Foretelling The Future of Commerce In 10 Years Time
This week eBay announced that they are expecting the mobile sales on the platform to reach $5 billion USD. This is set to outpace their earlier prediction by a cool 25%. But I don’t believe its going to stop there.
In this article I attempt to fore-tell the future and see how deep Alice’s rabbit-hole could go with regards to commerce in 10 years time.
Before I make an ill-fated attempt at this, we need to understand some background changes that are currently under-way. These are:
While sadly Steve Jobs passed away, I feel that this is just the end of the beginning for Apple and we have not seen the back of them just yet. It’ll be the devices that this company creates that will be a strong player for most of my predictions.
- X.Commerce (eBay + PayPal + Others)
eBay have launched X.Commerce and are going to be making headway into the multi channel marketplace with their recent addition of Magento and a few other local based services (Milo for one). Also I am making the assumption that PayPal will release contact-less payments to facilitate growth.
Alibaba has bought Auctiva and Vendio, but still has money to burn. This is a dark horse and in my predictions this is the biggest unknown.
Amazon is a pure brute and has continuously showed growth regardless of economic situations or challenges from competitors. Amazon will for sure still be around, but I’m not entirely sure how deeply.
- Peoples Lust for Funds
More & more people want to break free of the 9-5 routine. This is exceptionally true of the nimble, motivated, educated teenagers that are currently in education right now and the older generations (in their mid 40′s) who are looking for additional retirement funds. While “niche of niche” will give them a fighting chance, the biggest wins will be made in face-to-face services & transactions.
- Disjointed Service Suppliers
There are a lot of dis-jointed service providers that have not worked out that they can work together to bring a larger selection of products when working together than perhaps the larger marketplaces can do currently.
- The High-Street
High-Street retailers are starting to “grow a brain” and as more & more board level exec’s realise (“realise” probably a better term than “grow a brain”) that the current (and new) marketplaces are viable channels, that the current list of ~100 well-known brands that are already using eBay will explode.
- Data Usage & Mobile Handset Usage
Global mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold between 2010 & 2015 (source)
Mobile handset adoption is slow but steady, even with 18 and 214 month contracts slowing the pace, we will see more & more people with ‘smart phones’ and as per the statement above, peoples lust for doing what people do best, communicate, will probably drive this figure much higher.
There are many more influences that are currently under-way, Google is one that I have neglected to mention, this is because I feel they will remain as a facilitator to one or more of these or will be replaced by another, however I’m focusing on the above to attempt to make a stab at what the end-game could look like along with some gut-instinct.
My 10 Predictions For Commerce in 10 Years Time
Firstly I can’t tell the future & I certainly don’t have a crystal ball (unless you count a jar of cider), however an amazing topic covered in a book called “Blue Ocean Strategy” (aff link) I recently read has helped me focus & gain clarity on numerous topics.
Part of the identification process of a “blue ocean” is to predict where you consider the natural conclusion of where an environment will go to in the future and commerce is a curious one. Also note that I have left 4 predictions out of this public version as I will be leveraging these personally.
Below are 10 of my personal expectations for commerce, for 10 years time:
- 50% of all transactions will be online
The vast majority of western consumers will have a mobile device that allows them to surf the internet, as such they will hold 50% of the marketplace for all transactions involving goods & services.
- Mobile will dominate
The mobile networks will have rolled out 4, the Internet (especially mobile) will become ultra rich in both written & video content. Mobile devices from one or more of the above will be huge players in this.
- Augmented reality will rock
Augmented reality applications will be real & widely used, especially in gaming. Internet gaming is fun and we’ll see more games like the ones laid out here but augmented reality will become common place for transactional sales. Imagine pointing your phone at a shop and seeing the entire contents in the device before you even enter.
- Gestures will be common place
Gestures to mobile devices will be a reality. Think a cut-down version of kinetic from the XBox. The device will recognise the user and respond to not only voice commands that we already have, but gestures of intent too.
- Shock-Horror the desktop will survive
Consumers will still be using desktop & laptop computers. I mention in the video that cloud computing does not have the grit to do so, this is actually incorrect you can do this via cloud computing, however even in 10 years time, product manufacturers (like Sony or Dell) will still be making the traditional desktop or laptop computer.
- The 1st new marketplace
There will a two new formidable marketplaces, the first will come from the growth of Alibaba and the trade direct from Eastern counties, because of the cost advantage will be hard to beat locally.
- The 2nd new marketplace
The second will come from software providers that already hold the keys to numerous merchants and platforms. If the data held was combined into a single marketplace and solving the other fundamental obstacle of “eye balls” (getting people to view the items/site) then this could be a huge contender, as its the re-manipulation of existing data from existing merchants.
- Same day delivery will be available for £1.00
Same day delivery will be inexpensive & widely used (we’re already seeing this with food providers, Eatsy & Just Eat). Think a a mobile version of a highstreet, where instead of going into store, the store will be online and that item you like, will be with you in 30 minutes at your door. Convenience on steroids.
- The high-street will still exist
High-street retailers will still exist, but will be more dynamic & responsive to customers requirements virtually. Interrogative means, such as video to view the products will be widely spread and leveraging the above factor in competition with the online marketplaces, speed of delivery will become a huge factor for them (think of a large food retailer with same day delivery in London) because there will always be a desire for a product or service “now” (or in 30 minutes).
- The Revolt
There will be a revolt against eCommerce and companies that leverage this into a face-to-face commerce situations, such as farmer’s markets will have an amazing time (and highly profitable) with this. People will start to demand a closer, more personal relationship with their suppliers and face-to-face will always rock.
Am I a million miles away from what we’re seeing already, what do you think?
Use the comments box below.