The constant innovation driven by technology has inspired a number of megatrends that are reshaping the world.
According to a report by Euromonitor International, the five most impactful tech-driven trends that will reshape commerce in 2018 are:
#1 Digital life converges in super apps
Mobile apps were first developed around individual activities. The most popular mobile phone activities in 2017 were, in order, browse the internet, send and receive emails, send a text message, and use of a messaging app, among others.
There are many opportunities for stakeholders across commerce ecosystem. Through digital apps, manufacturers connect with consumers in more authentic ways to engage and serve.
Merchants can target consumers in new ways to increase foot traffic and drive conversion.
Payment networks can reap benefits from an increase in digital payments due to cards being preloaded in platforms, while consumer experience a more convenient and enhanced commerce interaction, the report says.
Super apps could enable a new breed of competitors, change who owns the customer relationship, force an evolution of consumer expectations and most importantly accelerate the overall digital transformation.
#2 Data as the new currency
Data has emerged as the world’s most valuable commodity, the report adds. And therefore, consumers expect brands to craft individually tailored stories.
Tech plays a key role in enabling brands to craft the story of one. For instance, machine learning, image recognition, cluster analysis, and natural language processing, provide the personal touch as well as improve recommendations, the report adds.
Beauty giant L’Oréal sells a connected hairbrush that analyses the user’s hair, including the force used when brushing, as well as the number of strokes taken.
The high-tech brush transmits this data to a mobile app, which provides the user with a quality score and ranking as well as offers hair tips and personalised product suggestions.
However, concerns regarding data privacy continue to plague digital uptake, the report adds.
Leveraging the avalanche of available data to cultivate the “story of one” will be what distinguishes the winners from the losers in the next decade.
#3 Keeping the tab open
Digital boosts old-time subscription models, the report adds. Many subscription services were born in the last decade.
Subscriptions reinvent areas of consumption like entertainment, and Internet of Things is expected to further boost subscription business models.
Machine-aided commerce will re-define what brand loyalty means, the report maintains.
The old-school subscription model received a digital boost in the last decade. In the forthcoming Internet of Things era, the idea of keeping the tab open will take on a new meaning.
#4 Mobile wallets going global
Consumers in motion propel the expansion of payment networks. Since China is the biggest market for outbound tourism spend since 2012, Chinese travellers play a key role in mobile wallet globalization.
Chinese wallets like Alipay are moving West, as the spending power of the country’s residents grows and the government improves international cooperation, allowing consumers to travel to more nations.
$3 trillion payments expected to be made on a mobile device in 2022 across the 47 countries where Euromonitor International conducts this research, Euromonitor Report says, adding, “75% China and the US will contribute to the overall size of the mobile payments market in 2022.”
The battle for mobile wallet supremacy will come down to the ability of US companies to export their offerings abroad against the expanding influence of China’s growing middle class.
#5 Outlets will get their tech injection
Digital shifts are changing competitive realities. Consumers are motivated to shop in person to “see” or “try” before buying an item, and consumers demonstrate an increased need to “experience more”, the report says.
Commerce is in the midst of a head-to-toe makeover both in and outside the physical outlet. As such, players are leveraging a plethora of technologies to re-imagine physical spaces.