Friday, December 28, 2018

Commerce Trends 2019 & Beyond

Thomas John, Senior Director and Commerce Practice Lead
Technology / Strategy

Over the past couple of decades, the activity of buying and selling goods online became a usual part of daily life. However digital disruption continues to alter the commerce landscape and rewrite the rules of the game. As a result, customer behaviors are once again shifting drastically. Marketers need to keep a close eye on the systemic trends at play. Let’s take a look at what the future of commerce holds for 2019 & beyond.

Transactional Curation and Personalization

Over the past few years, we have seen a rise of curated content and personalization. The commerce space is not immune to the changes in customer behaviors and expectation of similar functionality in a transaction mode. In B2C markets, it will no longer be about flash sales or celebrity endorsements but instead it will be all about the curated products. This is beyond generic targeting based on products and goes into a direct relationship to the customer.

“39% of retailers want to harness the power of social network analysis. Machine Learning can help retailers uncover insights from a deluge of social data…”

Source: 2017 Digital Transformation

AI-Powered Personalization

In today’s hyper-commoditized market, where differentiating a business from the likes of giants like Amazon, Wal-Mart and Alibaba, is becoming increasing difficult; commerce companies are focusing on providing a differentiating customer experience. One of the means to accomplish this has been to use technology that drives a high degree of both content and product personalization. Technology platforms are quickly aligning to integrate AI platforms or partners to drive this high level of curation. This means that each customer is treated as an individual target segment rather than a part of a generalized mass.

A large percent of our population has been digitally active for over a decade. There is a massive amount of data out there to help create a much more complete understanding of your customers. This data has to be mined and scraped and this requires AI technologies to make sense of all the data and to help target and personalize experiences both in the digital and physical properties.

When Amazon came out with their widget to curate relevant content for you, it was the next best thing to sliced bread. Now this is just run of the mill capabilities that are expected from every commerce experience. We have a lot more data points available to us and by leveraging tech like AI and machine learning, we are able to process more data points to gain a 360 degree view of your customer.

Mobile Commerce

The companies that continue to succeed with their commerce strategy are also the companies that stress the importance of mobile commerce. The trend of mobile-first practice has evolved into a mobile-of-course practice. This evolution has resulted in mobile AI strategy which focuses on leveraging AI to help process data and impact experience in all your platforms. With speed being a critical factor in building a successful mobile commerce experience, AI will be a major player in creating the optimal transactional experience. In addition, mobile commerce is not achieved just simply creating a mobile friendly site. Mobile commerce is achieved by getting into App development and weaving a fluid digital story to allow the customer to seamlessly flow from one medium to another as needed.

New Technologies are the Same as the Old Technologies… Just Better!

Over the past 3 years there have been a rush to adoption of smart speakers like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. What has transpired is the aspiration and usage of these systems have changed. They are not the commerce pathways they were originally envisioned to be. They have evolved into media platforms. They are helping disseminate information via search.

“39 million Americans now own a smart speaker, an increase of 128% year-over-year.”
Source: Gartner Research

Just like the old Bob Dylan song, times they definitely are a changin’. We have the commerce experience to help our clients approach complex business requirements and achieve their strategic vision. Reach out to us to get started on your company’s digital transformation today.