The eCommerce industry has come a long way since its inception. From being a mere alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar stores, it has evolved into a powerhouse that is transforming the way we shop. With the rise of technology and the internet, eCommerce has become an integral part of our lives, and it’s only going to become more important in the future. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the latest trends and predictions that are shaping the future of eCommerce. From the growth of mobile commerce to the rise of voice search, we will delve into the factors that are driving the industry forward. So, get ready to discover the exciting world of eCommerce and what it holds for the future.
The rise of voice commerce
How voice assistants are changing the way we shop online
As technology continues to advance, voice assistants have become an increasingly popular tool for online shopping. With the rise of virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, consumers can now use their voice to search for products, compare prices, and even make purchases without ever having to touch a keyboard or screen.
This shift towards voice-based commerce has been driven by several factors, including the growing popularity of smart speakers and the convenience they offer. According to a recent report by eMarketer, over 128 million people in the US will use a smart speaker at least once a month in 2021, up from just 35 million in 2017.
The use of voice assistants for shopping has several advantages. For one, it allows consumers to search for products and information hands-free, making it easier to multitask while shopping. Additionally, voice assistants can provide more personalized recommendations based on a user’s past purchases and browsing history, making it easier to discover new products that may be of interest.
However, there are also some challenges that come with the rise of voice commerce. One of the biggest concerns is privacy, as voice assistants are constantly listening and recording user interactions. This has raised concerns about how this data is being used and stored, and how it could potentially be accessed by third parties.
Despite these concerns, the trend towards voice-based commerce is likely to continue. As more consumers adopt smart speakers and become accustomed to using voice assistants for shopping, it is likely that voice commerce will become an increasingly important part of the eCommerce landscape.
The impact of voice commerce on eCommerce businesses
As the use of voice assistants continues to grow, the impact of voice commerce on eCommerce businesses is becoming increasingly evident. Voice commerce, also known as voice shopping, refers to the use of voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri to make purchases online.
One of the key benefits of voice commerce for eCommerce businesses is the convenience it offers customers. With voice assistants, customers can easily place orders, check product availability, and get product recommendations without having to physically interact with their devices. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as higher sales.
Another benefit of voice commerce is the ability to reach new customers. As more and more people use voice assistants, eCommerce businesses that offer voice shopping have the opportunity to reach a wider audience. This can be especially beneficial for small businesses that may not have the resources to reach a large audience through traditional marketing channels.
However, there are also some challenges that eCommerce businesses need to consider when it comes to voice commerce. One of the biggest challenges is the need to optimize their website and product listings for voice search. This means using natural language and including relevant keywords to ensure that their products are easily discoverable by voice assistants.
Another challenge is the need to provide a seamless voice commerce experience. This means making sure that the checkout process is easy and efficient, and that customers can easily access their order history and other important information through voice commands.
Overall, the impact of voice commerce on eCommerce businesses is significant and will continue to grow in the coming years. As more and more customers turn to voice assistants to make purchases, eCommerce businesses that are able to offer a seamless voice commerce experience will be well-positioned to succeed in the highly competitive world of online retail.
Increased use of AI and machine learning
How AI is transforming the eCommerce landscape
As the eCommerce industry continues to grow and evolve, one of the most significant trends is the increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. AI has the potential to revolutionize the way online retailers do business, from improving customer experience to streamlining operations. Here are some ways AI is transforming the eCommerce landscape:
Personalized shopping experiences
One of the most significant benefits of AI in eCommerce is the ability to provide personalized shopping experiences for customers. By analyzing customer data, such as browsing history and purchase history, AI can recommend products that are tailored to each individual’s preferences. This not only improves the customer experience but also increases the likelihood of conversion and repeat purchases.
Chatbots and virtual assistants
Another way AI is transforming eCommerce is through the use of chatbots and virtual assistants. These AI-powered tools can provide customers with instant assistance, answering questions and resolving issues in real-time. This not only improves customer satisfaction but also frees up time for human customer service representatives to focus on more complex issues.
