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How Ecommerce Will Empower Individuals In the Decade Ahead

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The average person sees up to 10,000 ads every day. No wonder people just throw money at whatever — they’ll buy something they don’t need, something that doesn’t fit them or won’t help them. It can be a perpetual need to spend. Then the guilt hits, and more than half of all Americans say that they regret spending on things they didn’t need or can’t use. 

A single Black Friday sale generates $74 billion worth of regretted spending in the U.S. alone. Then, these unwanted purchases get sent back. Approximately $66.7 billion worth of product was returned during the 2021 holiday season alone. These shopping frenzies aren’t just detrimental to your bank account; they are slowly destroying the planet as well. Consumers tend to return the purchases they regret, causing unnecessary emissions and contributing to the global waste crisis.

Moreover, despite the large amounts of advertisements, 33% of all goods throughout the globe remain unsold. This ends up bloating retailer inventory and prices because companies predict the cost of unsold items and factor it into the retail price of their products. What do you think happens to those unsold products? Once again, they’re conveniently shipped to a landfill. It’s gut-wrenching to know that the fashion industry alone produces 92 million tons of waste every year. 

However, there’s something interesting on the horizon. Thanks to continuous technological innovation, a storm of change is coming, empowering consumers to shop consciously and purchase goods that they’ll keep and enjoy.

Related: Why You Should Bet On the Future of Ecommerce

Throwing out the one-size-fits-all approach

There are changes taking place all around. For example, fast fashion isn’t an option anymore. Modern, well-informed and deeply concerned consumers aren’t making purchases based on impulse. They aren’t buying things just for the hype. More and more people are opting for buying less — while buying quality products.

Technology helps brands bring their A-game. Some of the biggest retailers in the world are now integrating state-of-the-art technological solutions to offer a uniquely personalized approach and experience to their customers. For example, Dickies (a popular urban clothing brand in the U.S.) implemented 3DLOOK’s AI-first solution that allows the shopper to take two snaps of themselves and get instant feedback on what size would fit them best. Farfetch, Prada and Piaget are using virtual try on solutions, and Amazon rolled out a full-blown production of made-to-measure T-shirts. In all, we see major brands across industries make use of technologies at scale.

Augmented reality merges with fashion 

Another very interesting novelty that will play an instrumental role in ecommerce is the integration of AR glasses. Snapchat has launched their fourth- generation spectacles, available only to developers. The tech already looks promising, making it possible to create various AR objects and effects that can be superimposed on the real world. According to tech gurus and futurists, people will be looking at the world through the lens of AR glasses rather than the glass screen of their smartphones. There’s no question that ecommerce will experience some fabulous changes powered by AR technology.

AR glasses can potentially be used to superimpose different clothing styles, designs and sizes onto yourself. The potential is enormous. As of now, 53% of developers and tech specialists claim that they lack the resources and solutions to design these personalized experiences, but the innovation is quickly catching up.

Fast forward to 2032. What will ecommerce look like?

In 10 years, ecommerce will revolve completely around the customer — not the brand’s P&L or ROI. The whole online retail will be completely personalized and tailored to the needs of each person. How is that possible, you might ask? Simple: With the help of technology.

Imagine a world where you have a digital passport — an app on your smartphone that stores different data points regarding your shopping behavior and patterns. Imagine that technology effortlessly storing important information such as your body parameters, suitable and exact sizes across multiple brands, the changes and adjustments when you gain or lose weight, etc. All of this information synchronizes in a blink of an eye, merging with your social media activity, history of purchases, planned events and so on.

This information will allow for the highest level of personalization of everything you consume. You’ll see job ads that are right for you and only you, nutrition programs that your refrigerator will order automatically upon demand and even video games with your unique avatar.

On social networks, in the mail and even on billboards (yes, with AR glasses they will make sense), you will see ads for only the products that you really need and that suit you based on your digital passport.

Product pages on ecommerce websites will recommend only the clothes that will actually fit you and complement your wardrobe, based on your parameters, preferences, purchase history, lifestyle, upcoming plans and so on. You’ll instantly be able to see what it would look like on you in dynamics, and you will be able to try combining it with other items from your virtual closet.

The product page of a furniture store will show not just a catalog, but exactly what furniture will fit within the parameters of your home, your body parameters (height and weight measurements) and lifestyle. The production of custom-made furniture based on the parameters of the customer’s body is not at all a distant future.

Related: 3 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Tailor Their Ecommerce Strategy for Maximum Growth

Yes, by 2032 you’ll have a smart wardrobe that will order custom-fit clothes based on the real-time data in your smartphone, and you’ll be receiving your goods via drone delivery.

Just imagine going for a casual walk or to grab a cup of coffee and seeing a dress that you absolutely must have. Your AR glasses will quickly show you where the dress is available (even when what you’re seeing is offline), the sizes it’s available in, what brand it is, etc. Moreover, imagine your gadget automatically transferring your body measurements to the manufacturing and initiating the creation of the same shirt, tailor-made just for you and delivered to you by a drone the same day. Imagine never having to go out to buy clothes or even having to think every morning about what you want to wear. 

Ecommerce is going to become more empowering and personalized for each individual. That’s a future we can believe in. 

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