Town Hall Series: The Future of Commerce

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In the last decade e-commerce has completely transformed. But now, where is e-commerce going? Adam Lashinsky, the Executive Editor of Fortune sat down to interview Marc Lore the President & CEO of Walmart eCommerce US and Sridhar Ramaswamy the Senior Vice President of Ads & Commerce at Google.

They two began the session with describing the new partnership between Google and Walmart. The idea to partner started with looking what each company was trying to do separately that could be better done together. With the current trends in artificial intelligence and personal assistants they began to see the future of the e-commerce was going to be big. While Walmart has been a part of Google’s shopping, their goal is really to create fast and seamless purchases.

Lore stated that while it’s very early in AI, he predicts that it won’t be long before a consumer will be able to talk to a voice assistance the same way you can talk to another person. The intention with these new products is that they know you like your family does, they will be everywhere from your car to your home.

But with these new products that collect all of this data, what about privacy? Ramaswamy thinks that the way to prevent the privacy issue is by being honest and open with your consumers. At Google, they make the information that they gather available to each consumer to access. From there, the consumer can control the settings on data collecting. “I think that there are many cases where you get a better product with opt-in data collection,” said Ramaswamy.

Another product of the future: grocery delivery in your fridge. This product created by Walmart will give the deliverer a one-time code to enter your house. Anytime throughout the delivery, the home-owner can watch on cameras. This product is still in testing in select locations but Lore thinks that this is one part of the future of ecommerce.

But before ecommerce can take these strides towards the future, it needs to improve. Right now with how our current ecommerce experience, you go online and get unlimited options. With to hopes of voice to make purchases, it requires one answer. The way to do this is with advertising experts and new technologies to improve that one answer.

As ecommerce continues to grow, so does the advertising for these products. In today’s Brick & Mortar stores we only have so much shelf space. With this growth in ecommerce the various product opportunities are endless. Advertisers will need to market products that are more specific to a certain consumer.

When asked about how they compete with their competition, the men said that their companies just try to focus on improving their company and their products. Ramasway says that it is hard to compare Google and Facebook because they are not the same model. Google works hard to get you the right information at your fingertips and Amazon is all about getting you to purchase. With Google’s partnerships, they predict that they will it easier to shop by combining various retailers in one space. They think that being a platform for these retailers is more successful for them than being a retail themselves.

In the next year, Google plans to roll out AR capabilities. This will help your camera animate objects. You would then be able to place your camera up to items to see reviews and buy it etc. Ramswamy thinks that this product will have a huge impact on ecommerce.

Together Google and Walmart are envisioning a bright future for the industry of e-commerce. Watch out for this partnership because they have big things in their future.

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