In 2022, we saw it all.
Iranian protests, soaring inflation, political unrest between China and the USA, the death of the UK monarch, the global population touching 8 billion, and lastly the Russian-Ukraine War were just some of the major issues in 2022. After living through a year rife with head-turning events such as the above, only a naive and juvenile mind would expect 2023 to be different. We are already seeing the negative consequences of some issues carried forward from 2022, such as the Russian-Ukraine War, inflation leading to a cost-of-living crisis, particularly in the United Kingdom, and many others.
However, in the face of all this, consumer demand has been monumentally high, aggravating the already heightened inflation worries.
In this dynamic and uncertain world, businesses need to learn about the latest trends in commerce in order to leverage these trends for their own survival and strategic growth. Thus, this piece is targeted at providing a snapshot of the same.
- The United States of Amazon
An organization with the caliber to be a global marketplace can assume the power to significantly influence global events. Multinational corporations (MNCs) have the capability to become full-fledged countries due to the ample monetary resources available at their disposal. The result of Amazon’s global revenue and market capitalization exceeds the GDP of 92% of the world’s economies.
These MNCs can assume political power through the following method: buy some land, get its consumers (subscribers in the case of Amazon) to turn into citizens through incentives, demand taxes rather than subscription fees, and offer governance services.
By building its own country where the MNC makes the rules, it could build a strong economic system whereby there will be faster delivery of services, which in turn increases the demand for those services and will subsequently give the MNC room to raise taxes (subscription fees).
Thus, it is advised to join these marketplaces rather than compete with them.
- Do As AI Says! Personal Digital Twins
As humans, we are driven by emotions like greed, fear, and temptation. Due to our lack of awareness, we can frequently make bad decisions. However, with the trends in AI development continuing the way they are, no doubt AI will soon penetrate human decision-making too. What’s expected is a model that outlines the series of events each decision will culminate into.
In 2022, the world was introduced to the idea of a “digital twin,” which is an advancement of ordinary AI simulation. It tries to mimic the processes of its physical system and uses the knowledge at its disposal to inform rational decisions for improvement.
Thus, there is an undeniable possibility of such a digital twin being constructed for each individual, who will have full-time access to all the online content and devices the individual uses. This will help the digital twin understand the individual and provide the most rational decision-making support. Technology such as this will drastically affect purchasing decisions. Consumers will become more rational than emotional, and the brands are advised to focus more on the rational aspects of their products than on their sentimental value to consumers.
- Scare tactic: sustainability: frightening consumers into action
It is an undeniable fact that many consumers prefer ‘Rapid Consumerism and Want Fulfillment’ from their favorite brands rather than ‘Green Business Activities’. Due to legal constraints, cigarette companies were forced to disclose the lethal effects of their products. A similar proposition is possible for all the brands in the marketplace.
Just like the cigarette companies, other brands could visually showcase the consequences of ‘Rapid Consumerism and Want Fulfillment’ on the environment at online checkout points. These consequences vary from child labor to pollution, etc.
A brand that partakes in the above acts can garner a solid goodwill foundation and consumer loyalty.
- BCI with a Buy Button
Every emotion or thought that a human has can be converted into a shoppable moment. This can be possible with advancements in AR and MR as well as the application of brain-computer interface (BCI).
Originally made for paraplegic individuals so that they could control their devices with their brain waves, BCI is slowly penetrating e-commerce activities. It eliminates the need for a screen, and the device can be controlled with our thoughts. In commerce, this would mean that a person can easily place online orders with his own mind by the power of thought alone.
- The Metadead: The Never-Dead Experience
This trend is, in my personal opinion, scary. It discusses access to a deceased person through the magic of AI avatars and the metaverse. Starting with post-death consumerism, an AI can be taught a person’s financial and spending habits when they were alive so as to continue similar financial habits even after the person’s death.
Similarly, an AI can be ‘taught’ a person’s entire personality. This AI model will be adorned with an avatar that resembles the real person whose personality is mirrored. Finally, this AI is stored in the metaverse, offering an eternally coded version of a real person.
Companies believe that this virtual simulation of a person can be offered on a subscription basis to people who wish to talk to their loved ones from beyond the grave.
- Mash-up Marketplaces
Shopping at marketplaces can be financially unfeasible and illogical. Yet, big brands and retailers lose out to these marketplaces all because they can’t set their egos aside. As a result, they can’t seem to offer the wide range of products that the marketplaces canre
One way to overcome the problem of the range is for brands to come together and form a mash-up marketplace that will provide products for all these brands, controlled collectively by all the different brands involved in the mash-up.
