You’ve heard of ecommerce, but what about ‘a’-commerce?
Automated commerce, also known as a-commerce, refers to the automation of processes within retail. It should not be confused with ‘augmented commerce’, which uses Augmented Reality as a retail tool. The automation of retail processes is an industry shaping trend, enabling retailers to offer improved products and services based on relevant insights. A-commerce involves outsourcing retail experiences to algorithms and smart devices. It is geared towards removing friction and changing how customers interact with products and services.
Many automated services are already in place today. Machine learning tracks patterns in online purchases to work out what individuals are likely to buy next. As the Internet of Things expands, this data will be used by machines to predict and respond to demand. For example, your fridge will know that you get through four pints of milk a week. When it gets to the end of the week, your fridge will notify your Google Home or Amazon Alexa device and your grocery order will be automatically updated. Moving beyond browsing and buying, Ocado’s automated warehouses are home to collaborative robots that pick and pack grocery orders. Last year, Tesco trialled an automated delivery service, and Amazon has been edging closer to launching a fleet of courier drones.
At the same time as equipping retail companies with the automated tools to increase revenue and customer satisfaction, acommerce has also encouraged higher consumer expectations. Customers are becoming more demanding, favouring personalised and super efficient services. If a retailer is unable to provide an instant solution or answer, customers are likely to look to other businesses with better insights. As automation gradually transforms B2C relationships, ecommerce companies and bricks and mortar retailers alike are tasked with creating high quality, omnichannel experiences. Businesses that fail to make use of automated tools will soon be left behind.
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