To paraphrase L. P. Hartley’s The Go-Between
, the future is a foreign country; they’ll do things differently there. It’s true. We just don’t know what the future is going to hold or how we are going to deal with it all – after all, look back just a century, or even a handful of decades, and you’ll see how far we have come in such a short time.
What could possibly be coming in the next 10 years that will change the way we live? What could be coming that will change the way we shop online? Because that, really, is the question. Right now, if you try to think about how online shopping could be improved, you might have a hard time coming up with anything that really would make a difference. Yet something will. Something will change and you will start using that new tech or process, and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. That’s how the future works. So here are eight of the most exciting and innovative potential ideas that we might all be happily using in just 10 years from now. What do you think?
1. No Card Number? No Problem
Needing to have your credit or debit card with you when you want to buy something is not always practical. It means having to carry it around with you, it means having to ensure that it is safe at all times. It adds an extra burden to your day; to your life. When they go missing or get stolen
, or even if you just happen to have left yours at home, the chaos and strife that it causes is monumental.
So in the future we can do away with all of that. No card will be required; your fingerprint will be all the authentication you need to purchase anything online. This will give the retailer all the information they need to not only sell the product but to ship it too. It will even give them your payment preferences. This will make the buying process much simpler; one tap on a screen with the correct finger and your goods will be on their way. It’s a customer friendly way of selling that retailers won’t need to do anything about – the tech is already with us.
2. There Will Be No Boundaries
Whether or not you realise it, there are definite boundaries in place for online shoppers. It makes a difference right now whether you are buying from a laptop or a mobile device, for example. In 10 years’ time, these boundaries will no longer exist; it just won’t matter what kind of device you are buying from, or even – for the most part – where you are when you do it.
In other words, the customer experience will begin to look (and be) the same no matter what platform is being used, and this will add to the seamless nature of online shopping. How this will happen is still up for debate, and it might be the way that websites scroll, or how you can use the aforementioned no-card purchasing options, and that’s an exciting process.
3. Automated Fraud Detection
One of the biggest worries that people still have when buying online is the issue of fraud. Are their details really safe? Are they using a legitimate site?
Will they even get their goods? At the moment, sometimes it’s difficult to tell what’s good and what’s not, but in the future fraud detection (and protection) will be automated, ensuring the ultimate safety when buying online. The entire process will be done through machine learning and data rather than relying on manual reviews, and this means that the detection will be quicker, ensuring that your details are kept safe, even if you do find a ‘bad’ site or your payment details are stolen.
4. Retailers Won’t Be Liable
Retailers have a difficult time of it in the current climate. They are the ones who have to shoulder most of the responsibility for online fraud, and this can be a big burden. It can even lead to closures if the fraud is big enough and the business is small enough. In the future, this will no longer be the case. Not only will fraud be more difficult – and hopefully impossible – to commit in the first place, but the technology that will be in place within online retail businesses will mean that the liability is elsewhere, and they can concentrate on growing their businesses rather than worrying that something has gone wrong.
5. Pay The Customer’s Way
Today customers will buy something from a website and they will have to use whichever payment options the retailer has put in place. This can work out fine in some cases, but in others it can be far from what the customer wants – it might even cost the retailer sales if the customer doesn’t like the options that are offered.
The future will change this. Instead of the retailer picking the payment options, it will be down to the customers. They can provide their payment details in the way that they want to, using platforms that they trust and are comfortable with.
6. Personalised Payments
Personalisation is getting bigger and better, changing the online purchasing space forever. It means that customers are pushed towards the items
that they are going to be most interested in, and therefore what they are more likely to buy. In the future, this personalisation will extend to payments as well as the products and sites themselves.
What does this mean? It might be that some customers are offered a buy now pay later option if this is what they have chosen most in the past, or they might be pointed towards using Paypal, or pay via bank transfer. Coupons and discounts might be sent through automatically to be used within transactions.
7. Same Day Shipping
Some sites offer same day shipping already. Others offer something that takes longer. Some don’t even explain how long their goods take to ship in the first place, and customers just have to take their chances. In the future, there will be no more guessing. Same day shipping will be the norm – it will be expected. Instant (or very nearly instant) gratification is something that we are becoming more and more used to, so why would we want to wait for the items we’ve just bought to be sent out to us? We wouldn’t. If we did have to wait, we might even search out a similar product elsewhere that can be sent to us sooner. So it is in the online retailers’ interest to ensure that goods are shipped on the same day as they are ordered.
8. Automation Will Fight Fraud
Too many fraud checks are done manually, and this means that things can get missed. Not everything can be checked – there just isn’t time – and even those items and transactions that are checked could be subject to human error. The more automation that is used in online transactions, the more fraud will be detected and eliminated.