The future of e-commerce

Computing power has increased exponentially in the last decade, to the point where big data and machine learning have come together to make the customer experience richer and infinitely more simple. That’s according to Bill Zielke, CMO of Forter, an Israel-based startup with offices in San Francisco and New York that offers online merchants real-time fraud prevention with full chargeback protection. Here are his predictions about the future of e-commerce and payments.

1. People will be able to buy things online without a card number or authentication.

Today’s existing e-commerce model is rife with friction and puts tremendous burden on the customer. In the future, an individual’s digital fingerprint will allow retailers to know who a person is, as well as how he or she likes charges to be applied. “I liken this process to the notion of ‘just put it on my tab,'” he says. “The biggest benefit to me as a consumer is the zero friction and making that shopping experience a lot more transparent and customer-friendly from a choice standpoint.”

2. The boundaries between channels associated with online commerce will begin to blur.

Today retailers are focused on the surge in mobile transactions. While it’s certainly important today, five to 10 years from now categories will become more blurred regarding whether or not a customer is making a purchase on a mobile device, internationally or within the U.S., or from a PC using a web browser. As the consumer experience begins to look the same regardless of where customers enter to make a purchase, they benefit from increased seamlessness.  “Today how you buy on the mobile phone with scrolling and panning and the way you’re registering payment devices is in some cases highly different than what you might see on a website,” he says.

3. Fraud prevention and detection will be completely automated.

Real-time decision making will be based on rich data and machine learning and not manual reviews of transactions. “As a result there’s less friction to the customer and most importantly less cost and loss for merchants,” he says.

4. Retailers will escape the liability for fraud.

Merchants today own much of the burden associated with online ecommerce transactions. In the future as more companies use technology like Forter’s, retailers will no longer consider chargebacks a central metric to watch. “They can focus on growing sales and on the customer experience as a result of this new era of technology,” he says.

5. Payments will be all about what the customer wants.

Contrast this with today’s checkout flow which is centered around what payment forms the retailer offers. “In the future it will all be about what the customer wants and providing payment options based on their choice,” he says. “So, the customer decides how and when they want to pay, and they’ll drive the transaction more so than what we see today.”

6. Payments will be personalized for the customer.

You see personalization all over the place in the marketing arena with a big push toward providing customers content that’s relevant to them. In the future, such personalization will become part of the customer experience for payments on websites and other channels. For example, a ‘buy now, pay later’ option might be tailored specifically to students. Or, coupons and promotions could automatically be applied according to the importance of the purchase to the buyer, as well as someone’s sensitivity to price.

7. Same-day shipping will be everywhere.

People love Amazon Prime and its two-day shipping. This kind of gratification will only be more in demand as time rolls on. “Companies are moving toward testing one-day or same-day shipping, at least for some of their merchandise,” he says.

8. Merchants will need automation to fight fraud.

Today, many legacy systems still rely on manual checks by humans. Beating sophisticated fraudsters will necessitate automation and algorithms. “The legacy system can’t scale to process complex transactions,” he says. “Whether it’s an international transaction or a transaction coming in through mobile, in the short future those transactions can be done in a fully-automated way without the need for rules or the need for manual review.”

By Christina DesMarais