Online shopping – where would we be without it!

I really mean it, from organising flights and holidays to bargain hunting for clothes and even ordering food for dinner. It can all be done within a few clicks. As a consumer, the convenience of online shopping and the immense range of goods on offer is at the core of its appeal.

As web users, we are becoming more demanding of our online expectations and technology is feeding our demands with glossy websites, features and advertising that navigate us towards a full basket at checkout once we are repleat of browsing.

In an environment like this, where companies are trying to push ever forwards across a digital landscape, innovation in technology has fundamentally changed the ways in which we shop and the ways in which businesses can work with each other.

Blurring of boundaries

Technology giants like Google and Amazon are constantly moving into new areas. Amazon started off as an e-commerce bookshop and now sells everything from furniture to fashion. Google originated as a search engine and now has mapped out the world from every angle and is even pioneering driverless car technology.

This blurring of boundaries means that businesses, especially online ones, no longer occupy only one sector within a single set of competitors. Competition can also come from those in other sectors who see an opportunity and success can rely heavily upon meeting the required needs for development in order to meet the customer’s digital expectations.

Create a bigger pie

When I think about it, rather than viewing this as a competitive threat, the alternative approach is for people to collaborate and create a bigger pie for everyone to have a share of.

Shared technology and APIs are an important player in the digital field, where the likes of Google and Instagram have developed APIs and made them publicly available so that even a student learning how to develop a model-webstore can benefit from such areas as world mapping and personalised photo streams.

Levelling the digital playing field

Allowing other companies to benefit from these technological developments opens up opportunities for personalised business needs to be met, where available. If not made free and open source, any API your company may develop is likely to be of high digital value to your immediate competitors – let alone the greater expanse of the world wide web – and so by making it available at a low cost to those who desire it, while effectively levelling the digital playing field can benefit your company financially and help to keep you in a leading position for future developments or further APIs you may want to invest in.

If my increased mobile usage and decreased bank balance has taught me anything, it’s that the digital integration of online shopping and the real world has also opened our eyes to new social and consumer conventions that are rapidly gaining momentum.

Online and offline collaboration

Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest influence how consumers discover items and spend their money. Consumers can not only shop with friends, they can have a personal dialogue with their favourite brand. Our emotional experience is increasingly tethered to the digital experience – and in the case of SK Chase and our consumer site, What I Really Wanted, what will ultimately be a physical experience from each voucher purchased.

This is technology making online and offline collaboration possible in a much more meaningful way.

A digital integrator

At SK Chase, our gift voucher sites are in the unique position of being the digital integrator, the tether between the online world and the physical world. We link a vision that we implement from a virtual expectation to becoming a tactile experience.

We provide hotels with a support service to help them to best fulfill their online purchases in anticipation of becoming a memory and in my experience we are particularly excited to discover what the future holds for the development of this launch pad.