Marcel Hollerbach is the Chief Innovation Officer at Productsup, a Berlin-based product-to-consumer (P2C) company that empowers brands like Sephora, Aldi & Sony to reach customers over 2,500 channels.
What are you most excited about in the digital industry in 2023?
Although 2023 may continue to be a year of uncertainty, there are exciting changes ahead, especially for companies and businesses immersed in eCommerce, as there will be more spaces where brands can spend their budget and show up.
TikTok’s success in the app market has certainly been noteworthy with a growing number of users that spend a significant amount of time on the app. It will be interesting to see how TikTok’s rivals respond to its growth and success and how this may impact the overall app market.
The consumer tech hardware space is also experiencing a revival. More of Big Tech and even other industries are now seeing the value of owning the hardware themselves with it being valued at $2 trillion. For instance, the car industry is getting smarter about developing and owning the devices in its cars, where it has a ‘moat’ against other tech hardware providers. Whilst hardware has traditionally been a no-go area for VC money, a new wave of software-embedded hardware in restaurants, drones, and elsewhere could kick off a new era.
What are you most positive about for your business in 2023?
It’s been a strong year for Productsup, having secured a funding round and acquired World of Content. Coming off of these milestones, we’ve been working on advancing our platform to better support our customers and meet the evolving needs of today’s businesses. New trends demand that companies understand how to control the flow of product information across various channels, including the metaverse.
Our platform is an opportunity to deploy a P2C strategy, which helps businesses navigate complexity and use the latest technologies to differentiate brands from competitors.
How will the digital industry, and your company, help make life better for consumers or partners in 2023?
The commerce space is becoming more and more complex, and it’s not slowing down in 2023. Businesses can’t continue to keep up with manual, outdated processes to compete with the big players. The increasing number of channels available to reach consumers can make it difficult for brands and retailers to manage their product information.
This impacts sales and brand loyalty if brands provide customers with inconsistent or confusing product information. Our P2C (product-to-consumer) platform helps companies streamline how they bring products to buyers, adding efficiency, lowering operating costs, speeding up time-to-market, driving sales, and improving customer engagement.
What technologies have you been most impressed with this year and which will have the most impact in 2023?
The future is moving steadily towards the massive implementation of Web3, the next generation of the internet, as it points towards a decentralised and user-controlled system, allowing for greater interoperability and security. Nor can we forget the adoption of the metaverse and digital collectibles. While it’s been slow to come to the mainstream, the metaverse advancement has happened quite quickly since Meta first shifted its focus in 2021.
Brands like Microsoft and Louis Vuitton are experimenting in this virtual space to anticipate future trends and satisfy new consumer expectations. Nike has released virtual sneakers as NFTs, allowing customers to own unique digital versions of their products, while Gucci has also launched an NFT-based art project showcasing the work of contemporary artists. And data shows these digital collectible experiments are working and appeal to younger audiences – Gen Z shoppers ranked Nike and Gucci as some of their favourite brands in 2022.
According to recent research, Gen Z consumers are more likely to purchase in the metaverse and are particularly drawn to virtual experiences that allow them to see how products would look in real life, such as through augmented reality glasses. Furthermore, over half of the consumers would be more likely to make purchases in the metaverse if they could buy and return products faster than through traditional means. For the metaverse to be successful and generate significant revenue, it needs to focus on offering real-life benefits to consumers, such as faster and more efficient shopping experiences.
What, if any, positive impacts on the digital industry could an economic downturn have?
As some companies tighten budgets and pull back on projects, it creates more space for others to take up. It’s very likely we see new major players come out of this downturn, as we’ve seen in previous downturns.
For instance, advertisers are spending less, which means businesses continuing to increase ad spend will likely see big deals or incentives. It also means less competitors across channels you’re trying to reach your audience. To come out of the economic downturn in a strong position, companies need to be willing to take risks.