Do you know the first ever online purchase made was of a Pizza from Pizza Hut in 1994?
But that was 1994. With giant innovative players like Amazon and EBay, online shopping has changed a lot today, and has become the most convenient way to buy things.
But the rolling ball of innovation doesn’t just stop at time saving and convenience. It also includes providing a best in class user experience in its what-to-provide list.
Every once in a while e-commerce companies introduce new ways to provide us a better shopping experience. Take Amazon’s 1-click payment system, for example, which even made Steve Job to use it in the iTunes store.
But what new like this we would be seeing in e-commerce soon? Are you having the same question in mind? To satiate your curiosity and mine as well, I studied patent filings done over the last year on e-commerce technologies.
And selected five most interesting e-commerce patents that enhance the user experience. And yes compiled them in a list which I have presented for you below!
But before you move ahead, I have a point to make: please note that the order of these patents doesn’t reflect their ranks. And I am not saying that the technology of patent at #1 position is superior to that at #2 or #3 in any way
1. Purchase Products by Clicking Images
It happens a lot, when we see a product in a newspaper or in a TV ad; we have to search the whole website to buy that particular product. The patent saves us from the mess here. You just have to take a picture of that product and an app will navigate you to the purchase page of that product.
However, to make on the fly online purchases you have to install the mobile app of the website. Moreover, the product that you scan must have a QR code to provide its information, reads one embodiment of the patent.
2. Ebay’s Relevant Translation Based on User Feedback
The second patent in our list focuses on a global problem of many non-English speaking customers. E-commerce poses unique challenges when dealing with differing languages as it has to provide accurate information when a customer searches for a product. Any compromise in the accuracy of the result could lead to an unhappy customer.
EBay’s patent 20150248457 knocks this problem out of the water. The patent describes incorporating a language translator in their website that helps users from different geographies to get what they were looking for.
The translator doesn’t only compare two different languages to return results, but also focuses on the relevancy. Moreover, it increases the level of relevancy by taking feedbacks from customers.
For example, let’s consider a Russian making a purchase from EBay. He enters a query in Russian which gets translated to English as EBay’s inventory has items marked in English.
Consider that the entered Russian word gets translated into red burgundy. Now in the past, 8 out of 10 times Russians purchase a red burgundy dress rather than a red burgundy wine glass. Thus, in the Russian context, the red burgundy dress is highly relevant as compared to red burgundy wine glass or the other options.
3. Amazon’s Weight-Based Shipping System
Flat shipping is much sought by every online shopper. But how many times you get the shipment gets delivered at a flat rate? Did my question remind you of Aryabhata’s discovery?
Some items, like detergent, have a low average selling price but are heavier. Then there are lighter with a high selling price, Smartphones for example. Providing free shipping for an item like detergent makes an eCommerce company to suffer a loss due to its high shipping cost. And shifting this burden to consumers will deter them from making purchases online.
A good company is always consumer centric. Well, the patent – weight based shipping – proves that Amazon is one such company. The patent mentions weight based flat shipping that is a kind of solution that leaves both Amazon as well as their customers better off.
According to the patent application, when you add a particular item in your shopping cart, Amazon suggests you other relevant items based on their dimension and weight. Also, it checks whether there is enough room available for all the items to fit into a single box or not, thus balancing the shipping charges to a minimum.
4. Amazon’s 3D Webpage
This patent is not directly related to eCommerce but, will play a subtle role in improved user experience for eCommerce websites.
At present, different eCommerce websites, for a closer view, let you pan and zoom the product you want to purchase. What if an online shopping site gives you a 3D view of a product? Won’t it be better than a pan and zoom?
Amazon’s patents 20150082145 and 20150082180 talk about rendering such a 3D webpage on your smartphone screen. The 3D view will get rendered when you will tilt, rotate, or performs a gesture or touch input.
And in response to your gestures, the elements of a webpage – images, text, buttons and etc., – will move back and forth or otherwise change shape or appearance.
Apart from that, the patent mentions changing the web page content based on your peek. When you “peek” around the display screen to view a particular content, it gets highlighted, emphasized or otherwise provides more information about the content.
For example, gazing at a laptop displayed on a screen among many may provide you additional information like the processor configuration, battery lifetime, colors available, and the likes. Seem like Amazon wants to make clicking a thing of the past.
This patent, no doubt, takes shopping experience with Amazon to a whole new level.
5. Forget Smartphones, Shop Online from Your Television
Forget Smartphones, you can shop online from your television. Yeah, that’s what our next patent says.
What do you do when you want to purchase that product whose advertisement you have just seen on your TV set? You leave your couch, make a phone call or go online to purchase that product.
But soon that’s going to be a thing of past. This patent by EBay will make it possible for you to shop a product right away from your smart television. Moreover, it’s not like you have to make the purchase right away, you can also add the product to your wish list or shopping cart to purchase it later from your smartphone or laptop.
All of the above-listed Ecommerce patents help their company constitute a better user experience. Who would not like to make purchase from a company that provides better value, better product viewing options, at better price and saves time as well? Every online shopper, I guess.
Hey, it’s high time, have your say by chiming in the comment box below!