Brands, merchants, and creators alike are called to respond in-real time to constantly shifting expectations in a digital-obsessed economy.
We don’t need to tell you that e-commerce is the future of commerce, it’s already here. The app market is worth 950 billion dollars in the US alone. Market trends tell us e-commerce will make up 20.7% of global purchases by the end of 2022. Looks like you’re in the right business.
Maybe you’ve already found a way to translate your online offering into a digital download, giving you more time to focus back on building your brand. But any entrepreneur who’s found e-commerce success will agree that in order to stay on top, you must always be innovating.
With the seismic shift to online throughout lockdown, we saw kids turning multiplayer games into their playgrounds, classrooms into zoom calls, and saw how the world might look if our carbon footprint was lessened. You, our lovely merchants, learned to adapt, to appreciate a life without commuting, started taking meetings outside, took pictures of sunsets, and thought differently about how life could be.
Consumers completely reimagined how they view the shopping experience. And with expectations shifting at an accelerated speed, retailers have been called to deliver personalized, seamless omnichannel experiences that allow the shopper to interact with a brand or retailer when they want, where they want, and however they want. Omnichannel retailing also gave shoppers access to purchase products that would not have originally been available in brick and mortar stores.
Whether it’s hearing an audiobook read to you by the author, or getting your friends together to go to a livestream concert, the digital sphere has become the consumer playground. If you want to see the future, look to the next generation, and they are thriving online. Younger segments of shoppers want instant results, and if your product is available immediately, 24/7, that’s in line with their expectations.
Social media platforms have brought us into spaces where we can directly interact with the artists we love and even the influencers we respect. When the consumer feels seen, loyalty is fostered.
When Neil Young and Joni Mitchell said “no” to Spotify, because of who the streaming platform endorses, along with the pay structure from the site, many of the fans left with them. Today’s consumer wants their spend to reflect their values, and digital entrepreneurs understand that. If the conscious customer knows the artist they love will make a better profit from a smaller vendor, they will invest in that area.
Understandably for a creator, digital products can feel like a loss of control. The digital marketplace seems rife for piracy and risk. While online file sharing is certainly a challenge - if you never make anything purchasable or assign value to it, you’ll miss out on the scores of fans and shoppers who would happily pay for your digital offering.
While there’s no set way to control piracy, what can be done is seamless integration, so what you purchase can immediately be in your phone, your laptop, your smart watch. To quote the creator of Sky Pilot app, Andrew Narkewicz; “People will pay for convenience if you make it easier than pirating”
Though it is worth noting Sky Pilot’s Abuse Alerts feature will also alert a merchant or brand if different IP addresses download a file, and thresholds can be set for each.
Regardless, the digital download experience needs to be seamless and immediate. When these two factors come fully into play, customers and followers will return again and again.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but when your grandmother uploads her knitting pattern to her online store, we know if one thing is for certain, it’s that shoppers adapt.
When the world went indoors, some saw the opportunity in front of them and were able to act quickly. Creators and innovators (that’s you) chose to adapt and reimagine what the commerce landscape could be. The digital platform was never supposed to replicate the live experience, but rather, show the world that there were other ways to connect with and reach your audience.
In the days before the great indoors, hosting something like a masterclass would ideally require an accessible venue, a translator, ticket sales, postering, flyring, sound, lights, and even sponsors. Now it can be housed in an online store, where it exists as a pre-recorded set of modules, and is sent immediately upon purchase to engaged audiences right where they are. They can view and engage when they want to, in whatever time zone, all over the world.
Online education means anyone can access it as long as they have an internet connection. When you add to this experience with personalized messages, you’ve created an audience that feels seen and will show their loyalty to you without ever physically having to meet.
Now imagine if you could do that with every audience segment.
The massive surge towards digital-first touch points created unprecedented opportunities for the growth and democratization of digital products. In fact, digital download products delivered—to the tune of a projected $331 billion industry in 2022.
And there’s evidence to suggest that the rise and importance of digital products will be far greater than the success we’ve seen thus far. Advances in technology innovation are profoundly impacting how we engage and shop, which will only continue to evolve the commerce landscape. For example, here are four changes that will likely come as a result of today’s market:
The pace of change is accelerating. With consumers rewired for digital, expectations for immediate, seamless, and personalized experiences have intensified. Brands, merchants, and creators alike must respond accordingly to compete in a digital-obsessed economy.
Tomorrow’s e-commerce landscape is the consumers to expect, and yours to embrace.