Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Fast delivery, subscription and DIY retail drive ecommerce

New Digital Age has partnered with Entropy for the launch of Digital Commerce for the New Decade, an event featuring brands including GSK, Stella McCartney, Pernod Ricard and HSBC.

Ahead of the event, we talk to some of the speakers to discover the latest innovations in ecommerce.

Andy Ayim, Product Lead at &us

How do you expect developments in digital commerce will affect your company over the coming years?

At  &us  we describe ourselves as an innovations and change consultancy – there’s been too much hyperbole and smoke and mirrors in the consultancy industry for far too long, and so we’ve stepped in to help brands and retailers get to their best selves faster.

This means we need to have a really realistic approach to ‘trends’… things like AI, machine learning, personalisation get talked about a lot, but our experimental  approach means that we would only ever recommend testing these technologies before incorporating them into an ecommerce strategy.

And also when it comes to digital developments, it’s not enough just for a new technology to exist – you need to train both organisations and end users to get the most of them. This is why AR in retail has taken so long to take off – the education and coaching in terms of how to get the most out of it just hasn’t been there.  

What do you think the biggest challenges are for the ecommerce sector and how can they be overcome?

From a consultancy  perspective, the rise of (often sustainable) DTC brands has totally changed the game. We’ve so much disruption in fashion, beauty and finance where more ethical and transparent brands are starting to increase their market share with an almost flawless brand reputation.

Fast delivery, subscription, even DIY retail has risen customer expectations, and unless the traditional brands adopt there’s going to be a lot more high street closures this decade.

As cheesy as it sounds, we encourage our retail clients to try and adopt a start-up mentality, which is where experimentation comes in.  

Have you seen any interesting digital commerce innovation recently that you’d like to share with readers?

The sharing economy is influencing our relationship with items that we used to traditionally own but now happily rent. Take  Temple  for example who allow consumers to rent furniture to go with their new home.

Or  Fat Lama  which allows you to rent almost anything. It will be fascinating to learn how this potentially impacts broader areas of our life from healthcare through to education. Peer to peer commerce will be huge this decade.  

How do you expect developments in machine learning and connected TV will affect digital commerce?  

My hunch is machine learning is going to reach a point where personalisation is genuinely relevant and helpful, but makes the job of customer experience people that much more complex and unpredictable.

Retailers will focus on how to make it work, whereas they should probably be investing time in how to recover from when it’s damaging for their customers, and for themselves.

My hunch on connected TV is it’s a vanity project, and any serious retailer needs to solve a lot of other things before it’s worth investing their money in it.   That being said, it would be a lovely innovation project to do. Just a bad investment that’s likely to give “innovation” a bad name. Start with the fucking problem people.

What will you speak about at Digital Commerce For The Next Decade on April 2nd?

Katie our lead strategist  and I will be talking about the power of experimentation for retail brands. Even in 2020 being an online retailer requires a huge amount of challenges  and pitfalls to navigate everything from the user’s journey to the speed of delivery – and developing a test-and-learn mindset is really important to staying one step ahead of your customer!

There’s been too much disruption in retail for there to be any other option. We’re going to encourage the audience to stop talking about ‘transformation’ (such a cliche!) and start acting on all the great ideas – big or small – they have.