Consumers love the convenience of buying lots of goods from one place. However, they also prefer specialized products. Thus, a mash-up between brands will be the best way to go.
- B2B buyer bots
B2B procurement requires a lot of mental exertion since it involves a number of activities, including identifying the business need, exploring solutions, defining requirements, narrowing down suppliers, and making the final decision. There are a lot of variables to be considered, making it a very arduous ordeal.
However, the intervention of AI in the B2B procurement processes can help cut the time taken as well as replace the inherent mental exhaustion. It can assess the buyer’s needs as well as the different suppliers’ offers. Finally, it can easily figure out the best match between the supplier and the buyer, which will be feasible for both parties.
Thus, AI purchase intelligence is turning to AI purchase automation. AI can easily handle procurement tasks, leading to higher efficiency. Suppliers are expected to start working on putting together their offers for AI purchase automation.
- Under the Influence… of Influencers
During the beginning of mainstream social media hype, the influencers were just people with a huge fan following due to their lifestyle, making them prospective brand ambassadors for various brands. However, since many people have begun to resonate with these influencers, they have turned from being mere brand promoters to branding themselves.
These influencers have started to create their own businesses or own a piece of other brands whose products they endorse. According to a survey by Generation Alpha, 55% of individuals aged 6–16 reported that they would buy a product if they saw their favorite influencer using it.
Brands must be aware of this change in the behavioral habits of their market and the impending consequences of this change on their own profits. They need to construct relevant marketing strategies in order to either counter this change in spending behavior or embrace it.
- The future is inclusive and accessible, but that’s no reason to wait.
Due to increased access to the internet, more marginalized communities are getting a voice, leading to various revelations regarding the manner in which they are treated or how they feel. It is reported in a survey that most brands are not inclusive and diverse. Rather only 3% of the internet is inclusive of people with disabilities.
Since computer user interfaces work on hand and sight movements, visually impaired people won’t be able to operate a computer. Also, the algorithmic bias needs to be addressed, which states that these algorithms often carry the bias of the people who wrote them and might be insensitive to people of different races, genders, sexual orientations, etc.
Thus, it is expected of brands to embrace inclusivity and diversity, not because it would provide a good reputation and goodwill to the company. Rather, inclusivity and diversity are the right paths to follow.
- Digital “meet” markets and Prime Dating
Marketplaces like Amazon have the mission to sell everything from A to Z. So far, they’ve succeeded in building the world’s biggest online marketplace. However, under the range of ‘A to Z’, some would debate that human connections would also be covered.
This led to the idea of giant marketplaces offering dating and matchmaking services in exchange for a fee. The already existing dating marketplaces like Tinder, Match.com, and Plenty of Fish have very bad algorithms. Thus, they fail to leverage the consumer data that they have.
Amazon Prime could offer dating app services with impeccable algorithmic matches since it has a lot of information about the individual, like the show watched, the products ordered, etc. Thus, concrete relationships can be formed.
- Ultracustomization and the Death of Brands
Consumers will have the power to fully customize the product they want. Every single thing about the product will be tailored to the wants and needs of the consumer. Producers will be offering this customization, and this will lead to the death of brands.
In today’s market, the customer is likened to a king. However, if the possibility we are about to discuss comes to pass, the customer will literally be king. It will provide the customer with the privilege of ultra-customization. Customers can build a product exactly the way they want it, making brands completely obsolete.
Two reasons lie behind this possibility: firstly, the increasing exposure of artisans to broader audiences online; and secondly, advancements in manufacturing technology. Thus, it puts the brand identity at risk, and ultimately, the only way for brands to survive is to catch this trend early on. However, it would mean sacrificing their own identity, which makes them separate from their competitors.
- Time to Make the Future of Your Digital Estate
MACH Technologies stands on the cusp of a major shift in the architectural world. Businesses must strive to become a part of this now. MACH has become an acronym for microservices, APIs, cloud-native technology, and headless systems.
The IT world and e-commerce leaders see this wave of change coming and are preparing for it. This change is being made in order to cater to the ever-increasing demands of consumers. However, the course sees various challenges: firstly, the MACH technologies are not perfect yet; secondly, the series of steps to take to transition from one mode of architecture to another isn’t easy; and lastly, the businesses already have working e-commerce assets and wish to preserve them.
Thus, the transition will take a lot of time.
- Into the Money Markets
Banking services can be provided through a large marketplace application. Services like mortgages, insurance, pensions, loans, etc. are all provided via this same platform.
