out there) is Tony Stark’s Iron Man helmet. The popular Marvel character’s helmet (here is a real version of it) shows significant numbers, data, coordinates, targets and much more - and the best part is that he sees all of this while still interacting with the physical world. That is augmented reality.
Virtual reality, on the other hand, is where a person only sees the virtual world with which they are interacting. Imagine putting on a helmet and watching a movie, playing a videogame or shopping in a virtual store. When you put this helmet on, you are closed off to the outside world and all you can see is what the helmet projects to you—that is virtual reality.
As the years pass, augmented and virtual reality devices will start to pick up more steam. Before we know it, people of all ages will be doing everything they can to get their hands on these devices. Both forms of technology will impact the world in an extraordinarily amount of ways. Lets look at how they might affect the future of ecommerce and Cyber Monday within the next five years.
1. Visualize virtual objects in real space.
How many times have you bought something for your home on Black Friday or Cyber Monday and had to return it because it didn’t fit, it didn’t match or you simply didn’t like it? Augmented reality eliminates all of that - not only will you be able to see if the things you buy will fit in a specific space; but this technology will actually project realistic 3D objects in your home so that you can see exactly how they will look and interact with the environment. How cool is that?!
2. Virtually walk into your favorite stores.
Imagine walking in a virtual version of your favorite store and browsing their inventory without ever leaving your house. For this reason alone Black Friday may become more of a Cyber Friday. Virtual reality technology will allow you to enjoy all of the excitement of Black Friday without waiting in long lines (increasing producitivity!), fighting off other customers or or having to deal with the risk of thefts. You can stay home and be more connected to the outside world than ever before.
3. Virtual assistants and support.
Companies like Johnson Controls, Verizon Wireless, Uber and Zipcar offer tech support virtually, and I think it is completely logical to expect a rise in virtual assistants within the next five years. These may be real people helping us answer our questions, or they could be a form of artificial intelligence; it’s difficult to say where we may be in five years. The benefit of this is that in the future, when you’re shopping on Cyber Monday, you won’t be alone! There will always be someone or some type of technology to help you if you need it.
Facebook announced their Messenger virtual assistant this year. Users interact with the assistant just like they would message one of their friends. For example, if I told the assistant that I wanted help planning my girlfriend’s birthday party, it could offer me suggestions, buy a gift, book a flight or reservations if I wanted it to. The software uses artificial intelligence, but also has a human presence behind it to fill in where the technology lacks. Expect to see more of this in the future. One example of this might be a virtual assistant that can help you find exactly what you’re looking for on Cyber Monday or to give you an honest opinion of how you look in a certain piece of clothing.
With the release of Samsung’s Gear VR mobile virtual reality headset and other technology such as the Oculus Rift and the Magic Leap set to be released in the near future, ecommerce is about to change forever. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Where do you see Cyber Monday and e commerce in the future? What are you excited for? Let us know in the comment section below.