Digital marketing as a relatively new advertising method is gradually being recognized and accepted by people. However, in the coming years, 5G technology will be a fast game-changer in almost every aspect of the Internet of Things (IoT), including digital marketing. So, if you want to be a successful e-commerce merchant, you’ll have to seize new opportunities in the upcoming 5G era in order to stay on top. This article will help you predict and understand the possible impact of 5G on digital marketing and find out how online stores might develop in the future as a result.
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth-generation mobile communication technology after the 4G wireless connectivity. Its qualities are defined as ultra-high speed and capacity, ultra-low latency, low power consumption, and highly reliable transmission. We’ll let the engineers handle the technicalities of it; for digital marketers, 5G is not just a mobile communication technology in the traditional sense but a whole new business opportunity.
Current Limitations of E-Commerce
Lack of Interaction
Even for e-commerce giants such as Amazon, online shopping is often limited to communication via only text and pictures, unlike brick-and-mortar stores where customers can touch and try the product before deciding to buy it. There are currently many cases in which the actual shipped product doesn’t match its digital representation, and consumers end up buying products that are different from their expectations. It is only natural that they might worry about the quality of online goods and hesitate before making a purchase.
There are some cases where this communication can be pushed beyond the limit of text and pictures. In China, on e-commerce platforms such as Taobao, merchants can show their products to potential customers through short videos, which are an important part of a digital marketing strategy. Nonetheless, it remains a one-way communication method, and there is still a lack of effective interaction.
In addition to allowing customers to interact with the product, traditional physical stores always have sales people who advise customers and help them make the right purchase. The face-to-face communication also makes it easier to establish trusting relationships. To compete on this level, online stores need to find creative ways to interactively display their products and to gain customer loyalty.
Transaction Security Issues
Security problems are an important consideration in digital marketing and a major obstacle to the development of e-commerce. Online shopping requires doing transactions online and many people are unwilling to because they are worried about the safety of their personal and financial information.
According to reports, millions of customers’ personal data are exposed each year, resulting in harassment, scams and identity theft. No e-commerce platform is willing to lose a large number of customers because of privacy issues and a lack of payment security. However, putting such protective measures in place can be costly and still requires the customers’ trust.
The Key Technologies Enhanced by 5G in Digital Marketing
Improved User Experience (UX)
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can create an experience similar to shopping in a physical store. Thanks to 5G’s higher speed and lower latency, your customers could use VR and AR technologies to “walk” around in your online store and observe the products from different angles.
They might even be able to live test new clothes and feel their texture, or visually observe the size, color and placement of a furniture item in their own home. Furthermore, you could create a virtual persona that would be able to interact with customers like a salesperson in a physical store. This would, to a certain extent, resolve the problem of e-customers who cannot fully picture and understand the actual product as well as those who are unsure which product is best for them.
Also, 5G technology enables AI to access customers’ information faster and more reliably. With 5G data transfer speeds, AI technology can assist you in better conducting e-commerce activities. For example, if you run a restaurant, you can upload its basic information to a navigation platform through AI. When the customer browses a list of restaurants on an e-commerce platform, the AI assistant can recommend the best one based on the customer’s location and personal preferences, then make a convenient travel map to guide them. The ability to tailor results to a customer’s data can help significantly improve customer satisfaction.
Although 5G is not automatically free from the weaknesses of its predecessors, its design is being developed with these vulnerabilities in mind and, therefore, according to stricter standards. Additionally, measures are already being taken to protect and secure the information sent via 5G networks. Just a few examples include using AI to anticipate and defend against cyber attacks, mandating the encryption of information and properly coding the IoT. Furthermore, thanks to 5G, e-commerce platforms will be able to create virtual identities for your customers and store them on the blockchain, which will protect the privacy of your customers. Therefore, in the 5G era, e-commerce platforms will have new network security guarantees and your customers will be able to make transactions on a relatively safe, stable and reliable network.
How should you prepare for 5G?
Although it may take three to five years before the full 5G era arrives, this does not prevent you from planning ahead of time. With 5G, e-commerce platforms could evolve into personalization platforms. As access to new production and distribution devices and processes becomes more common, companies’ equipment and technology in a given industry will tend to be more equal. They will therefore rely on other ways to make their products stand out — such as by providing a personalized virtual shopping experience.
These changes will eventually shape our idea of a digital marketing strategy. So, if you’re an e-commerce company, here are some ways to get ready:
- Collect customer data and build a customer data platform.
- Considering the faster speed and lower latency of the 5G network, brainstorm some new, creative advertising ideas for your audience, such as a product display using AR and 3D technology or a high-definition slow-motion video demonstration, etc.
- Speaking of AR and 3D technology, plan to set aside a portion of your budget to buy VR and AI camera equipment in the future as it will definitely be expensive.
With these tips in mind, you now have a better idea of how to prepare for the coming of 5G and what it will entail for digital marketing. As new technologies and opportunities arise, innovation is becoming more and more necessary to not be left behind. So make sure to take full advantage of 5G in the future!
What are you looking forward to with the upcoming 5G? Do you have other creative approaches in order to adapt for it? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!