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The Digital Enterprise Revolution: Some Subtle Implications

In my last post I presented our Digital Revolution infographic. As I was pondering some of the data points it covers, I got to thinking about their implications for the fields of marketing and commerce, and their enabling technologies. Most of the obvious implications have been written about at length elsewhere, but today I’d like to take a look at some of the not-so-obvious ones:
New mobile customers: Everyone talks about the mobile web surpassing the fixed web, but it pays to look at the customers who are driving this. According to the International Telecommunications Union, this year mobile broadband subscriptions in developing countries surpassed subscriptions in developed countries. Beyond that, there’s lots more headroom for growth and the mobile web is cheaper and easier to access than the fixed web in the developing world. The implication? While it’s critical for global brands to have a mobile strategy, it’s equally critical that that strategy comprehend the huge opportunity web-enabled phones are bringing to developing countries, and the challenges that accompany that opportunity: supporting price points that are affordable to these new customers, processing their payments, even the packaging and supply chain strategies required to ensure they get the right product at the right place and time.
Cross-channel table stakes: Nearly everyone who can shop in the US is now shopping online, and while just about every major US retailer is there to sell to them, there are plenty of leading retailers and brands that still aren’t taking any form of cross-channel seriously. With traditionally online-only retailers like Amazon and eBay (and non-retailers like google) quickly moving to provide same-day delivery, ignoring cross-channel is suicide. Single channel retailers who don’t quickly take the big leap into cross-channel (or better yet, omni-channel) will have to be satisfied with becoming niche players -- or worse, showrooms for competitors.

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