More businesses embracing e-commerce platforms

Businesses are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality and new platforms to drive sales and customer experience.

These are the findings of a new research from global e-commerce consultancy Salmon. It found that 61 per cent of the businesses surveyed across the UK, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, were currently investing in IoT. More than a third (35 per cent) believed that IoT enablement was their biggest priority.

With voice-interactive devices, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, making their way into more and more consumers’ homes, businesses are jumping on board, with 53 per cent planning to invest in voice interface technology over the next five years.

Almost three-in-five (59 per cent) planned to take advantage of virtual/mixed reality, 69 per cent in robots and 60 per cent in machine learning by 2022.

However, more than a third (36 per cent) said they found it difficult to commit to new technologies as they feared investing in the wrong area. A further 47 per cent thought that they had invested in tech that was a waste of money.

Just under a third (29 per cent) said they didn’t have the technology in place to cope with emerging trends in the next five years and 20 per cent lacked the tech to keep up with niche players.

A further 30 per cent said that a major pain point when implementing an e-commerce platform was the business’s resistance to change.

Coping with more data was also a concern, with 92 per cent of organisations agreeing that they needed to be able to analyse consumer data better, while 48 per cent believed organising their business to react quickly to change would be a major challenge in the future.

Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) said they planned to switch e-commerce platforms in the next 12 to 18 months, recognising the importance of a platform that is ready to meet the future needs of the business and its customers.

Patrick Munden, global head of retail at Salmon, said: “E-commerce is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and rapid developing industries, and it’s vital that companies continue to innovate to boost business and consumer demand. Exploring the latest technologies is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have for any businesses expecting to drive sales and improve their customer experience. This latest research shows that, while many perceive technologies such as wearables, mixed/virtual reality and voice interfaces as the preserve of the tech-savvy consumer, wholesale, manufacturing and retailers are now investing heavily in this space.”

Mr Munden continued: “With 74 per cent of businesses looking to move platform to meet future needs, it’s important to remember that technology is just one part of the equation – who you work with to help implement that platform has a huge impact on its success. Almost all respondents cited experience by far as the most sought-after trait, with 94 per cent citing the ability to understand their vision and help develop it as important. However, it’s not about a partner simply saying ‘yes’ all the time. Ninety-one per cent said they want a partner that can challenge their thinking.”