02 January 2014
This past week, CES, the world’s largest annual consumer electronics trade show, once again opened its doors in Las Vegas. And once again, we see how the trends of technology intertwine with the trends of e-commerce.
Even Pizza Hut attended the expo, proclaiming themselves to be an e-commerce company. Anyone disputing that would be mistaken when they sell 40% of their pizzas online. They use a configurator to offer customized pizza solutions, and they’re as much of an e-commerce company as any other vendor.
When Richard Nixon took the US off the gold standard, he was famously attributed with the phrase “We are all Keynesians now.” In today’s economy, we are all e-businesses now. Even the pizzerias.
That comes as no surprise to Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Electronics Association, the organization that produces CES. DuBravac points out that with 65% of U.S. households owning smartphones, “Everybody becomes a tech company.”
DuBravac’s emphasis on mobile comes as no surprise since mobile commerce, or m-commerce, specifically saw some interesting technologies.
The Internet is everywhere. Your e-commerce site is available everywhere, on demand, when your customer needs it. And now the Internet comes to your car! One of the biggest news bits coming out of the event is the new networked car by Chevrolet. Partnering with OnStar and AT&T, General Motors announced that all future Chevy cars will ship with network technology in the car itself.
General Motors’ announcement takes mobility to the next level. GM plans to equip Chevy cars with 4G LTE service in addition to a built-in WiFi hotspot that accommodates up to seven devices. This means your customers are able to use their own devices on fast WiFI connections or even the car itself to access the net.
Of course, initially most of the in-car networking will be accommodated by Chevy’s own AppShop, but it is likely that this is just the beginning. Afterall, Juniper Research reports that m-commerce is set to exceed $700 billion annually in the next four years.
While we recommend you don’t shop and drive, e-commerce sites will be able to leverage unique features of the car such as location services and voice recognition. Timothy Nixon, GM executive director and chief technology officer at OnStar with no relation to Richard Nixon, understands the potential for e-commerce. He says, “For commerce, we’re looking at a number of different avenues of how we can maximize these connections. We’re all about reducing the friction.”
And imagine if customers spent their entire commutes engaged with your e-commerce site. Sure, in January of 2014, they have to keep their eyes on the road. But what about when we have self-driving cars, such as the type BMW showed off at CES? And what if they use biometric fingerprint or iris technology to pay for their purchases, like with the technology that PulseWallet showed off at CES? With Apple using TouchID for iPhones, are we that far off?
We don’t mean to go too far down the rabbit hole, but this year’s CES proves the continued strength of e-commerce and, specifically, m-commerce. Because of CES, we may now have to add car commerce as well. C-commerce?
The future also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the present. If your current website isn’t mobile-ready with a great user experience, we recommend catering to your customers with responsive design that fits your website to any screen. Because if CES teaches us anything, it’s that we never know where that next screen will come from.