A Digital Everyday Economy
And other musings on the future of finance and retail.
e-Commerce is redundant.
e-Commerce as a term entered the English language in the early 1970s, when ARPANet was used to arrange a sale of marijuana. Used to specifically refer to “electronic-commerce”, it’s now commonly used to refer to online shopping…but the reality is that the vast majority of commerce is electronic. In the very near future, e-commerce will reach peak redundancy, where not only is the infrastructure of everyday transactions electronic, but the primary consumer interaction is as well. Mobile devices and digital currencies will replace cash and cards.
Commerce isn’t zero-sum.
It’s no secret that offline shopping is on the decline, and essentially has been since Netflix dug Blockbuster’s grave. Some people look at the decline of brick & mortar and automatically point fingers to online retailers. But commerce isn’t zero-sum. It’s possible for both online and offline retail to flourish. Small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) certainly need to be empowered to compete in this brave new world…but they need not be afraid of it. A simple glimpse at boutique industries like independent bookstores or vinyl record shops, coinciding with the rise of service providers like Amazon and Spotify, provide a glance at what this could look like.
A bottoms-up approach is available for merging online & offline shopping.
Let’s be clear: Amazon is obviously the 800-pound gorilla in the room. They are not only taking over the digital economy, but they are increasingly using their position of advantage to move into the offline world of retail. A simple glance at their acquisition of Whole Foods is a clear pointer to that…not to mention their movement into the home with their Echo product line. They want to take their closed-system approach to retail into the offline world, keeping everything within the Amazon ecosystem. This “top-down” approach from Amazon also leaves room for the opposite approach: a decentralized tech platform that enables individual businesses to compete. This “bottoms-up” approach allows for the growth of a dominant consumer finance platform to the benefit of small businesses…not at their expense.
Brick & mortar merchants must better understand their customers in order to compete.
There are a lot of offerings in the “retail tech” space. POS systems, inventory control, beacons, etc. The offerings are nearly endless. In my humble opinion, they dance around the core issue. The reason that online retail has been so successful is not because of their inventory control or even their margins. Ultimately, it’s because online retailers know their customer. Product recommendations, subscriptions for often-purchased items, customer profiles for preferences…the list goes on. This tailored experience is what consumers crave. They want to feel known. Online retailers, due to their data, have this ability whereas offline merchants are currently in the proverbial dark ages. Retail tech should provide brick & mortar retailers with the ability to serve their customers well, using data and software to do so.
Millennials are shaping the Everyday Economy.
The largest American generation ever, the Millennial generation also has the largest amount of debt ever. Combined with smaller incomes and lower employment rates, it means that the spending habits of Millennials are fundamentally shaping how the Everyday Economy functions. Marriage and child-rearing are being deferred. Home and car ownership rates are lower. Technologies like AirBnb & Lyft are becoming more and more popular to fill those gaps. Retail is changing, too. Over half of this generation does price comparison in store. Brand doesn’t matter as much as social media. Peer reviews matter a lot. And nearly all information for a product is available in the average consumer’s pocket, at their disposal at all times. These are fundamental truths about the Everyday Economy that offline retailers have been slow to take into account…to their detriment.
Exeq is equipping millennials and merchants alike.
We’re targeting Millennials not just because it’s a cool buzzword to associate ourselves with, but rather because we have a belief that if you serve the most impactful generation, in the most impactful places (urban centers), you’re able to have the most impact on the Everyday Economy.
🤑 For better spending,