As we enter the new decade, it truly feels as though the sci-fi predictions from the previous century are coming to fruition. One of the most hotly anticipated technological advances is the introduction of 5G technology: the 5th generation of mobile network technology that will supersede 4G LTE.
The arrival of uber-fast 5G will transform tech and is predicted to help drive the fourth industrial revolution. In today’s fast-paced world, we can all agree that slow connection speeds are exasperating, and appreciate faster streaming and downloads, but what exactly does this mean for eCommerce?
The Mobile Connected Generation
Global eCommerce revenue is set to increase rapidly over the coming years; one report suggesting that 5G technology will help drive $12 billion in new mobile commerce revenue by 2021. The introduction of smartphones (and the availability of cheaper devices) has brought the majority of the world online, leading to a massive increase in digital consumers, mobile browsing and purchasing.
Therefore, merchants have focused on optimising their online storefronts and checkouts for mobile devices, to create as smooth an experience as possible. With 5G estimated to be 100 times faster than 4G, it will make the online retail experience lightning fast and satisfy the desires of instant gratification buyers, driving sales as conversion rates increase.
Seeing is Believing
The staggering speeds of 5G will also help drive accessibility and development of other technologies, such as augmented reality and virtual reality. With AR and VR, consumers will have the convenience and luxury of being able to see products in lifelike detail, without having to be in the store.
Imagine being able to browse clothes and home furnishings in 3D, in situ, rotating and zooming in on details, all from the comfort of your own home. The latency of previous and current networks has meant that the user experience has been somewhat clunky, due to the massive amount of data required in order to create a smooth and reliable service.
But this is all set to change with 5G technology. The massive increase in data transfer speeds will provide more of a seamless experience for consumers, allowing AR and VR to come into their own and provide responsive, real-life product interactivity.
“Can AI Help You?”
Brands are already using chatbots and virtual assistants to improve customer experience in retail, and 5G technology will facilitate instant communication to help answer frequently asked questions, as well as driving the development of AI algorithms further.
Clothing stores such as H&M are seeing success with this, by developing a chatbot that provides apparel recommendations based on consumer preferences. Your own personal shopper, in your pocket! Cool, right?
It’s important to remember that smartphones are not the only devices that benefit from increased network speeds, and support eCommerce. The massive spike in wearables and smart speaker sales is set to continue, and with devices installed throughout our homes and attached to our bodies at all times, retailers have even more opportunities to reach consumers in contextual environments.
This multi-device shopping phenomenon will extend into fascinating new areas, including fridges that can make their own orders to restock products that are running low. Once again, 5G will help revolutionise the way we interact with the Internet of Things, with high-speed data transfers at ultra-low latencies.
The content that can be pushed to devices with 5G technology will be more immersive, as detailed and data-heavy product content, videos and AR experiences (as seen above) can be transferred and downloaded almost instantaneously. The role of content-driven commerce experiences will enable businesses to thrive and create connected customer engagements.
It is challenging to predict exactly how this will affect each industry, however, the key attribute for businesses will be to remain flexible as the eCommerce journey is transformed, and ensure that they understand the needs of their customers in order to apply the technology appropriately.
The 5G rollout has started in countries such as the U.S. and China, and will revolutionise retail. Is your business ready for the super-fast 5G future?
If you would like to know more about how the introduction of 5G will impact your market, contact our industry experts for further information and find out how eWave can prepare your business.