Trifecta — Three significant trends in direct digital commerce
By Ian Jindal, CEO, RetailX
RetailX has been researching and tracking the performance of Europe’s digital direct-to-consumer retail since 2014, and we asked Ian Jindal to reflect on their pandemic research, sharing the shifts in the landscape that brands should consider in their growth towards the consumer.
Ian, you mention that there is a ‘trifecta’ of trends of note, but with so much change in the market why are there only three?
The digital sector is full of microtrends, technologies, initiatives and ideas, and in major brands you’ll often see a ‘Darwinian’ approach, where many similar-but-different ideas are being tested. This can lead us to look at the froth on the surface of the water rather than heeding the tides and currents. It’s vital to focus upon the consumer, and how best to connect
with her/him: repeatedly, at profit and at scale.
What are the three trends you see?
The first is the change in the consumer’s expectations and capabilities. The pandemic was a rapid training in digital access. After the bump of the learning curve, the end consumer has now been trained by the best retailers, brands and services to achieve so much via their phone and screen. They have been trained by the best to have high demands! The second is market access. Your readers are used to the wholesale channel and some flagships. In addition to the growing digital capabilities of the wholesale channel, there are some 400 marketplaces in Europe, retailers are creating their own marketplace platforms, and social media is now social commerce. We don’t even need to go near any one of the multiverses to see that there’s an explosion in routes to market, all competing for the customer’s eyeballs, attention and money.
The third trend is the changing role of the product. No longer standalone items with a plug, the modern electrical appliances live in a service and experience ecosystem. We’re not talking about trivial changes (internet fridges!), but more considered services, monitoring energy, service intervals, usage instructions, maintenance, smart households, rent-to-buy…
From the home to DIY via the kitchen, devices are compared to phones for functionality, rather than to passive lumps of metal.
Are these trends really new? We’ve covered similar points before.
The real change is the customer’s step-change, allied to increased interoperability of the many technologies, all at historically low costs to experience. Latent ideas have become real. There are many opportunities for the electrical sector as it embraces closer ties with the consumer’s expectations, behaviours and values.