AI can also be used to analyze large amounts of data to make predictions about customer behavior and trends. This can help eCommerce businesses make informed decisions about inventory management, pricing, and marketing strategies. For example, AI can predict which products are likely to be popular in the future, allowing businesses to adjust their inventory levels accordingly.
Improved search functionality
Finally, AI can be used to improve search functionality on eCommerce websites. By analyzing customer search queries and behavior, AI can suggest more relevant search results, making it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for. This not only improves the customer experience but also increases the likelihood of conversion by making it easier for customers to find products they’re interested in purchasing.
Overall, AI has the potential to transform the eCommerce landscape in many ways, from improving the customer experience to streamlining operations. As the technology continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how businesses leverage AI to stay ahead of the competition and meet the changing needs of customers.
The benefits and challenges of implementing AI in eCommerce
Benefits of implementing AI in eCommerce
- Personalization: AI algorithms can analyze customer data to provide personalized recommendations, which can improve customer satisfaction and increase sales.
- Efficiency: AI can automate repetitive tasks such as inventory management, order processing, and customer service, allowing eCommerce businesses to operate more efficiently.
- Predictive analytics: AI can analyze data to predict future trends and customer behavior, enabling eCommerce businesses to make informed decisions and optimize their operations.
- Enhanced customer experience: AI-powered chatbots can provide 24/7 customer support, reducing response times and improving customer satisfaction.
Challenges of implementing AI in eCommerce
- Data privacy and security: AI algorithms require large amounts of data to function effectively, which can raise concerns about data privacy and security.
- Bias and discrimination: AI algorithms can perpetuate existing biases and discrimination if not properly designed and trained.
- Cost: Implementing AI solutions can be expensive, and may require significant investment in technology and personnel.
- Ethical considerations: There are ethical considerations around the use of AI in eCommerce, such as the potential impact on jobs and the need for transparency in decision-making.
The growth of social commerce
The rise of social media platforms as sales channels
Social media platforms have come a long way from being mere channels of communication and entertainment. Today, they have evolved into powerful sales channels that businesses cannot afford to ignore. The rise of social commerce is transforming the way people shop and is creating new opportunities for businesses to reach their target audience.
Increased adoption of social commerce by businesses
More and more businesses are adopting social commerce as a sales channel. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok offer businesses a way to showcase their products to a large audience, engage with potential customers, and drive sales. Social commerce enables businesses to create a seamless shopping experience within the social media platform itself, allowing customers to browse, compare, and purchase products without leaving the platform.
Social media platforms as marketplaces
Social media platforms are also becoming marketplaces in their own right. Facebook, for example, has launched its own marketplace where businesses can sell their products directly to customers. Instagram has also introduced shopping features that allow businesses to tag their products in their posts, making it easier for customers to purchase products directly from the platform. Other social media platforms like TikTok and Pinterest are also exploring ways to integrate e-commerce functionality into their platforms.
Increased personalization and targeting
Social commerce is also enabling businesses to personalize their marketing efforts and target their audience more effectively. Social media platforms offer a wealth of data on their users, which businesses can use to create targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with their audience. Social commerce platforms also allow businesses to collect data on customer behavior and preferences, which can be used to improve the customer experience and drive sales.
Social commerce as a key driver of eCommerce growth
Social commerce is expected to be a key driver of eCommerce growth in the coming years. According to a report by eMarketer, social commerce sales in the US are expected to reach $20.97 billion in 2021, up from $11.96 billion in 2019. The rise of social commerce is being driven by changing consumer behavior, with more and more consumers turning to social media platforms to discover and purchase products.
In conclusion, the rise of social media platforms as sales channels is transforming the eCommerce landscape. Businesses that ignore the potential of social commerce do so at their own peril. By embracing social commerce, businesses can reach new audiences, personalize their marketing efforts, and drive sales.
Strategies for leveraging social media to drive eCommerce sales
As social commerce continues to grow, businesses need to implement effective strategies to leverage social media platforms to drive eCommerce sales. Here are some strategies to consider:
Utilizing Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a powerful strategy that involves partnering with social media influencers to promote products or services. Influencers have a large following and can help increase brand awareness and drive sales. Businesses can collaborate with influencers to create sponsored posts, product reviews, and unboxing videos that showcase their products.
