Commerce Everywhere

16 January 2017

Interview to Carlo Terreni following his visit to CES, Las Vegas, USA

The “e-Commerce Everywhere Era” started for real today at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. NetComm Suisse General Director and Board Member Carlo Terreni was in attendance; here he gives us an insightful interview with the latest trends from the world’s leading technology fair and discusses the impact for e-Commerce everywhere.

 

What is CES and why have you decided to attend it?

CES is the largest consumer electronics trade show in the world, where over 170.000 people gather together in Las Vegas to get hands on with the latest innovations in the consumer tech market. I decided to fly here to catch a glimpse of the most innovative trends and take them back to our Swiss-based community in 2017 as fast as possible.

 

Which sectors were the most represented this year?

50 years ago, when CES first came out, its scope was to show “traditional” consumer electronics. Today, you can see just how far both the show and the world have come; walking around the stands, beyond the omnipresent forests of flat TVs and stereos, there are many solutions providers in the domains of Internet of Things, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Connected vehicles and mobility solutions, Wearable technologies, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Drones, 3D Scanning and 3D Printing and SmartHomes.

 

How might e-Commerce fit into that ?

This is really a fascinating topic and I believe almost all of the previously mentioned technologies will have e-Commerce implications either today or over the next 3 years.

Let me give you some examples: Whirlpool has launched a washing machine connected to Amazon that can automatically place orders for laundry detergents; Samsung has brought out Virtual Reality Glasses that let you shop 3D games or 3D videos online (even adult videos!); VW have created an Alexa-integrated vehicle system that can geo-localize your position and drive you to a “click and collect” point to pick up your online order; Pioneer has launched a touch fridge that keeps an inventory of your groceries, suggests recipes based on your stock and places an online order at HelloFresh.com if you’re miss any ingredients; major drone producers are beta testing last-mile e-Commerce deliveries at home. This exercise of connecting the dots between e-Commerce and the innovations presented at CES could really be extended to uncountable examples, transforming the digital landscape and providing ever-greater impetus to online sales.

 

Sum it up for us: based on your CES trip, what are your predictions for the 3 major trends we will see in the future?

It is really hard to choose, a real commerce revolution is happening today.

Probably the 3 major shifts I got from my time at CES are:

  1. from mobile commerce to voice commerce
  2. from omnichannel commerce to everything and everywhere commerce
  3. from investments in digital channels to digital disruption of existing businesses

 

Can you please explain that ?

Sure. Let me give you some examples:

 

First Shift - From mobile commerce to voice commerce

According to Nielsen over 60% of the Asian population use mobile to compare prices before shopping; 45% of Europeans check online information on products before shopping offline and 38% of connected people worldwide say they have made an m-shopping experience in the last 6 months.

M-commerce is here today and taking advantage of it is an indisputable imperative for any business.

While digital marketers are working on the mobile usability of their websites, Amazon has launched Amazon Echo and Alexa Dock Station, a simple circular totem that can be placed on a table or a convenient location in your home that enables you to access multiple online services via voice.

You can ask Alexa what the weather will be like tomorrow, when your next appointment is, who Guglielmo Marconi was (by searching on Wikipedia)and so on. You can start Frank Sinatra on Spotify or even order 3 books at Amazon Prime. Just to clarify, this is already possible today and I’ve been experimenting with it: it works! Check it out  

What is really impressive, and very clear to see at CES, is that Amazon is partnering with many first class brands and hardware producers (Samsung, Whirlpool, VW, Pioneer, etc.) to become an enabling platform to “smart” everything.

At CES you could see the Amazon Alexa Logo on TVs, Fridges, Washing Machines, Demotic home control, Video Security alarms and Cars.  I believe the era of Voice Commerce has started and will significantly impact the way we do things, including shopping.

The basic off-the-bat results of voice commerce will be:

  1. You will no longer need to use your hands to place an online order
  2. Many more hardware devices will become “order entry systems”
  3. Alexa will enable easy Artificial Intelligence IoT integration
  4. Customers will start voice shopping in new locations and situations, like while driving, or maybe I should say self-pilot driving!

