Mobile Wallets Create Fragmented Liquidity: The Opportunity for Payments Evolution

This blog was co-authored by Eddie Chin and Phillip Jackson. 

An acquaintance of mine who has spent a lot of time in China told me how he uses the barcode on his WeChat Pay app to pay for everything there, including when he buys a cup of coffee from the street vendor outside of his office. He can’t remember the last time he touched a physical Yuan.

Digital and mobile wallets aren’t just big in China and India; they’re attracting consumers all over the globe. According to Payments Dive, some 2.6 billion people had some type of digital or mobile wallet in 2020, up significantly from the year before, and that number will grow to 4.5 billion by 2025.

Much of the uptick in usage was driven by the pandemic. Jodie Kelley, CEO of Electronic Transactions Association, told CNBC that safety concerns prompted consumers to adopt contactless payment options. She predicts digital and mobile wallets will continue to be a preferred source of payment.

How is this trend affecting our everyday lives, both as e-Commerce brands and consumers? Like all emerging trends that are upending major aspects of the economy, there are exciting opportunities to offer more services, and challenges that are a direct result of exponential levels of choice.

Continue reading this blog at Rightpoint.com.

Web3 and Non-Fungible Tokens Signal New Era of Direct-to-Consumer

This blog was co-authored by Justin Kaufman and Phillip Jackson. 

There is a coming shift in how e-Commerce platforms are architected, and this shift is foreshadowed by recent technologies. You may have heard a lot of press about NFT and cryptocurrencies lately — digital artist Beeple sold an NFT for $69M, or Elon Musk is sending a dogecoin to the moon — but beyond the hype and the internet culturalization of digital currencies, there are real implications for how we transact online that are being formed by this current moment.

To understand where the market may be going, a hyper-brief primer on these technologies may be in order for some. The next incarnation of the web — Web3 — will enable a future in which people (and machines) can interact with data and counterparties through an underlying layer of peer-to-peer networks, without any third parties being involved. But it’s more than the absence of third parties; the key to Web3 is that it is completely decentralized. Centralization means control by a single party. For example, US dollars are controlled by a central authority, the U.S. Government, while bitcoins are decentralized and not controlled by anyone. Similarly, the Internet is decentralized, and anyone can host a website (although key infrastructure remains under the control of a small few).

Non-fungible token, or NFT, refers to a special type of record in the blockchain. Because every token has a unique number, they can be used to uniquely identify a digital item. When I buy a bitcoin, I’m buying a piece of data. We all know that data is infinitely copyable, so how do I retain the value that I invested in that cryptocurrency? The principles underlying NFT ensure that my bitcoin is unique and cannot be replicated. It also ensures permanent scarcity and value.

A blockchain is a digital record of transactions. The name comes from its structure, where collections of transaction records, aka “blocks,” are linked together to form a public ledger open for anyone to review and audit. Blockchains allow groups of people with no formal affiliation to exchange data and funds in a trustworthy and secure way.

The Ethereum blockchain is an evolution of blockchain technology that enables entirely new use cases through the creation of Smart contracts. Smart contracts allow Ethereum users to define and run automated processes on the Blockchain, almost as though it were a community-owned computer. The implications are head-spinning. Smart contracts allow developers to establish that the digital thing they create, whatever it may be, hasn’t existed before.

These are heady concepts many really smart people claim are going to change the world but in what ways? And when?

Want to read the rest of the blog? Head on over to Rightpoint.com.

Content and Commerce Complement Each Other Using Adobe’s Experience Cloud

As technology advances and consumers’ desire for new content remains unsatiated, commerce has evolved to weave itself more effectively into the content itself. A recent example can be found at NBC Universal, who recently unveiled their One Platform Commerce solution for brands who would like to advertise during the network’s shows—such as a pop-up banner ad, offering a QR code to scan or submitting an image to be displayed on the pause screen. Many traditional media sites, including Buzzfeed and Vice, have also begun offering similar services.

Currently, there exists no out-of-the-box e-commerce platform that can handle all of these touchpoints. But the Adobe Experience Cloud offers best-in-class solutions to the entire content + commerce ecosystem across its suite of applications. Experience Manager can handle content while Magento takes care of your commerce needs. Adobe’s Analytics, Target and Audience Manager programs further the development of a strong content and commerce strategy by offering key data points from which to inform one-to-one customer personalization.

