E-Commerce 4.0 - Dawn of Social Shopping
Updated: Jul 5, 2020
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COVID-19 & Us
This is a strange time for all of us that are stuck at home now that the COVID-19 measures are in place and an even stranger time for all businesses out there. Some are struggling with declining sales amidst the lock-down. Others are struggling to fulfill overwhelming demand of toiletries and food supplies from a stockpiling survival mindset. It seems exactly like what would happen in movies during the apocalyptic 'end-of-times'. Perhaps the movies are to be responsible for such behaviors and people are watching more Netflix nowadays, fueling a vicious cycle of self-created fear and resulting actions.
Getting Down To Business
For e-commerce businesses like GreenDay, it would seem that business is booming but we are not completely unaffected by the impact on supply chain which has broken down in this crisis. as a result, we have hunkered down in our individual private bunkers and conducted a brainstorming session via virtual conferencing to analyze the impact of this pandemic on our new business. Furthermore, we studied the evolution of e-commerce over the years and projected what might occur in the future, which could be accelerated by COVID-19. We came up with the following.
Evolution Of E-Commerce
E-Commerce 1.0 represents the beginning of an era of convenience. Consumers are able to make online purchases and payments without stepping outside. Goods are delivered straight to the doorstep even with social distancing measures in place. E-Commerce 2.0 marked a significant milestone in data analytics powering an omniscient recommendation engine that predicts what the users want. Moreover, products are pre-shipped over to regional warehouses before you even made the purchase online. Over this journey of digital maturity, one might be curious what else is next or what is E-Commerce 3.0? Jeff Bezos once famously said “Focus on the things that don’t change“. One thing that will never change is the increasing demand for better customer experience. E-Commerce 3.0 symbolizes an elevated shopping experience that transcends beyond just convenience and knowing what you want. E-Commerce 3.0 is about holistically making you feel good and knowing what you do not even know about yourself. Platforms like Amazon and Ali Baba have revived ‘brick and mortar’ retail stores in pursuit of this experience (Amazon Go). Others have done it by stratifying online memberships such as LiveUp from Lazada, Prime membership for Netflix catering to the needs of different user segments.
So What's Next?
Most people stop at E-Commerce 3.0 but we decided to go one step further - What does E-Commerce 4.0 look like? We came up with the key term "social". "Social" bears many faces, especially in these strange times. It could mean "social distancing" for those of us scarred by the pandemic. It could also mean "social commerce" where social influencers promote goods to be sold via social media channels under E-Commerce 3.0. Instagram has already started tagging products on images and multiple startups are utilizing social media as a mainstream channel to sell products. For us, "social" in E-Commerce 4.0 means "social impact". Up till E-Commerce 3.0, it has selfishly all been for the sake of individual consumer's benefit - his or her convenience, recommendation and experiences. We think that E-Commerce 4.0 will be based on a 'woke' consumer.
E-Commerce 4.0: The "Woke" Consumer
This particular consumer is not just concerned about how the product would benefit himself or herself but how it might benefit the people around him and even the supply chain and source from which the product originated. It bears the essence of ethical consumerism and sustainable purchases where it is not just the outcome of the product that matters but also the process of making the product and its end-of-life process. It is about making a difference in the world for every purchase being made. To achieve this, the "woke" consumer would have gone through a learning curve of understanding the product - where it came from, how it was made and where it will end up after being used. Pricing, convenience and experience will still be a prerequisite but this consumer will demand more than the basics. This would be our imagination of E-Commerce 4.0.
GreenDay: Ahead Of Times?
We would like to think that we are not very much ahead of times as that would mean fewer "woke" consumers around and less business for us. In this current age, we are not facing the lack of products to buy. If there are two elements in this world that are infinite in supply, they would be "products" and "content". What we need now is a way to filter out the best products and content from the noise. GreenDay specializes in curating sustainable products and services and match them with relevant content for consumers to understand the impact they are making. We strive towards our goal that every click on our mobile app will result in positive social impact. In these strange times, join this stranger app. Join GreenDay and see social change for yourself.
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