The Retail sector is still facing a period of strong instability at worldwide level: on one side demand is timidly picking up again, on the other great uncertainty on the advancement prospects of physical distribution persists. In this scenario, though the store is still key to the relationship between companies and consumers, it is destined to undergo a deep transformation. The inception of new sales channels (first and foremost eCommerce) exonerates the store from being the point of access to products: the store becomes a connection location where consumers can experience effective and satisfying relations with the company.
B2c eCommerce is increasingly significant. It is estimated that in 2017 the value generated by online purchases worldwide will exceed 2,000 billion euros, with 750 bil€ in China (14% penetration of online sales over total retail orders), 550 bil € in USA (15% penetration), and with 500 bil € in Europe (9% penetration).
In 2017 eCommerce B2c in Italy exceeds 23 billion euros, + 16% from 2016. The growth of the online market is largely due to increased product purchases: +25% compared to +8% of services. With such trends, for the first time in the history of Italian eCommerce, the worth of products in 2017 is equivalent to that of services: 11.5 billion euros.
In this scenario it is quite simple to see how the development of effective logistic services is always more important and represents an increasingly indispensable element for the success of B2c eCommerce. To this regard, the ability to offer delivery services tailored to customer needs emerged as one of the main competitive elements on which the challenges of the near future will be played. It is not a coincidence that the most advanced merchants are very active on this front with new experimentation aimed at ensuring delivery speed and flexibility.
eCommerce B2c continues its growth also in 2017. In this scenario one of the challenges for sector players is making online purchasing ordinary by improving customer relations through the design of an effective user experience.
To obviate the remote sales issues some merchants are resorting to artificial intelligence, considered a solution to simplify the consumer interaction process. Chatbots are without question among the most interesting applications in this area. They are artificial intelligence based software applications capable of understanding natural language and of having conversations with users, provide pre and post-sales assistance and purchase support to web shoppers. These features make chatbots a valuable aid in the development of eCommerce, so much that sector giants have already launched some experimentation.