Offering Social Media-Exclusive Discounts
Offering exclusive discounts to social media followers is an effective way to drive eCommerce sales. Businesses can create a sense of urgency by offering limited-time discounts or promotions that are only available to social media followers. This can encourage followers to make a purchase to take advantage of the offer.
Leveraging User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool that businesses can use to showcase their products and build trust with potential customers. UGC can include customer reviews, testimonials, and photos or videos of customers using a product. Businesses can leverage UGC by featuring it on their social media profiles, website, and email marketing campaigns.
Creating a Seamless Shopping Experience
Providing a seamless shopping experience is essential for driving eCommerce sales. Businesses can integrate their social media profiles with their eCommerce website to make it easy for customers to make a purchase directly from a social media post. This can include adding a shopping cart button to social media profiles or creating a social media landing page that links to a product page.
Utilizing Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising is a powerful way to reach a targeted audience and drive eCommerce sales. Businesses can create targeted ads that are tailored to specific demographics, interests, and behaviors. This can help increase brand awareness and drive traffic to the eCommerce website.
By implementing these strategies, businesses can leverage social media to drive eCommerce sales and grow their online presence.
The future of mobile commerce
The growing importance of mobile devices in eCommerce
As technology continues to advance, mobile devices have become increasingly important in eCommerce. In fact, it is predicted that by 2025, mobile commerce will account for more than half of all eCommerce sales.
One reason for this growth is the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets. These devices offer consumers a convenient and accessible way to shop online, regardless of their location. Additionally, mobile devices allow for a more personalized shopping experience, as they can be used to access a consumer’s shopping history and preferences.
Another factor contributing to the growing importance of mobile devices in eCommerce is the increasing availability of mobile payment options. With the rise of mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, consumers can now make purchases directly from their mobile devices, eliminating the need to enter credit card information.
In addition to these factors, the growth of mobile commerce is also being driven by the increasing availability of high-speed internet access on mobile devices. This has made it easier for consumers to browse and shop online, even when they are on the go.
Overall, the growing importance of mobile devices in eCommerce is a trend that is likely to continue in the future. As mobile devices become even more integrated into our daily lives, it is likely that mobile commerce will play an even larger role in the world of eCommerce.
Emerging trends and technologies in mobile commerce
The rise of augmented reality in mobile commerce
One of the emerging trends in mobile commerce is the integration of augmented reality (AR) technology. AR allows customers to visualize products in a more realistic way, improving their shopping experience. Retailers can use AR to create virtual dressing rooms, allowing customers to try on clothes virtually before making a purchase. AR can also be used to provide customers with a 360-degree view of products, allowing them to examine products from all angles. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way customers interact with products, leading to an increase in sales and customer satisfaction.
The growth of voice commerce
Another emerging trend in mobile commerce is the growth of voice commerce. With the increasing popularity of virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, customers can now shop using their voice. Voice commerce allows customers to make purchases hands-free, making it easier and more convenient for them to shop. Retailers can optimize their mobile sites and apps for voice search to make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for. Voice commerce is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, making it an important trend for retailers to consider.
The use of artificial intelligence in mobile commerce
Artificial intelligence (AI) is another emerging technology that is changing the landscape of mobile commerce. AI can be used to personalize the shopping experience for customers, making it more relevant and tailored to their needs. Retailers can use AI to analyze customer data and make recommendations based on their browsing and purchase history. AI can also be used to improve the efficiency of the supply chain, making it easier for retailers to manage their inventory and fulfill orders. As AI technology continues to advance, it is likely to play an increasingly important role in mobile commerce.
The importance of mobile optimization
As mobile commerce continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important for retailers to optimize their mobile sites and apps for mobile devices. Mobile optimization involves making sure that the site or app is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and provides a seamless shopping experience for customers. Retailers can also use mobile optimization to improve the checkout process, making it easier for customers to complete their purchases. Mobile optimization is crucial for retailers to remain competitive in the mobile commerce space.
