Mash Snack: What has changed in digital commerceDecember 11, 2020
This year has seen some changes in digital commerce, where will it go from here?
And I think it’s become a huge extension of the contactless commerce we’ve already seen emerging. Tap and pay is the big one and the huge surge and trust in online shopping in the last 10 years has all contributed to that. I mean, this extension has been covered previously and sometimes it’s been thought to be impossible and not ideal for some services, like for example, wine tasting. I mean, one of our clients started shipping wine and providing videos and live tasting events. So that was pretty cool. It’s not really something you’d normally think about if you’re a retailer of a consumable product.
Various forms of entertainment as well. You probably don’t really think about this as part of digital commerce, especially when it’s free. Getting through lockdown, I watch a lot of London’s National Theatre. There was also Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Shows Must Go On, The Australian Ballet, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. These were all offered up for free with the hopes that you will donate. There were donate links to all of that, hoping that they’ll be able to sort of keep themselves afloat, which is really, really important with the arts because it’s severely underfunded as it is. Look, that’s a whole other episode I could rant about.
So I watched those things a lot more than Netflix or Stan, things like, you know, the classic streaming platforms, because, you know, you’re in lockdown, getting into a movie or a new TV show can kind of be too much of a commitment and sometimes I’d switch off mentally. But there’s something about live entertainment that I think fires the synapses in your brain a little bit better.
Obviously it’s no substitute for going to the theater or a concert, but I’m sure there’s a psychological explanation for that. Again, whole other episode. But a lot of these platforms are going to continue offering their live performances online, ongoing. So even though we’ll be allowed to be in the mosh pit or be at the theater soon enough, it sort of expanded who can come and see these shows so, you know, you don’t have to travel.
And that’s a really great side effect of the new digital commerce age, accessibility. For example, people that might not have had the opportunity to visit a restaurant in the city, they’re all getting high-class food delivered almost statewide here in Victoria. There’s new companies like Providoor that are delivering restaurant-quality food from all the top restaurants.
So most importantly, people from regional areas are those even with a disability suddenly have more choice, more access to training, dining, entertainment, and experiences that would generally need a trip or some assistance to accomplish. And that’s a great consequence of this digital commerce age. Brands are forced to take action on educating themselves on digital commerce faster than they thought of. They might’ve been planning on doing it in a couple of years, but, sometimes the kick in the butt is a good thing. And I believe this is one of those times where necessity to survive has just hastened the inevitable. Either embrace digital and pivot your offerings or sink.
And here at Mash, we’ve had many conversations with prospects where they would really balk at the idea of e-commerce or even a managed website, you know, with maintenance. But, you know, we’ve probably launched three times the amount of e-commerce websites during this time because everybody’s information, everyone’s products needs to be updated like super quickly.
One really cool one which is probably the one that will scare most people if they don’t trust digital is personalized commerce. So it’s not new. Automation has been tracking what pages you look at on a website, what your competitors you’ve checked out for a while now. This is like an AI that…that just tracks you.
And if you’ve ever wondered why you get an email with a discount or deal just a few hours or minutes after browsing a website for the second or third time, well, that’s why. They know you visited. You may have signed up to their newsletter, or you may have added stuff to cart and then abandoned it. And then when you check it out again a couple of days later, they’re like, okay, good, this is another opportunity to get these guys to buy. So that was the beginning of personalized commerce.
Of course, nowadays websites can also dynamically show content on their homepage that’s tailored to you. You might navigate to a shop that sells clothes, and you’re gonna see a whole bunch of different stuff than if your next-door neighbor did because of your browser history, demographics, prior purchases, and things like that. So it’s kind of there to mimic the service of an in-store experience. So, you know, you walk in, the store attendant comes up to you and asks you what you’re looking for and then shows you. So the website’s now doing that based on the AI that it’s been programmed with.
2021 was always poised to have this kind of commerce increase and its availability, but the surge of online shopping I think has brought about a larger shift than everyone first thought. So those are my thoughts on digital commerce for 2021. Of course, these things are so changeable and, you know, there’s new technology coming out all the time so it’s kind of fun to keep an eye on it, and yeah, happy shopping.