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Why ‘Digital Commerce’ became a thing in 2015

By December 17, 2015 No Comments

It’s in our mission statement. It’s what we talk about, with our clients, a LOT. And maybe it’s some kind of cognitive bias, but we’re starting to feel like we see it everywhere now.

There were a lot of innovations this year that made it easier for people to shop, and use technology to make purchases. That’s why we think 2015 was the year that ‘digital commerce’ became a thing. That is, the notion of digital playing a role in transactions, without them having to take place on retailer websites. The idea that offlines sales can be attributed to the influence of digital touch-points. The feeling that ‘ecommerce’ doesn’t go quite far enough, as words go.

Some examples of how digital commerce hit the scene in twenty fifteen…

MOBILE PAYMENTS

Ok, being able to buy stuff with your phone (as in, literally using your mobile phone – or indeed a smart device like a watch – as if it was some kind of debit card) kicked off in 2011 with Google Wallet, and then with more fanfare in 2014, with the launch of Apple Pay. And shopping on mobiles has been a thing for a while – 11% of people do it from the toilet, for heaven’s sake.
But 2015 has seen 700,000 merchants in the US adopt Apple Pay as a payment method, and it only launched in the UK this summer. (We’re still waiting for Android Pay and Samsung Pay…)What’s next? Worldpay predicts that more payments will be made via digital wallets than via credit cards by 2019. Due to the nature of this technology, expect to see fewer entrants to the market – consumers are likely to adopt whatever is accepted by most retailers, and there are already a few banks and even merchants (hello Starbucks) getting in on the action. As authentication technology improves, expect to start paying for stuff with your fingerprint, face, heartbeat or a picture of your ear (seriously).


INTERNET OF THINGS

Because nothing says ‘let’s take the fun out of buying detergent’ like having a button that re-orders the essentials for you, while you sit in your kitchen. And nothing says ‘I hate my kids’ drawings’ like ‘I hang my Amazon Dash button on my refrigerator’ (Amazon’s suggestion). But busy people (not sure who) use Amazon Dash to ensure they never run out of important stuff again. You see you’re running low on cereal or coffee sachets, you press the button, and it AUTOMATICALLY PLACES THE ORDER via your Amazon account. It even understand when you press it accidentally or too frequently, so that your (talentless) children can’t repeat order dog food, and you won’t drown in shower gel after too many pinot noirs.

What’s next? Hopefully these suggestions, such as batteries, cash, hot breakfasts and ‘random items from Amazon’ are taken by Mr Bezos, and we can just forget the whole browsing thing forever. Dominos has also launched a button for pizza, which “people can jab at for pies, like hungry rats do to get food in lab experiments” according to GrubStreet. Haha.

SOCIAL COMMERCE

OK, it’s not fully here yet. We can’t buy what someone is wearing in their latest profile picture. But it is surely a MERE MATTER OF TIME. The important thing is, PinterestFacebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have all made strides towards connecting content and commerce this year, understanding that people love to shop and they are generally in a product-hunting frame of mind when they log on to social media channels.

What’s next? Adoption of social media isn’t likely to fall away, especially as more and more publishers are relying on the likes of Facebook for content distribution now. Meanwhile, Twitter is letting brands start pushing Twitter adverts to people who aren’t even logged in to Twitter, so this one isn’t just for the kidz and sufferers of FOMO.

REAL-TIME RETAIL

Of course e-ink labels were trialled in Sainsbury’s in Shoreditch. OF COURSE THEY WERE. You unbearable hipsters! But this is actually pretty cool. Digital screens replacing the traditional paper labels on shelves in supermarkets (and, conceivably, other shops) is another #innovation that people didn’t even know they needed, but is quite helpful. For staff. Hard to see how it really helps the consumer, apart from making them more suspicious that dynamic pricing really is all around.

What’s next? Why can’t I scan the barcode with my iPhone and see the full nutritional information, add it to a wishlist, view the full product out of the box in 3D/virtual reality and receive suggestions for what shoes would match that dress? Why, world? Why?

THE FUTURE IS NOW

At FusePump, we believe that digital will soon play a role in every single transaction, making sales from any channel attributable to marketing activity. Through our data, software and people, we help brands and retailers make the most of this opportunity. 2016 will be another big year for ‘digital commerce’ – so stay tuned for more.