The impact of COVID-19 on eCommerce
How the pandemic accelerated the growth of eCommerce
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on eCommerce, accelerating its growth and changing the way businesses operate. With lockdowns and social distancing measures in place, consumers have been forced to turn to online shopping platforms to purchase the goods and services they need.
This shift to eCommerce has been particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have traditionally struggled to compete with larger companies in the physical retail space. With the ability to reach a wider audience and operate with lower overhead costs, SMEs have been able to thrive in the online marketplace.
Additionally, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which are helping businesses to better understand their customers and improve their eCommerce operations. By leveraging these technologies, businesses can provide more personalized experiences for their customers, improve their supply chain management, and optimize their marketing efforts.
However, the rapid growth of eCommerce has also brought with it new challenges, such as the need for businesses to adapt to changing consumer behavior and the rise of new competitors in the online marketplace. To succeed in this new environment, businesses must be agile, innovative, and able to leverage the latest technologies to stay ahead of the curve.
The long-term effects of COVID-19 on the eCommerce industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the eCommerce industry, driving growth and accelerating the adoption of digital technologies. While the short-term effects of the pandemic on eCommerce have been well-documented, it is important to consider the long-term effects as well.
Changes in consumer behavior
One of the most significant long-term effects of COVID-19 on eCommerce is the shift in consumer behavior. With lockdowns and social distancing measures in place, consumers have increasingly turned to online shopping as a safer and more convenient alternative to in-store shopping. This shift has led to a permanent increase in online sales, with many consumers continuing to shop online even after the pandemic subsides.
Acceleration of digital transformation
The pandemic has also accelerated the digital transformation of many businesses, including those in the retail sector. With physical stores closed or operating at reduced capacity, retailers have had to adapt to the new reality by investing in eCommerce platforms and digital marketing strategies. This shift towards digital has led to a more competitive and dynamic eCommerce landscape, with businesses of all sizes vying for a share of the online market.
Changes in supply chain management
Another long-term effect of COVID-19 on eCommerce is the changing nature of supply chain management. With global supply chains disrupted by lockdowns and border closures, businesses have had to find new ways to manage their inventory and fulfill orders. This has led to a greater emphasis on local sourcing and on-demand production, as well as the adoption of new technologies such as AI and machine learning to optimize supply chain operations.
The rise of social commerce
Finally, the pandemic has also accelerated the rise of social commerce, with more consumers turning to social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to discover and purchase products. Social commerce allows businesses to reach new audiences and engage with customers in new ways, and is expected to become an increasingly important channel for eCommerce in the years to come.
Overall, the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the eCommerce industry are complex and multifaceted. While the pandemic has caused significant disruption and uncertainty, it has also spurred innovation and transformation, leading to a more dynamic and competitive eCommerce landscape in the years to come.
The importance of sustainability in eCommerce
The growing consumer demand for eco-friendly products
Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their purchases, and this trend is driving the demand for eco-friendly products. As more people become aware of the negative effects of climate change and environmental degradation, they are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and make more sustainable choices. This is especially true for younger generations, who are more likely to prioritize sustainability when making purchasing decisions.
One of the key drivers of this trend is the increasing availability of eco-friendly products. As companies invest in sustainable production methods and materials, they are able to offer a wider range of environmentally friendly products to consumers. This includes everything from reusable bags and water bottles to sustainable clothing and home goods.
Another factor is the rise of social media and online platforms, which have made it easier for consumers to learn about and connect with companies that share their values. Social media influencers and sustainable living bloggers are helping to spread the word about eco-friendly products and encouraging their followers to make more sustainable choices.
Overall, the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly products is a trend that is likely to continue in the future. As more companies invest in sustainable production methods and materials, and as consumers become more educated about the environmental impact of their purchases, the demand for eco-friendly products is likely to increase. This trend is likely to have a significant impact on the eCommerce industry, as companies look for ways to meet the growing demand for sustainable products and services.