In China, we have Alipay (a spin-off of Alibaba). Mercado Libre prevails in Latin America as the payment app, which has a lending arm called Mercado Credito. Amazon also offers business loans to various producers. Thus, ambitious companies are taking drastic measures to gain consumer loyalty.
In the backdrop of all this, a significant event will be when a marketplace giant offers its own product. The financial industry feels the heat of competition coming off of these marketplace applications.
- Livestream Commerce: All Quiet on the Western Front?
The failure of live-stream commerce in the West scared brands like Facebook and Tiktok into pulling the plug on their own live-stream commerce programs. However, the same style of commerce was pretty successful in China and other Asian economies. These economies experienced high consumer expenditures.
There is doubt that the livestream commerce trend will ever be successful in the West. The difference in the shopping and living habits of different economies gives rise to the changes in the response to livestream commerce. However, many experts are betting that this method will soon come back to the US and be profitable.
Three trends, i.e., growth in social commerce, rise in popularity of video content, and growing impact of social influencers on retail, will definitely improve the chances of the success of live-stream commerce in Western economies.
- The Reshoring Revolution and the Return of Commerce
Due to recent events that adversely affected the globalized market, nations are leaning towards self-sufficiency. This is good for the local companies and businesses, who can finally regain their edge. Events like COVID, the Ukraine War, Brexit, Trump, etc. all played a role in weakening the links of globalization.
Thus, the companies are realizing the vulnerabilities of their wide-spread supply chain and starting to reshore their activities and supply channels. Nations are leaning towards creating more products locally in order to prepare themselves in case of further deterioration of globalization.
This could be the start of a golden age for the local producers. They can grow their business easily.
- Manna from Heaven… or Just parcels from Space?
Companies are attempting to deliver packages from the sky to various places. The package will fall from the sky through orbital distribution centers. Billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, etc. are trying to establish transport pathways in space.
These billionaires are trying to tap the underserved market because of the lack of internet facilities. These people, once provided with internet services, will become online shoppers and breed profits for their companies. Thus, commerce can be conducted in space. However, the possibility of this happening is a long way down the road.
- Retail Media and the Future of Ad Targeting
Retail media, by monetizing retail platforms and selling products, has become a very simple way for businesses to earn money. The advertisement revenue that these websites enjoy makes up a large portion of their revenue. Thus, these retail website money-making tricks can challenge rival paid search and social media advertising.
Retailer media use the customer’s search data with the consumer’s full consent for advertisement purposes. Smaller businesses can get on this rollercoaster too by selling the data they’ve gathered or advertising on other platforms by partnering with other brands.
- Kids Shop; Parents Pay
Kids can put the products they want in the shopping carts, and then the parents can review and place orders. A brand called Hollister has used its Share2pay technology to generate a link to the shopping cart via SMS so that it can be shared with the parents for payment. The cart will be generated once.
Targeting young people has been an age-old advertising tactic. We used to see it on television advertisements. Kids have often attempted to make unsupervised purchases, leading to blunders.
By this way, parents will have the power and freedom of knowing what they are paying for and when they are paying for it.
- Teamwork makes the dream work in the metaverse.
The Metaverse is more than just a source of entertainment. It has real-world applications. In the presentis more than just a source of entertainment. It has real-world applications. In the present, a remote or hybrid working setting has taken over and is now here to stay. People prefer this setting over on-site jobs. A way to achieve an efficient work-from-home setting is through the application of metaverse.
Remote working has its own disadvantages, and the use of the metaverse can eliminate those disadvantages. It is also being used to create a 3-D marketplace. In a similar way, it can be used to create a virtual office. Employees’ avatars can work in the virtual office, giving the employees the physical interaction they need with their team. Thus, it offers flexibility without isolation.
- Agile businesses and smart machines
With the looming economic downturn and various incoming threats to businesses, increasing the agility of their operations is of prime importance. It has become a matter of survival for the firms. Thus, in order to unlock such agility and, ultimately, efficiency in operations and revenue, it is proposed to put AI in charge of the operations.
Even in remote settings, businesses have seen great progress in terms of efficiency. The human mind has a knack for creative thinking. However, when put on a clock, it is urgent that decisions be made quickly. In order to achieve agility, businesses can be turned over to an AI model with another AI model as their manager. AI has extraordinary cognitive abilities and the capability to analyze large amounts of data. It doesn’t sleep, take leave, or strike. Thus, the use of AI will be remarkable.