Welcome to Amazing Insights by Jonckers! In this mini-video series, we’ll be interviewing thought leaders from various industries to hear their insights on artificial intelligence and its applications in global business. Gain insider expertise and practical advice on everything from data and tech to supply chain and market entry, all in just a few short minutes.
Next up in our ‘Amazing Insights’ series is Stuart Barker. Stuart is the General Manager of software company, Comestri, in Europe. Comestri offers an award-winning SaaS platform which helps merchants to sell “anything to anyone, anywhere, any way”. In this 10-minute interview, Stuart shares his thoughts on digital transformation in the eCommerce industry and his predictions for technology in this space.
Stuart and Silke first touch on the changing landscape of eCommerce, referring to the numerous challenges retailers have faced in the past two years: the Covid pandemic, subsequent supply chain issues, and the Suez Canal blockage, to name a few. Stuart begins by explaining that – even before the pandemic began – digital transformation had been changing the nature of the eCommerce landscape, but the pandemic sped up digital adoption at a pace we’ve never seen before. McKinsey reported that companies across all industries jumped ahead a staggering five years in terms of consumer and business digital adoption in around eight weeks alone, while Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, famously said “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months” in his April 2022 quarterly earnings address.
Stuart expects digital adoption to continue and grow in the future, with eCommerce companies turning to AI for insight-driven content. He elaborates by saying that AI’s adoption in retail thus far has largely been focused on finding and gathering consumer insights, which it has done well. The challenge now is no longer finding those insights but turning those insights into content. This is where he sees headless commerce coming into play. Salesforce defines headless commerce as “a separation of the front end and back end of an ecommerce application”. This separation allows eCommerce companies to update the front end of their application more easily, thereby making it easier to keep up with emerging consumer touchpoints and experiences – which is key to survival in the ever-evolving eCommerce landscape. Stuart sees headless commerce as providing huge opportunities for AI as its function evolves from gathering insights into communicating those insights to the customer. In his words, “it’s the first time that data is going to get injected into the eCommerce shopping experience to differentiate for the consumer.”
Headless commerce is beneficial for the customer by providing a more personalized, up-to-date user experience, but it is also beneficial for the company by reducing the time to market, as businesses can update the front end of their eCommerce application without waiting for the back end to catch up. Another factor impacting time to market is making sure the content is ready and available in the consumer’s language when entering each specific market. Stuart believes that if an eCommerce business’ core offering is solid – the right product at the right price – there should be no barrier to making a sale in new markets as long as that value is communicated properly. A company’s core offering must now be communicated through online content, so language and internationalization will be imperative to an eCommerce company’s successful entry to new markets. Stuart gives the example of the Covid pandemic forcing consumers to start shopping outside of their country to find the products they wanted; the retailers who were able to successfully capitalize on this trend were those who were able to express themselves in multiple languages, as they were much easier for consumers to find online.
The key takeaways eCommerce companies can glean from this interview are that they can make use AI-gathered insights to create valuable content for their consumers, and that this content should be easily available in each consumer’s language to properly communicate the value of the company’s core offering. Jonckers can help eCommerce companies struggling with multilingual content volumes through the use of our own AI-powered translation platform, WordsOnline. WordsOnline combines machine translation with our network of certified linguists, meaning your content can be fluidly translated at low cost, high quality, and high speed – ideal for eCommerce brands looking to go global quickly.
Catch the rest of our Amazing Insights series on our YouTube channel. Our first Amazing Insights interview sees Daryl D’Cruz from data consultancy firm, Hexdon, share his advice for an offensive and defensive AI strategy.
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