The New Age of Commerce is Approaching
Commerce is the field of hyper-evolution: new platforms appear regularly, creators who shape consumers’ habits rise and fall almost every month, and advertising technologies are getting increasingly sophisticated. The whole ecosystem is more complex and yet more exciting than ever, while the industry faces several challenges. According to Konrad Dorabialski, co-leader of Publicis Le Pont, commerce is not a silo expertise anymore. Big brands must break down silos, involve multiple capabilities, and focus on speed-to-market and efficiency if they want to stay at the top of the game.
Publicis Le Pont's Polish hub recently hosted a unique industry discussion on the future of commerce, with the participation of Konrad Dorabialski (co-lead, Publicis Le Pont), Andrew Pearl (VP marketing, insights, Profitero) Ali Amarsy (SVP, global product strategy lead, Publicis Commerce), Oliver Bradley (digital commerce experience design & content director, Unilever) Barbara Grabiwoda (chief strategy officer, Publicis Le Pont) and Guy Keeling (VP, global digital commerce, Barilla Group).
Here are the event's top conclusions of how the industry’s leading minds see the coming years.
Virtual Shopping After the Pandemics - and Expected Downturn
The coronavirus caused a major, unprecedented peak for the entire sector, but as things return to normal, some of the major e-commerce players reported a decline in online sales. According to Dorabialski, it is just a fully expected phase.
"After moving the whole traffic to online, market players had to increase resources. Now, when offline is back, a small downturn was obvious," he added.
Diminishing barriers between online and offline
All participants agreed that offline experience is here to stay but the role of physical sales must be re-defined - e.g. showroom function has to become far stronger than it is now and offline should also help generate online traffic.
"It is going to be a struggle if off and online are being positioned as competition - this silo approach has to go," noted Grabiwoda.
Keeling said, "We've learnt that e-commerce has huge potential, but offline has a heritage that can't be ignored - last year at Barilla, 5% of the sales were online. Also, it can be seen as a small proportion, but our online sales are one of the most dynamic segments of the company."
"As Arthur Sadoun recently said, thanks to data and technology, every brand experience can become a commerce experience, and every interaction has the potential to lead to commerce. This is what we believe in, adding that we should also diminish barriers between online and offline commerce," said Dorabialski.
Technology is Here to Help
Thanks to data and tech, every marketing experience generally comes with a commerce experience.
"Online is not a cheap way anymore, but it has the most sophisticated tools to boost sales, such as predictive analytics, that helps companies understand their customers in a very detailed manner. There is a huge room for improvement here as only 14% of companies use this technology. Talking about the future of commerce, we also see great potential in AI - e.g., creating personal shopping advisors who are making instant deals – negotiating and adding up to what is being desired at a particular moment. This is another great example of why the silos structure between online and offline should be narrowed down," said Pearl.
One Shot at Being Unmissable
The first experience for brands is on mobile, designing for screens demands different thinking, ecommerce has forced this change. “We have to understand shoppers experience brands on a screen before a physical shelf," said Oliver Bradley, adding that "Mobiles play the most critical role because of the growth of e-commerce, so when thinking about designing for screen, please understand people fast scroll and are less patient on their mobile. Attention spans are decreasing; we have one shot at being unmissable."
Choose Your Platforms Wisely
It's a cliche that in 2022 everyone and everything is on social media: people are using around four social networks each, regardless of age group. Each platform fulfills a specific need and breeds a particular habit.
"Designing for social commerce is designing for relevance. Based on our current observations, we believe that the more immersive the offering, the more we immerse ourselves in it," said Ali Amarsy.
2023 - Predictions
According to Dorabialski, the global climate will also determine the performance of e-commerce.
Still, the co-leader of Publicis Le Pont forecasts steady growth: "I suspect further expansion of online shopping, but brands must respond to the ever-demanding role of this world. Only those players who focus on speed-to-market and efficiency, react fast enough, and use a data-based approach will remain on the top of the game".
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