Series: The A-Z of E-Commerce (Part 5)
E-commerce has revolutionized the way consumers shop and a single umbrella term is no longer sufficient to encompass the extent to which e-commerce has expanded and will continue to expand. This article is the final part to a five-part written series which explores the A-Zs of lucrative e-commerce opportunities.
With the increased incidence of mobile commerce, stylist commerce has increased in popularity. Stylist commerce refers to fashion styling advisory services and item sourcing through digital platforms. Apps have emerged, such as one offered by Bree Jacoby, who offers personal styling services on a membership basis, both in-person and virtually. Digitizing personal styling services has allowed the industry to target interested but underserved groups, such as working mothers who do not have the time to think about how to appear polished and would prefer to outsource this to a professional. The future of stylist commerce will see platforms leveraging similar functionality as WeChat, where users will be able to use a single platform to chat with their personal stylist, browse personally curated online stores created by the stylists featuring the clothing selected for the client, and purchase items directly through the app.
Tailor commerce allows users to digitally schedule tailoring services to their own homes through online platforms such as websites and apps. Tailor commerce has begun to take off through 3D apps, such as one offered by online retailer ASOS, where users can take a photo of themselves to try on and check sizes virtually before making a purchase. In Japan, robot tailoring has also been introduced by retailer Start Today, which offers clients a special bodysuit equipped with technology that captures the wearer’s measurements to a very high degree of accuracy when taking pictures. The client must take pictures in the bodysuit, which can then offer a 3D layout of the wearer’s body measurements in an app that tailors can use to create clothing remotely. The future of tailor commerce will see a combination of offline and online servicing, where apps will employ technology to allow users to receive virtual tailoring services and facilitate tailors hired for home services. A multipurpose app will be essential to maintain the high standard of customer experience associated with personal tailoring services and provide clients with choices. The second application of t-commerce is therapy commerce, which has seen several apps such as Talkspace emerge to allow users the option to receive live video therapy and text message therapists when needed.
Venture capital commerce will streamline the process of private investing and increase transparency and accessibility of private equity financing opportunities. Already, separate apps exist for opportunity discovery and networking. Platforms such as AngelList are among the most popular for opportunity discovery and feature data to identify lucrative investments. Under-the-radar apps such as AngelList Wings exist to provide information on the startups, founders, and investors of AngelList. For networking between venture capital professionals, LinkedIn remains the frontrunner, while other platforms such as EquityBee and Clear.Co assist start-up companies with raising capital. The future of venture capital commerce will see the current apps offering data-directory, background information, and networking functionalities combined under a central platform that will allow venture capitalists to make informed investment decisions.
Wealth management commerce has advanced considerably with the availability of independent platforms where users can autonomously make investments without requiring a third-party. A pioneer in this respect is Robinhood, a platform which is credited with making the stock market accessible to all. However, such platforms are missing the education and knowledge aspect of investing, which are often offered by third-parties. The future of wealth commerce will combine accessibility with expertise by enabling users to receive services from a qualified fiduciary income advisor, either remotely or through a house call, to make private wealth and investment services accessible to all. While home private wealth services are available, they are generally reserved for a small percentage of the population and remain largely inaccessible for most. Currently, only 15% of Americans receive financial advice. Digitized wealth management commerce could vastly increase this figure by providing widespread accessibility to a greater number of people.
X-ray commerce is an application of e-commerce that will vastly simplify the lives of many patients seeking medical care. X-ray commerce facilitates portable x-ray services for patients interested in at-home medical care. X-ray commerce has become increasingly popular across elderly clientele, who may be too frail or simply lack the desire to commute to a hospital to receive x-ray treatment. The future of x-ray commerce will see clients across all generations interested in receiving at-home x-rays, primarily to avoid high wait times and exposure to any diseases or viruses. As such, x-ray commerce is expected to transition to digital media such as to the internet or mobile app, where clients will be able to schedule appointments through the click of a button.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, zoos have shifted their business models to offer customers online zoo and aquarium experiences in the absence of in-person visits. Much of this content is live and allows users a degree of interactivity which mimics the traditional zoo experience. As such, the online opportunities are expected to grow as remote, at-home experiences grow in popularity. The future of zoo commerce will leverage technology such as drones in countries with native exotic animal populations to provide users with immersive experiences in the comfort of their own home. Further technological advancements such as artificial reality will be able to accentuate this.
The pandemic has expedited the evolution of e-commerce by showing us that the opportunities are not only endless, but by confirming that e-commerce can continue to evolve and be a critical part of business today and in the future. For the preceding articles of this A-Zs of e-commerce series, refer to part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.