Digitization plays an important role in our lives. From both a business and a consumer point of view, we are part of an economy inextricably linked to countless mobile apps and where growth in the supply of streaming services seems to have no measure.
EPAM is a company that strongly contributes to the role digitization plays for companies worldwide, providing you with insight into the evolution of digital retail, emphasizing the importance of continuous digital transformation and innovation.
Although the impact of digitization on retail is significant, the road to digital transformation and innovation is often taken too late. With the emergence of e-commerce and mobile commerce, many companies in recent decades have been busy integrating e-commerce, with the importance of platforms such as Amazon, Ebay, Tmall and Bol.com only being recognized at a later stage as part of an omnichannel strategy. In 2022 and also for 2023, many companies have formulated a focus on growth in direct-to-consumer market share as an important strategic goal. That’s good, but maybe a little late when we look at the evolution of retail. Optimizing retail, whether you label or prioritize it as e-, digital, unified, mobile or social commerce, is constantly changing.
In an age of liking, swiping, sharing and hashtagging, the evolution of e-commerce has become an undeniable part of how we experience and consume. Over 30 years of e-commerce, there are two significant factors that are already contributing to how retail is rapidly changing. On the one hand, the so-called digital born natives and in particular Gen-Z; next generation consumer in the age group 10 to 26 years. On the other hand, the speed with which we are constantly pushing technological boundaries. The latter lead not only to the development of the web as we know it today, but also the development of retail.
Social commerce, with a size of € 35 billion, is a good example of how relatively new channels such as Snapchat and TikTok result in new business models around influencers and user-generated content, which changes the shopping and consumption patterns of the digitally born natives in particular. . It is therefore important to ask yourself the question – how high is social commerce on the agenda for 2023, and with what technology do you make it possible?
With the gradual shift from the traditional web as we know it today to the decentralized web, new opportunities arise for retailers. In addition, it also poses a threat if the development is not recognized in time. The next phase of the Internet is also the next phase of further digital transformation and innovation. Web3 creates new economies, those of the creator and of experience. With this, in a ‘cookie’ free world, we go beyond targeting audiences on centralized platforms like Meta and Google, and communities are built on our own decentralized platforms.
This allows for getting very personal with the consumers and customers who are part of a community. When companies take the path to further digital transformation and innovation in time, marketing investments can be used differently over time, new revenue categories can be tapped and loyalty can be transformed, for example by saving on ad buys.
The evolution of retail is about that mix and connects our physical, digital and virtual worlds, both product, store and environment. It is about the development of content. From Web2 to Web3, from 2D to 3D. From digital to virtual. People will always remain central to this, where the correct use and application of new technologies contribute to us, and in any case the next generation of consumers, experiencing and consuming everything differently. Especially when you consider that the economy of virtual goods is already almost amounts to 60 billiontwice the size of the music industry.
NFTs, AI, AR, VR, Gaming, Edge Computing, Robotics and Payment Technology are a handful of technologies impacting the retail and business strategy revolution. Concretely, it can be AR + AI platforms for virtual testing of clothes and make-up, for example, and an NFT Marketplace with virtual goods, where retailers get access to NFT engines. Something we have experience with. For example, EPAM develops games using new technologies, we provide digital avatars not only with skins or 3D wearables, but also with conversational AI or develop photorealistic virtual people with real-time, live communication as an additional service – or information channel to replace chatbot. .We transform loyalty programs with, among other things, digital collectibles, realize loyalty token solutions for tokenized customer engagement or for controlled access or to organize customer journeys just a little bit differently.
With all these solutions and experiences with Web3, the (r)evolution of consumption, from click-to-purchase to experience-to-purchase, has already begun.
Want to know more about what we can do in new technologies and in particular the metaverse? Go to www.epam.com