The end of e-commerce as we know it

Let`s talk a little bit about important trends that probably will change our world in the future.

Voice interfaces, simplicity and aggregation

“Don’t make me think” is not a new idea. Customers don’t want to spend a lot of time on shopping or searching for the things they want. This hasn’t changed. What changed is time  -  they want to do it quicker and expect great User Experience along the way. They operate in so-called “micro moments” [1] – a moments of transition between activities in their lives.

Looking at research [2], we see that people who use voice assistants get hooked instantly. The reason may lay in fact they use the most familiar human interface — voice. This makes it easy to check the weather forecast or find the recipe for a cake. Asking and getting the answer is faster than searching the internet and reading articles. People like simplicity because it helps them save time — simple as that. It is about how we can search through the data and how we can present it. Searching through the data is easy when data is correctly prepared. Probably it is important for you that you can search for information by asking only one question.

Places where information are gathered are called “aggregators”. Every day we use aggregator like Amazon, Google or eBay.

Because we leave so many of our personal data with each interaction, we expect not only to find something, but to actually find the one thing we’re looking for.

You may search for new t-shirt but even if you get recommendations of trendy products, you still need to decide which one is best for you. Probably you will spend a lot of time on making decision but will it be the right choice?

Personal data protection

When we talk about personalization and your data, we need to mention hot trend of personal data protection. This trend was accelerated by Facebook & Cambridge Analytica data scandal. It resulted in new regulations being introduced within European Union (General Data Protection Regulation). You want to protect your data, but you also want to get personalized recommendations instead of many things which just don’t fit your style.

Now we have the golden times for startups specializing in personal data protection and we can expect a slew of new products addressing fields of personalized recommendations. In the future data will be not gathered by companies but they will be kept by every customer. Customers will then “hire” personalization agents, which will provide the needed personalization layer. Shops will give our agents access to search through many products. This component may have filters to choose proposition which are as close as possible to your preferences.

The role of human advices

It is not like Artificial Intelligence will be the only advisor who will be listened by us with no doubts. In the future there will be a space for services and people who could advice you to make the right decision. Why? Because we, as a people, strongly believe in advices given by others. And we should remember that there is a blank space in Artificial Intelligence competencies — based on data it can predict a lot but it has no intuition and there is no chance for AI to predict Black Swan Event (an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact). So human support will be appreciated.

Scenario of the future: voice assistant

Scenario of the future conversation between Tom, a math teacher in medium-sized city, and Mr. Green, personal assistant on devices installed in Tom’s kitchen.

Tom: Mr. Green, we need to cook something tasty for dinner for me, Lucy, James and Joana. It should be good for everybody and I don`t have much time. What can you recommend?

Mr. Green: Tom, should I send request to Lucy, James and Joana and check their preferences?

Tom: Yes, please.

Mr. Green: OK, I have them. I suggest a great Burrito Spaghetti Squash Boats recipe —easy to cook and will be really tasty for everyone. You can see how it looks like on my screen.

Tom: WOW, looks great! Go ahead and order ingredients in the nearest shop and set the delivery for 5pm, ok?

Mr. Green: Sure.

How we plan to prepare for the future like that?

In Hycom we are creating hymate — a conversational interface that will help online shops increase conversion on mobile devices. With this interface we want to read shop’s catalogue and show it to the user with voice assistant. It will take time, and we are now on the prototype step, but we believe that hymate helps our clients to be ready for this vision of the future.


  1. Google, “Micro-Moments Now: New consumer behaviors you need to know” 

  2. Google/Peerless Insights, “Voice-Activated Speakers: People’s Lives Are Changing,” n=1,642, U.S. monthly active voice-activated speaker owners (Amazon Echo/Dot and Google Home), A18+, Aug. 2017.

  • Ewa