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The Evolution of E-Commerce

Those of us lucky enough to attend the Yale Consumer Insights Conference this year were treated to a great presentation by Alex Craddock (@THEAlexCraddock), Senior Vice President, North America Marketing, at VISA, Inc. So many changes in our world—especially with the rise of digital everything—make for huge implications for payment. By 2020 Craddock says there will be a complete convergence of physical, digital and social.  This evolution of e-commerce will be consumer-centric and seamless. Visa refers to it as omni-commerce. 

The evolution of e-commerce into omni-commerce has three characteristics:

  • It’s people-powered.
  • It requires intelligent communications.
  • It offers the user a seamless experience.

We know that we are at the moment in time where power is shifting away from brands and into the hands of the people. Visa recognizes this, and is putting the people at the center of their business. It’s so logical, but often companies put their own needs front and center. Then as consumers, we're left wondering how to fit into the model they’ve designed. Visa believes the power is in the conversation, so they are now designing for what people will talk about and where they will talk. They are building off of a key insight: people don’t talk about brand stories, they talk about people stories. One of the manifestations of people stories they have executed is “football fantasies”—consumers' wishes that came true regarding sports. It’s powerful, emotional and people-centric—a more subtle way of expressing the Visa opportunity.

When I was at Hewlett Packard in the 1990s I’d try to explain to people that segmentation was really an artifact. We couldn’t do then what we needed to do—that is, address segments of one. Each user is unique and should addressed for his or her individual wants, desires, needs—their personal uniqueness. Because that wasn’t possible, companies spent lots of money on fancy segmentation studies that often were not particularly useful. Today it is possible to understand consumers as individuals. Visa can listen to what people want to do and overlay their data on what they actually do, then address specific offerings that hit the sweet spot for that consumer at that precise moment.

Finally, consumers don’t have to change their behavior to interact with a brand—instead, the brand meets people where they are. Omni-commerce is a total convergence of commerce across social, digital, and physical spaces and will transform not only how people pay, but also how people interact with brands. Purchase experiences will conform to buyers’ behaviors and be totally seamless. Finally.

Check out the complete presentation below:


Shari Morwood is an Innovation Process Facilitator at Ideas To Go, an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.

©2014 Ideas To Go, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ideas To Go

Ideas To Go is an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.