Because commerce and content are becoming further intertwined, it’s important to understand how this fact impacts the digital customer journey and the employees that service them. The omnichannel journey weaves online and offline, web and mobile and even phone, text and chat. This channel fluidity represents a challenge in balancing strategic partners versus technical implementors. Thankfully, Rightpoint — a Forrester CX Strategy Challenger-rated consultancy — is an Adobe Gold certified solution partner, with every capability to weave together touchpoints in the modern customer journey.

Want to continue reading this blog? Head on over to the Rightpoint blog.

Privacy-First Changes Have Far-Reaching Commerce Platform Implications

Essentially, Apple and Facebook have declared war on one another. For its part, Apple has decided to take a stance on privacy, calling it a fundamental human right and using that stance to differentiate itself from all other tech giants. Recently the company released an ebook, A Day in the Life of Your Data: A Father and Daughter Day at the Playground, that explains in plain English just how extensive personal data collection has become.

In late January, Apple announced some iOS 14 updates that are designed to offer users more stringent privacy protection. One of its features, App Tracking Transparency (ATT), will, “require apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies. Under Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track, and make changes as they see fit.”

Want to learn more about this? Head on over to the Rightpoint blog.

The Magento and Facebook Conversion API Conundrum

Apple is well known for being a privacy-first company. One needs to look no further than the ongoing news stories about their refusal to unlock iPhones for the FBI to understand this.

Recently Apple has shook things up for marketers with new privacy focused policies introduced in iOS 14. One significant impact that has prompted many discussions with our clients is around Facebook pixel tracking.

Want to learn more about these impacts? Head on over to the Rightpoint blog.

5 Problems Your Brand Will Face in 2021 (And How to Avoid Them)

If consumers were not familiar with digital commerce before the pandemic, they certainly are now: The decline of in-store shopping has led to a rise in online purchases and the proliferation of e-commerce platforms. As a result, we have witnessed companies beginning to scrutinize their digital experiences and syphon funds towards that effort.

But through our research and recent work with top brands, we must preach caution—budgets are tight, and you can’t afford any mistakes.

Head on over to the Rightpoint blog to check out the list of the top five problems your brand will face in 2021, including steps to address them before they derail your customer experiences.

How to Choose an Ecommerce Agency: Part Two

In part one we discussed the number one thing clients look for when choosing their ecommerce agency: Trust (find it here.) If trust is number 1 on our list, then price has to be number 1(a), after all, you are trying to run a profitable online business.

Price

There is not a perfect formula of “I should spend x percent of my total online revenue on my replatform project” because that would only direct you based on where your online business is now. You should be thinking about where your business is going, or where it ought to be going. To say it another way: you should be skating to where the puck is going, not where it currently is.  

That said, you must be realistic. Ask yourself questions like:  

  • What is my revenue growth projection and how am I going to get there?  
  • If I am planning to spend (x) on my website, do I have the traffic to justify that spend? 
  • If I do have the traffic, will this move help me increase my conversion rate (CR)? 
  • If this move won’t help me increase my conversion rate, will it increase my average order value (AOV)? 
  • If I don’t have the traffic, and it won’t increase my CR, and it won’t increase my AOV, then how will I see my return on investment (ROI)? 

Here’s a little secret: functionality is not everything on an ecommerce website. In fact, unless you can prove that functionality is driving revenue, you should be asking yourself if it is worth having that functionality in the first place. Heck, you could be spending that money driving more traffic to your site either from existing customers or driving new customers through marketing campaigns 

How does this relate to choosing an ecommerce agency? There is an agency out there that specializes in every need you may have. Some are going to have lower rates, some are going to have all their employees in a foreign country, others could be right down the street, and all of those are going to have different pricing structures. You need to decide what is important to you and how those factors are going to change your ROI.  

After you have a good rapport with an agency, and have a good understanding of their price structure, you must decide if their capabilities are the right fit for your needs. 

Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for the third and final installment of our choosing an agency partner series. Until then, contact us with all your questions and to learn more.

