How digital commerce experiences will evolve for consumers and businesses this year and beyond
By Suripong Tantiyanon, Country Manager, Visa Thailand
Digital commerce is expected to be a USD 2T industry in Asia Pacific by 2025 . Visa sees six key trends leading to that next horizon.
The world as marketplace
Long gone are the days of waiting until the weekend to go to the mall. 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.
Downloadable shoes and the new digital goods
It isn't just the channels we buy from that will keep shifting to digital - 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. Visa expects 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.
Enter the metaverse
But where will consumers wear their 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 businesses continue to digitise their operations, there's still a disconnect 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. For example, in the midst of the pandemic, over 80% of finance staff in Singapore were still going into the workplace to process paper documents. Now is the time for businesses to go all the way digital.
Glocalisation of commerce
Snarls in the global supply chain have forced businesses to find new contingencies, and quickly. It's clear that supply chains of the future must be diversified across global and local channels to withstand breakdowns. Businesses will source partners across different geographies to grow a diversified network that can easily pivot if disrupted.
New access to credit and working capital
For businesses and consumers alike, access to credit is evolving thanks to data. In many places, credit underwriting is still done in an archaic way that excludes large groups whose lives and careers don't align with the traditional markets for establishing credit. But there is now an abundance of data available as a result of more aspects of life and business being digitised. Information like inventory turnover, net cashflow or purchase orders, can be data points used by businesses to access new capital.