(This article was written by James Paine for Inc.)
Chances are that you've bought something online within the last year. For that matter, within the last few hours. E-commerce is a booming industry, and as brick and mortar retail continues to suffer, the Internet is picking up more and more of that slack.
But shopping online is more than just click and ship. Shoppers didn't spend hours in malls just because they wanted to buy, they want an experience. People want to enjoy their time shopping just as much as they enjoy opening the box when it arrives.
Luckily for consumers, the e-commerce industry is already on the case. With the endless possibilities of the Internet, there's no reason not to combine them with the daily shopping experience when we're on Amazon or eBay. Half the time, people end up buying things they weren't even looking for simply because of the utility of these sites.
This is why we developed our list of the top companies disrupting the e-commerce industry, to outline the incredible advances in online shopping that create a better experience for shoppers.
The consumer side of e-commerce is only half of the overall picture. In fact, there can be so much tailoring to consumers, that the B2B market gets cut off entirely. That's where Zoey comes in. Zoey has created the world's first B2B and B2C hybrid e-commerce platform. Businesses around the globe have begun to take notes from B2C platforms and integrate that design into the inner workings of their B2B operations. What used to be non-intuitive, utilitarian, legacy platforms are now becoming seamless and often beautiful workflows. By having a stellar setup on the backend, companies are seeing an increase in revenue and productivity.
Blucarat is working to bring social interactions to e-commerce through the power of social media. They've developed a 'social bar' which can be implemented on any e-commerce website to combine the shoppers social media experience with shopping in order to feel more sociable. This is Blucarat's way of making the Internet feel more like a mall.
Wazzat Fashion is taking a new look at how people shop online for outfits. One of the biggest problems they've identified is trying to find an outfit you love. Wazzat fixed that by creating an image recognition platform that lets you save an outfit you like and find similar looking outfits all across the web. It's an easy way to not waste time looking for what you love and get straight to ordering it.
AI seems to be powering a wide array of industries today, so why not e-commerce? Wayblazer has tapped into one of the biggest sections of e-commerce, travel and lodging. Powered by IBM's Watson, Wayblazer is able to make suggestions to travelers about transportation and lodging options to ensure they'll make the most out of their trip. It's a truly revolutionary way to revitalize the experience of travel.
Infinite Analytics' Conversational Commerce platform, ian, is your very own AI-powered personal shopping assistant. If there is something you're shopping for online it should not be difficult or time consuming to find. That's why ian was developed. By studying shopping behavior, ian is empowering retailers to provide highly targeted recommendations based on browsing habits. When it comes to online shopping, brands are able to put the human touch back into e-commerce to make it more of a personal experience.
Remember the last time you went into a grocery store and waited in line behind a woman who kept fishing through her purse for the right coupons? Well now Honey is doing that, but instead of looking through the purse, they're looking over the entire Internet in the blink of an eye. Honey instantly finds coupon codes that can be applied to your shopping cart while you're checking out. You never have to worry about overpaying again.
With so much thought given to delivering products, there tends to be a lack of attention to returns. Face it, without the touch and feel of in-store retail, returns are inevitable, and very frequent. Optoro is operating a reverse logistics platform that finds a place for returned goods. They're essentially a middleman between an unsatisfied customer and the company they purchased from. They then help the companies find a way to repackage, resell, or reuse their returned inventory.
Bloomreach's goal is to take the guesswork out of designing the digital shopping experience. They don't feel it's necessary to guess what customers want to see when they can learn it. Bloomreach is using machine learning and deep data harvesting to create content that users will love. Customers wants and needs change on a regular basis, but predicting those can be easy as long as the right technology is in place. With Bloomreach, you'll have an ecommerce platform that adapts to your market's needs before they even know it.
Payments across different currencies are very difficult to handle due to conversion and poor payment platforms. 2Checkout has developed the world's leading global payment platform that allows instant acceptance of foreign payments on any device. It's truly revolutionary for companies that work in the global space, especially in such a globalized world.