How to Choose an Ecommerce Agency

As directors of business development at Something Digital, we are constantly asking ourselves the question: what is going to help this prospect decide to choose Something Digital as their partner on their eCommerce journey? Since we are thinking about this every day, we figured it would be a good idea to share our thoughts on the matter. Choosing an agency ultimately comes down to three decisions: Do I trust these people? Is the price they’re offering within my budget? And does this agency’s capabilities match what I need from them? With that, we bring you part one of our three-part series of how to choose an eCommerce Agency:

Trust

There’s a reason we chose to write about trust first: it is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of choosing an agency. If you have an immense amount of personal and professional trust in the agency you choose to lead you on your eCommerce journey, then you can extend your budget because you know the project will be done right. Obviously trust is a feeling (a belief even), it can be emotional: “I get a good vibe from these people”, “they seem trustworthy”, “wow these people seem to know what they’re doing”, etc. But you can take action to get to know them better, and establish a stronger relationship to allow for a smooth eCommerce journey.

Ask yourself the question: what is this agency’s reputation?

Assuming you already have an eCommerce store, you may be using a platform like Shopify or Magento. What you may not know is these platforms have dedicated channel management teams that interact daily with their partner agencies. They can tell you verticals an agency works in, what systems they have integrated with in the past, issue resolution they have come upon working with a particular agency and so on. Asking your account manager at these platforms for recommendations on an agency is a great first step to finding the one that is right for you and your business.

But don’t stop there, you may use a reviews platform like Yotpo, or a personalization company like Nosto, or a deferred payments company like Klarna. Well guess what? They all have channel managers that interact with agencies too. These people are great resources for you to gauge a particular agency’s reputation in the eCommerce marketplace. Not only that, but you will also get insight into the agency’s familiarity with your tool set!

Develop a relationship in the sales process

News flash! The business development person you are speaking with probably is not going to be intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of your eCommerce store after you start working with the agency. On top of that, it is the salesperson’s job to make you feel comfortable with them. So, it is always valuable to get introduced to those who will be more involved. For example, at Something Digital we have development, creative, strategic engagement and project management leadership who are excited to get on calls with prospects. These people will be your escalation points on the project, so it is important you develop a rapport with them. One excellent way Something Digital has found will develop a strong relationship with people is the actually the traditional way: breaking bread. Sharing food with one another has been a great tool for our clients to establish a personal rapport with us,  When you truly sit down with someone and connect with them over a delicious meal, your hesitations are cast off and you become friends. Friends do right by each other. If anything ever goes wrong (and if you’ve been in the agency/client game long enough, you’ll know that even you’re the best that’s actually a “when”, not an “if”), you’ll have the relationship to fall back on.

The other thing developing that relationship does for you is it allows you to assess the culture of the company you are working with. The reality is, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with these people, so you need to know if these people are the type of people you want to spend time with. A colleague explained it to me this way: if you were stuck in an airport with them on a 10-hour delay, would you ever want to see them again after that? If you would, then they’re probably a good culture fit. Another point here, at some point in your relationship, issue resolution will happen, so when something goes wrong, having that relationship established is hugely beneficiary. On the other hand, things will also go right, so ask yourself the question: when things DO go right, are these the people I want to celebrate with?

First get a sense of an agency’s reputation, and then find ways to connect with them more intimately.You’ll have a leg up on deciding if they’re the right agency for you on your eCommerce journey. Trust is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of choosing your agency partner.

Keep an eye out for part 2 of our 3-part series on choosing a partner agency. Until then, contact us with all your questions and to learn more!

New Study Measures Shifts in Consumer Behaviors, Driven by Rapidly Changing Attitudes as to What’s Essential

The pandemic has radically altered the products, channels and services consumers deem essential. In our first research report of 2021, Rightpoint and Something Digital delve into the new normal for 2021 and beyond. 

 According to a new study by Rightpoint and Something Digital (now part of Rightpoint)The New Essentials, the pandemic has substantially altered the products, channels and services consumers deem essential, and those new perceptions will likely last beyond 2021. Brands that respond to the shift in consumer sensibilities will be poised to earn their loyalty.  

The report surveyed 1,002 consumers in the US and Canada between November 20 – 28,  2020 to explore mindset, category engagement and digital savviness as life during the pandemic has evolved. In addition, we interviewed 10 digital executives to understand how  their organizations have capitalized on the shifting landscape.  

Key findings include: 

Accelerated life change correlates with redefinition of what is essential. 

Two out of three consumers report making significant lifestyle changes as a direct result of the pandemic, giving rise to a new class of trendsetting “life changers.” Highly adaptable, young (60% are under age 40) and economically comfortable (66% are gainfully employed), this trendsetter group is evidence of larger demographic and attitudinal shifts in the near future. These shifts will radically transform how consumers live, make decisions, and purchase. 

