HWM (Singapore) - - Ed's Note - Zachary Chan EDITOR

First it was in­for­ma­tion. Then it was com­mu­ni­ca­tion. In time, e-com­merce be­came the norm. Now, we are sit­ting in the com­forts of our own homes and buy­ing every­thing from bob­ble-head fig­urines to sil­i­con spat­u­las shaped in the like­ness of a cer­tain dark lord.

How­ever, the idea of home shop­ping isn’t all that new. Be­fore we re­lied on the click of a mouse or the tap of the fin­ger, we were rack­ing up credit card bills buy­ing du­bi­ous prod­ucts on TV shop­ping chan­nels. What the in­ter­net brought to the ta­ble was a so­cial el­e­ment to shop­ping. Whether you pur­chased di­rectly from on­line malls, blog shops or auc­tion sites, there was a new level of in­ter­ac­tion be­tween buy­ers, sell­ers and ev­ery­one else who wanted to chime in. And the scene con­tin­ues to evolve.

In this is­sue, we ex­plore ma­jor emerg­ing trends of e-com­merce, mainly the in­tro­duc­tion of new el­e­ments to the on­line shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence such as e-concierge ser­vices that don’t just let you shop on­line, but will go hunt for the things you want and buy them for you, adding a hu­man touch back into a dig­i­tal ser­vice. The boom­ing shar­ing econ­omy has also be­come a global phe­nom­e­non, blur­ring the lines be­tween buyer and seller where ev­ery­one can choose to sell or rent their own ser­vices, as long as there is a de­mand. You can ap­par­ently even rent chick­ens on­line now.

And the back­bone of this new dig­i­tal mar­ket­place is the ubiq­ui­tous smart­phone and a ro­bust app ecosys­tem. What? You thought I was go­ing to say the in­ter­net? The in­ter­net gets due recog­ni­tion of course, but it is the smart­phone that al­lowed us to take the in­ter­net with us every­where we go. It is also the smart­phone that pushed UI (User In­ter­face) and UX (User Ex­pe­ri­ence) de­sign, sim­pli­fy­ing the way we in­ter­act with the in­ter­net through apps that make it all pos­si­ble.

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