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The Not-So-Far-Out Future with Rightpoint’s Chief Commerce Officer, Phillip Jackson

Where the ecommerce industry is headed and what risks have to be taken to get there

Photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo on Unsplash

Okay, so sitting around trying to predict the future can be a pretty fun challenge. But for Phillip Jackson, the Chief Commerce Officer at Rightpoint and the Co-founder of Future Commerce, there’s no better way to spend a day.

Jackson has been in the ecommerce field for years, and he has been talking to and working with brands large and small that are looking to make a dent in the digital economy. And while the younger generation has grown up with ecommerce as part of their day-to-day lives, the rise of the industry is still happening and it’s still being shaped. This presents certain obstacles.

“A really interesting challenge … is trying to understand the modern customer journey,” Jackson said. “Because I think there’s this hard-coded default of I grew up with Best Buy. I grew up with Target. I grew up with Walmart. I think there’s a lot of people like me who grew up with physical retail manifestation and those are the brands that you tend to reach for. In fact, they’re all ones who have performed dramatic turnarounds in ecommerce in the last 10 years. What we will collectively remember the direct to consumer era as having done is really create incredible platforms for big retail to have exceptional branding and to find product-market fit with the consumer.”

This platform, though, is not enough to really leave a long-term impact. That only happens, Jackson said, when a brand is willing to go out on a limb and do things no one else is willing to try.

“For those historical brands, big, beloved global conglomerates… it’s their first foray into ecommerce and ecommerce is a channel wherein …every single thing that you do can be quantified,” Jackson said, “Because everything can be quantified, we can measure and prove out hypotheses. The problem is that other parts of the business maybe aren’t so quantifiable and you have to adopt the mentality of a product management philosophy to operate ecommerce well, and you have to be willing to fail sometimes to learn. That’s the struggle here. That’s where disruptor brands have the advantage — the early movers and disruptors have zero fear of failure. They’re willing to take big swings and big risks. That’s why so much of ecommerce, especially at the global brand level, is so boring, it’s because they are not willing to take risks and make big swings and learn from failure.”

What do some of those big swings look like, and where are they happening? According to Jackson, the best place to find innovative ideas and to get a glimpse into the future of technology is actually within one very specific community.

“​​Most technological innovation begins life by looking like a toy,” Jackson said. “So I think that Web 3 is certainly going to look very different to Web 2. I think it’s already here, but it looks like a game because you know what? It literally is. Most of these things are happening in gaming communities right now.”

For example, if you take a look at some of the latest trends in gaming (and online in general) is bringing together siloed communities into something of a metaverse.

“There’s an evolution coming in that there are things that brands are testing right now,” Jackson said. “If you look like Gucci and Fortnight, there’s digital collectibles, digital identity, digital wearables, there’s all of these sorts of things that are siloed into their own respective little corners of the universe and there are some technologies… [like] NFTs and crypto, which could… allow for the migration of these kinds of things to port from one universe to the next.”

What else is coming down the pike? Tune into Up Next in Commerce to find out!

Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce

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