Strategies for incorporating sustainability into eCommerce businesses
One of the most pressing issues facing eCommerce businesses today is sustainability. With increasing awareness of the impact of human activity on the environment, customers are becoming more conscious of the environmental footprint of the products they purchase. As a result, eCommerce businesses must adopt sustainable practices to remain competitive and meet the needs of environmentally conscious consumers. In this section, we will explore some strategies for incorporating sustainability into eCommerce businesses.
Use eco-friendly packaging
One of the most visible ways that eCommerce businesses can incorporate sustainability is by using eco-friendly packaging. This can include using recycled materials, biodegradable packaging, or packaging that is designed to be reused or recycled. By using eco-friendly packaging, businesses can reduce their environmental impact and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.
Implement energy-efficient practices
Another strategy for incorporating sustainability into eCommerce businesses is by implementing energy-efficient practices. This can include using energy-efficient lighting and appliances, implementing recycling programs, and using renewable energy sources. By reducing energy consumption, businesses can lower their carbon footprint and save money on energy costs.
Offer sustainable products
Offering sustainable products is another way that eCommerce businesses can incorporate sustainability into their operations. This can include sourcing products from sustainable suppliers, using materials that are renewable or recyclable, and designing products that are durable and long-lasting. By offering sustainable products, businesses can appeal to environmentally conscious consumers and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Encourage sustainable behavior
Finally, eCommerce businesses can encourage sustainable behavior among their customers by providing information about sustainable practices and offering incentives for environmentally friendly behavior. This can include providing information about recycling, encouraging customers to use public transportation or biking to make purchases, and offering discounts for customers who use reusable bags or packaging. By encouraging sustainable behavior, businesses can foster a culture of sustainability and promote environmental responsibility among their customers.
Emerging eCommerce business models
In recent years, subscription-based models have gained immense popularity in the eCommerce space. This model involves customers paying a recurring fee to access a product or service on a regular basis. Here are some key trends and predictions for subscription-based models in eCommerce:
Growing demand for subscription services
One of the key trends in eCommerce is the growing demand for subscription services. Consumers are increasingly opting for subscription-based models that offer convenience, flexibility, and affordability. This trend is expected to continue in the future, with more and more consumers seeking out subscription services for a wide range of products and services.
Increased focus on customer experience
To remain competitive in the subscription-based eCommerce space, businesses will need to focus on delivering a high-quality customer experience. This includes providing personalized recommendations, offering seamless checkout and billing processes, and providing excellent customer support. Businesses that prioritize customer experience are likely to see increased customer loyalty and retention.
Emphasis on sustainability and ethical sourcing
As consumers become more conscious of the environmental and social impact of their purchases, subscription-based eCommerce businesses will need to prioritize sustainability and ethical sourcing. This may involve sourcing products from environmentally friendly suppliers, using eco-friendly packaging, and offering recycling programs. Businesses that prioritize sustainability and ethical sourcing are likely to attract environmentally conscious consumers and build a positive brand reputation.
Integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning
As artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies continue to advance, subscription-based eCommerce businesses will have the opportunity to leverage these technologies to enhance the customer experience. For example, businesses may use machine learning algorithms to provide personalized product recommendations based on customer behavior and preferences. Additionally, chatbots powered by artificial intelligence may be used to provide 24/7 customer support and assist with checkout and billing processes.
The rise of niche subscription services
As the subscription-based eCommerce market becomes increasingly crowded, businesses will need to differentiate themselves by offering niche services that cater to specific customer needs. This may involve offering subscription boxes for specific hobbies or interests, or providing access to exclusive content or experiences. By offering unique and targeted services, businesses can attract and retain a loyal customer base.
Marketplace and platform models
The eCommerce landscape is constantly evolving, and one of the most significant trends in recent years has been the rise of marketplace and platform models. These models have disrupted traditional eCommerce businesses and have become increasingly popular among consumers and businesses alike. In this section, we will explore the marketplace and platform models in more detail.
