Digital commerce is expected to be a US$2 trillion ($2.79 trillion) industry in Asia-Pacific by 2025. Looking ahead to that horizon, what are some of the changes we’re observing and what could digital commerce experiences look like for Australians this year and beyond?
The world as a marketplace, downloadable shoes, and the metaverse
Long gone are the days of waiting until the weekend to go to the shopping centre. Aussie consumers now expect shopping touchpoints that are embedded in their social lives. For example, live-streaming on social networks where shoppers can interact with influencers and buy in real-time. As digital touchpoints continue to expand and blend across all aspects of life, in the future we imagine that buying will happen independently from a store, and our entire world will become a marketplace. This means you’ll be able to make purchases wherever is convenient on the channel you prefer, instead of monitoring for an item to be in stock or having to wait a long time for delivery.
And it isn’t just the channels we buy from that will keep shifting to digital — some of the very goods we buy may only exist in the digital world. As shoppers spend more time online, new digital buying experiences and digital-only goods are emerging. Products increasingly come with unique digital-only attributes, encouraging new forms of digital immersion and interaction. We’re seeing this come to life through augmented reality try-ons for cosmetics and downloadable virtual clothing and shoes. We can expect more businesses will experiment with digital-only products to break into new segments and meet consumers on the channels where they’re already spending their time.
You might then ask the question — but where will consumers wear these downloadable shoes? Digital-only goods will be a core part of the metaverse — an immersive, embedded virtual environment powered entirely digitally. In the metaverse, you could own NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, for digital assets like art, collectibles and gaming items, easily selling them to other users on a blockchain. The metaverse could be the next place businesses look to open a new location.
Businesses: Digital from the ground up
While Australian businesses continue to digitise their operations, there’s still a disconnect for many between their front and back offices. Customer-facing touchpoints tend to be the first to receive a digital makeover as they have the largest perceived impact. However, by not digitising back office infrastructure, businesses are causing a break in the chain. Now is the time for businesses to go all the way digital.
This digitisation will also be key to helping businesses adapt and diversify across global and local channels. We have already seen how snarls in the global supply chain have forced businesses to find new contingencies, and quickly, and it’s clear that supply chains of the future must be diversified to withstand breakdowns. Businesses will source partners across different geographies to grow a diversified network that can easily pivot if disrupted.
Finally, there is now an abundance of data available, and for businesses and consumers alike, this is evolving access to credit and working capital. In many places, credit underwriting is still done in an archaic way, but data is changing this, and information like inventory turnover, net cashflow or purchase orders, can be data points used by businesses to access new capital.
The ways in which we pay and get paid will continue to evolve here in Australia, creating new and exciting opportunities for consumers and businesses alike in 2022 and beyond.
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