Individual perspectives redefine what is essential.  

Although every person experienced the same pandemic, there is no collective internal response to it. Every person has created his or her own risk-benefit analysis to everyday activities like shopping, working, and socializing. Which has resulted in a fragmented perspective of needs vs. wants, and indeed, what is essential and what’s not.  

 For example, consumers who see the pandemic as a collective challenge have a more generous view of what’s essential, assigning categories typically associated with personal growth or self-actualization — travel, furniture and home, fitness — at significantly higher values than those who don’t. 

 “Marketers know they need to move away from targeting consumers based on broad characteristics like geography and demographic. These findings add more urgency to that shift. In the post-pandemic world, consumers are strongly motivated by their internal risk-benefit analysis, and brands that can tap into that analysis will build long-term loyalty,” says Phillip Jackson, Chief Commerce Officer at Rightpoint. 

Consumers who will soon dominate spending have evolving expectations around convenience, community and social good and safety. 

Gen Y and Gen Z bring a set of strongly held expectations to the commercial world, and they demand brands to meet them:

  • Convenience. Features like onsite search and product inventory/availability continue to prompt conversion, but younger shoppers also want flexible fulfillment and ways to reach customer service. They also want seamless cross-channel journeys — e.g. browsing via connected TV and buying via a mobile device.

 

  • Community. For younger adults, digital connections enable community. For instance, 68% said they prefer discovering new brands on social media, and 55% said they’ve increased their use of video conferencing. Younger adult shoppers have a strong sense of community, with 64% of them feeling guilt for finding joy while others are struggling; 82% of Gen Z won’t ignore a brand’s ethics for the sake of a good deal. Brands will need to walk the talk to succeed with this generation.

 

  • Social Good and SafetyGen Z and Millennial shoppers are entering 2021 more cautious about their physical health, emotional well-being and finances. Transparency will be key; consumers will want to know what brands are doing to protect the physical, emotional and economic wellbeing of their customers, employees and suppliers. 

 

“The pandemic has heighted the consumer’s awareness of the world around them, including its joys, challenges and opportunities. Younger adults in particular are making decisions based on a new set of essentials that speak to their hearts, minds, wallets and preferences. Brands that can adapt to the new essentials will enjoy greater success, while those that fail to resonate will struggle to survive,” said someone at Rightpoint. 

 

Download the complete report here. 

The Commerce Opportunity in Gaming

8 months ago, Travis Scott, an American rapper, had a concert in the video game Fortnite. YouTube views of recordings of the event had numbers in the hundreds of millions. Roblox, a gaming platform, has 164 million monthly active users1. Among Us, a multiplayer game in the mystery vein, had half a billion active users in November of 20202. The 2020 Super Bowl had 102 million viewers3.

All of these games have access to credit card information already provided for platform access/in-game purchases.  I predicted on Something Digital’s Office Hours that Fortnite and its peers will start to lay the groundwork to conduct more serious commerce in 2021. The opportunity here isn’t limited to certain age groups either. The average American gamer is now 34 years old and the majority of families that play video games play them together at least once a week4. These are users, often with disposable income, across nearly every demographic category that someday soon will be able to make purchases of physical goods without leaving the game.

Imagine selling the Travis Scott Air Jordans (starting at over $1,400 on Stadium Goods) during the concert via QR code or video-game branded beers for games such as Grand Theft Auto at in-game bars that are delivered in real life by Drizly. Animal Crossing could sell posters or stuffed animals of in-game people and things. There are not of shortage of products that could be sold in this manner.

The opportunity is not limited to the actual games either. Many of the top gaming streamers have their own sponsorships. Don’t be surprised if these influencers are posting limited time links, mentioning referrals or even having on-screen buy buttons on streaming platforms such as Twitch (owned by Amazon) and Mixer (owned by Microsoft).

Gaming is a largely untapped commerce channel with audiences spending billions of hours on these platforms. The early brands to take advantage of this opportunity will likely mint fortunes and do so at a lower cost point than ad spends on Google, Amazon or Facebook. The ROI will be much clearer than with marketing spend at sporting events or television advertising.

 

Make sure your brand is ahead of the game 😉 – contact us!

 

Sources:

  1. Roblox IPO Filing
  2. App Annie Monthly Report
  3. Fox Press Release
  4. Entertainment Software Association