When you think e-commerce what comes to mind? For me, I think Amazon.com and eBay.com. I remember reading somewhere that Amazon wasn’t the first online bookstore, but in fact it was books.com – which is gone now by the way, and instead redirects to Barnes & Noble. Today, Amazon doesn’t just sell books anymore, heck I can even order 18-inch wheels from there. But, what comes next? The e-commerce market is already at a point of saturation and it comes down to a battle-of-the-brands. Do I order this book from Amazon? or Barnes & Noble? or even Walmart? Should I buy a Dell from Dell.com? or from Walmart.com?
I blogged about social e-commerce at the beginning of this year, and some things are getting rolling in Collier’s predictions, but we still have more to go before all her 2010 predictions are realized; sadly it won’t be 2010; we’re close I think, but I think social e-commerce is still a few years ahead. Its hard for these data silos to get broken down to really enable me to receiving recommendations from Amazon based on my Facebook friends or even tweets. Maybe I’m wrong.
But while these silos are up, m-commerce and augmented reality can go hand in hand, and it solves one of the problems faced by online shoppers; the “I’m not sure how this will look” problem. Its not a problem that every online store has, ex. I won’t question how a PS3 will look like in my living room, nor will I question how a Mac mini will look like on my desk, so its not a problem there. It is a problem when buying something bigger, like furniture, appliances, decorations, wall paint, etc. Things that either take a lot of room, or
might lead you to the dog house if your significant other does not approve take a lot of time to undo if you don’t like where you placed it.
For e-commerce a picture is not worth 1000 words for most products out there. In the crazy world between my ears, I would go to the new place I’m moving into this month, pull out my iPhone 3GS and go to Ikea.com and start up their augmented reality furniture browser. I can then load up all the furniture I’m moving from the old place and see how everything comes together. It will then recommend other products based on the data it’s collecting via my phone’s camera, maybe different colours? maybe furniture pads to prevent the table from scratching the hardwood? Perhaps it’ll recognize the TV and recommend a different place to reduce the glare in the morning since the windows face East?
Can it be done? I think so. The technology is already available. Where do you see mobile commerce heading in the next two years?