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The Future of Online Shopping: Anything You See Can Be Yours

07/03/2013 14:29 | Updated 05 May 2013
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Internet shopping is now more popular in the UK than any other country in the world, with UK consumers spending an average of £1,083 a year on online purchases. While this is good news for British ecommerce businesses, those that didn't have a digitally focused strategy from the outset are now playing catch-up against a backdrop of dire consequences, as retail evolves away from the high street and towards digital.

It seems that hardly a day goes by without another high street retailer biting the dust. It's no secret that the traditional retail sector is in deep trouble, and it's clear from news of the closure of Jessops and the recent administration of HMV and Blockbuster that the troubles are real and present. Retail brands have been folding seemingly ten-a-penny in the last year, with JJB Sports, Comet, Game, Past Times and Barratts just a few of the household names to hit the wall. Crucially, many of the retailers who find themselves in trouble have one common issue: a lack of focus or success when it comes to their e-commerce platforms.

To combat this downturn, innovative solutions are essential to revolutionise e-commerce. Brands and retailers alike are in need of the tools to widen their digital footprint outside their homepage and to reward their loyal fan base. With the recession showing no signs of abating any time soon and purse strings tightening all over the country, it is more important that ever to revolutionise ecommerce by making it possible for brands and publishers to monetise consumer impulses through a distributed commerce model.

With leaps forward in retail technology, it is now possible to convert any type of content, including images, videos, live media broadcasts, maps and games on any device into a shop front - creating a world where anything you see can be yours. To put this in layman's terms, consider the following: you are watching an online video and like the song playing; with new ecommerce technologies you can purchase a digital download of the song instantly by hovering your mouse over the video. Looking at online pictures of the most recent red carpet event and fancy the clothing the stars are wearing? Simply hovering the mouse brings the things you want to your fingertips, letting you buy what you see instantaneously, directly within the content you're interacting with. The new dawn of ecommerce allows consumers to, for example, hover over a skirt that Angelina Jolie is wearing in an online picture, discover who the designer is, the price of the item and allow them to make an instant purchase.

The emerging concept of smart content is helpful to encapsulate these trends and to predict where the industry is heading. Do you have content? Do you want it to be smart content? Of course you do. Smart content is connected, targeted, and infinitely measurable. For brands and retailers smart content is contextually aware, distributed commerce. A way to merchandise directly to consumers, fuel impulse buying, learn about intent to purchase and it is zero cost, only revenue. Smart content is so connected that it knows your stock levels, it knows where you customers are and how much they are prepared to pay. Essentially, it can save you time and money before a consumer is even ready to buy.

In addition to benefitting consumers by enabling instant gratification and saving them the trouble of finding desired products and where to buy them, online publishers can now automatically monetise their online visual content, images and videos, with far reaching implications for revenue streams across the industry. For publishers smart content is a third revenue stream after advertising and subscriptions. Think you have publishing cracked just because you have a website and you have ditched your print edition? Think again - those are dwindling revenue models. Smart content is your free way to align yourself with your readers, increase time spent on your site and build loyalty. Thanks to precise targeting tools and a more visual consumer experience, innovations in ecommerce are bringing publishers significantly higher income and better engagement with consumers than traditional ad solutions.

Today's technology allows transactions to take place through multiple touch points and channels; as such, e-commerce is no longer king when it comes to consumer transactions online. At Kiosked, we believe that the model of distributed commerce, the 'web wide shop', is the disruptive force driving the post-web world for forward-thinking retailers to be able to reach consumers where they are.

As more and more household retail names go to the wall, brands are crying out for a new model of ecommerce and ready to embrace the smart content revolution. The brands who adapt their business models by partnering with the innovative ecommerce solutions that have a real understanding of where retail is heading, will stand to gain the most in the rapidly evolving retail ecosystem and ultimately see a tangible difference to their bottom lines.