A marketplace model is an eCommerce platform that connects buyers and sellers, allowing them to transact directly with each other. This model has become increasingly popular due to its ability to provide a wide range of products and services from multiple sellers, all in one place. Examples of marketplace models include Amazon Marketplace, eBay, and Alibaba.
One of the key benefits of the marketplace model is that it allows small businesses to reach a wider audience, without having to invest in their own eCommerce platform. Additionally, marketplaces can provide consumers with a wider range of products and services, often at lower prices, due to the competitive nature of the platform.
Platform models, on the other hand, are eCommerce platforms that allow businesses to create their own online stores, but also provide additional services such as payment processing, shipping, and logistics. Examples of platform models include Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento.
The platform model provides businesses with a more customizable and flexible solution, allowing them to create their own branded storefronts and manage their own inventory and customer data. Additionally, platform models often provide businesses with access to a range of third-party apps and integrations, allowing them to customize their eCommerce experience even further.
Both marketplace and platform models have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, and businesses should carefully consider which model is best suited to their needs. However, one thing is clear – the marketplace and platform models are here to stay, and are likely to play an increasingly important role in the future of eCommerce.
The potential of blockchain technology in eCommerce
As eCommerce continues to evolve, one technology that is gaining significant attention is blockchain. Blockchain technology is a decentralized, digital ledger that records transactions across many computers. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way eCommerce transactions are conducted.
Benefits of blockchain technology in eCommerce
- Security: One of the biggest advantages of blockchain technology is its security. Transactions are recorded on a public ledger, but they are secured using cryptography. This makes it nearly impossible for anyone to alter or tamper with a transaction once it has been recorded.
- Transparency: Blockchain technology is transparent, meaning that all transactions are visible to everyone on the network. This can help to prevent fraud and ensure that all parties are held accountable.
- Speed: Transactions on a blockchain are processed much faster than traditional payment methods. This is because there is no need for intermediaries, such as banks, to verify transactions.
- Cost-effectiveness: Because there are no intermediaries involved in blockchain transactions, they are often cheaper than traditional payment methods.
Use cases for blockchain technology in eCommerce
- Payment processing: Blockchain technology can be used to facilitate payments between buyers and sellers. This can help to reduce fraud and increase the speed and efficiency of payment processing.
- Supply chain management: Blockchain technology can be used to track products through the supply chain. This can help to ensure that products are authentic and have not been tampered with.
- Identity verification: Blockchain technology can be used to verify the identity of buyers and sellers. This can help to prevent fraud and ensure that all parties are who they claim to be.
- Smart contracts: Blockchain technology can be used to create smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts that automatically execute the terms of an agreement. This can help to reduce the need for intermediaries and streamline the eCommerce process.
Overall, the potential of blockchain technology in eCommerce is vast. As more businesses explore this technology, it is likely that we will see more use cases emerge.
1. What is eCommerce?
eCommerce refers to the buying and selling of goods and services online. It has become a significant part of the global economy and has been growing rapidly in recent years.
2. What are the current trends in eCommerce?
The current trends in eCommerce include the rise of mobile commerce, the growth of social media shopping, the increasing use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the shift towards a more personalized and experiential shopping experience.
3. What are the predictions for the future of eCommerce?
The predictions for the future of eCommerce include continued growth and expansion, with a focus on personalization and innovation. There is also a forecast for increased use of augmented reality and virtual reality in eCommerce, as well as the potential for greater integration with other technologies such as blockchain.
4. How is eCommerce changing the retail industry?
eCommerce is changing the retail industry by providing consumers with more convenient and accessible shopping options, and by allowing retailers to reach a wider audience and compete more effectively. It is also driving innovation and disrupting traditional business models.
5. What challenges does eCommerce face in the future?
Some of the challenges that eCommerce may face in the future include increasing competition, security and privacy concerns, and the need to keep up with rapidly changing technology and consumer preferences.
6. How can businesses prepare for the future of eCommerce?
Businesses can prepare for the future of eCommerce by staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies, focusing on providing a personalized and seamless shopping experience, and being flexible and adaptable in the face of change. They should also prioritize investing in security measures to protect customer data and transactions.