 

From omni-channel commerce to everywhere & everything commerce

In the last 5 years most e-Commerce directors have focused their resources and attention on creating a seamless customer experience though the implementation of multiple omnichannel strategies (very limited success, to be honest). People today are used to shopping online from the office, at home, in stores, on public transportation, and more practically, on any occasion they can use their hands, be internet connected and have access to a smartphone, a PC or a SmartTV.

Thanks to the extension of internet connections (I am searching online from a Bluejet airplane at the moment, flying from Vegas to San Francisco) and the diffusion of IoT, a full set of new consumer electronics devices will enable new online shopping occasions in 2017. 

Let’s make some “location based” examples.

At home, we will be able to shop online:

  • In the kitchen, thanks to smart ovens, smart kitchen mixers and smart fridges
  • In the toilet, thanks to smart washing machines and smart mirrors
  • In the kids bedroom, thanks to smart toys  and smart video security systems
  • In the garage, thanks to smart dogfood dispensers

In the car, we will be able to shop online:

  • While driving, thanks to Amazon Alexa voice system commands
  • While reading a book on Kindle during the Tesla Autopilot driving mode

At the gym, we will be able to shop online:

  • thanks to our Smart Technogym running machine
  • with our TomTom SmartWatch

In the Airplane:

  • flying from San Francisco to Milan thanks to AmazonPrime Internet connection service that allows you to order jetlag medicine that will be delivered at home before you land in 8 hours

I guess that the only limit on commerce everywhere right now is simply our imagination. And, honestly, the world is full of extraordinary divergent thinkers.  

 

From investments in digital channels to digital business disruption

Walking around the “Palazzo Expo Center” among the thousands of Drones, VR, AI, TV demonstrators, I came across a huge stand of  a sports company called Under Armour, presenting a full new line-up of “smart connected” sport clothes (T-shirts, Shoes, Polos and running pants).

For those of you that don’t know the brand, Under Armour is a USA sportswear/fashion brand that has an annual turnover of over 1 billion dollars and distribution points worldwide. They sponsor  Tottenham Hotspur football club, Andy Murray the tennis player, American football star Tom Brady and the American baseball league.

As the most iconic Silicon Valley tech firms (such as HP, Apple and Microsoft) UA was created in the garage of Kevin Plank, founder and current CEO of the company.  I believe the full concept of digital disruption of traditional business models, could be properly expressed with a quotation from Plank’s 90-minute keynote speak at the Venetian conference centre:

“For the last 20 years, Under Armour has been a fast growing US Fashion Company devoted to innovation. For the next 20 years, we will be a tech company that produces connected T-shirts and shoes to improve the sports performances of our customers”

Under Armour is creating a totally new value proposition thanks to digital, that will consistently differentiate them from major competitors. In the last 3 years they have invested in:

  • Acquisition of the MapMyFitness app development firm (for 150 million dollars) to dialog with a community of 125 million active sports people
  • Creation of a new generation of connected wearable devices, including shoes and t-shirts
  • Partnership development such as those announced with Samsung (wearables) and SAP (artificial intelligence)

Thanks to this wealth of innovative resources, the Under Armour CEO is preparing the company to launch a full new line of online services (yes, I said services, not products) based on BigData, artificial intelligence and IoT technologies that will potentially drive the company way out beyond the traditional battlefield with Nike, Adidas, Puma and so on. 

As the history of Apple teaches all of us, if you manage to really differentiate yourself, you no longer have to worry about defining your niche within the market: you create the market. And revenues abound for those who manage to seize this opportunity.

 

To whom would you recommend the show?

I believe it would make a lot of sense to arrange a Swiss delegation next year, gathering together managers, entrepreneurs, Investors and Universities from among our Associates. Being here is an extraordinarily inspiring experience that I am sure would benefit businesses and education and drive a whole new level of innovation that, ultimately, would pay massive dividends to our home grown Swiss digital ecosystem. 

Any questions?

 

Please contact:

 

Carlo Terreni

General Director and Board Member

Zurich: 0041 (0)44 500 21 73

Lugano: 0041 (0)91 210 47 36

Geneva: 0041 (0)22 510 71 03

partnerships@netcommsuisse.ch

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