In A Decade of Digital Transformation in 12 Months, 46 C-suite executives spoke with PYMNTS for its Q2 eBook on what the world will look like as recovery rolls on and the next iteration of normal rolls out. In this excerpt, Brian Bogosian, CEO of sticky.io, believes the pandemic has made consumers more open to trying new subscriptions and other types of commerce experiences. “Companies need to meet those consumers where they want to be met, and going direct-to-consumer (D2C) should no longer be optional,” he says.
Read the entire eBook here.
After the masks are removed, after the pandemic is firmly in the rearview mirror, the retail landscape will be irrevocably changed.
Many – perhaps even most – merchants found themselves unprepared for the great digital shift when the coronavirus hit. But they learned to adapt with speed and flexibility, fast-tracking omnichannel efforts, beefing up their eCommerce capabilities and adding in-store pickup and curbside delivery.
Consumers are continuing, and will continue, to buy things online that they otherwise would have purchased in-store. The seismic shift from brick-and-mortar commerce to mobile/digital channels is reminiscent of the way department stores and big-box retailers, only a few decades ago, jolted “Main Street” firms.
Consumers have become more adept at, and open to, trying new subscriptions and other types of commerce experiences. Companies need to meet those consumers where they want to be met, and going direct-to-consumer (D2C) should no longer be optional. The real question merchants should be asking is: “How soon can I create a D2C offering?” The discussions may have been happening already, but COVID has expedited the process.
At a high level, there may be significant variances among groups, cultures and backgrounds, but the convenience of making purchases online will have sweeping and permanent effects on the economic landscape.
For retailers and their providers, the convenience of providing a frictionless experience – one that’s flexible and adaptable to the individual based on their personal preferences – will have a far-reaching effect on the global retail economy.
Speaking of those firms: The differences between winners and losers will be very stark. Data, and how data is used, will determine who wins and who loses. Understanding the personal habits of the consumer – and how, where and when they want to shop – will have a profound impact on the way commerce is conducted. A digital transformation is not just about digitizing operations, but also about gaining a holistic view of the customer.
There will be at least some behaviors that revert to in-person interactions. For example, I like to pick out my produce at the market, by hand.
But beyond some of those isolated examples, the pandemic has fostered permanent changes to the economic landscape. Merchants that have a path to the consumer that is uninterrupted even in the face of, say, a pandemic or other global emergency will see a profound effect on their business. The business itself will be omnichannel.
Reflecting on the changes in payments, transactions have shifted from a mixture of credit, debit and cash to largely credit and debit – and, in some cases, alternative currencies. Relative to the transaction, it’s very important to create a frictionless experience for consumers – an easy way of making a purchase with the fewest number of motions and steps to get to closing. Financing transactions over time is also becoming increasingly popular.
We’ll continue to see innovation on the payment side to create robust options for consumers that provide value and flexibility for them to manage various cash flows.