Tuesday , September 22, 2020

COMMENTARY: What Will Digital Commerce Look Like in 2020?

Hardly any industry is currently in such a state of flux as is digital commerce. Of course, it’s precisely for this reason that the participating players are particularly concerned with the trends of the future.

While it’s no surprise that customers will continue to take center stage, they will do so more than ever now, thanks to new technologies. Here are three digital-commerce trends for 2020 and their importance to the customer experience:


Fingerprints, face scans, and voice recognition will begin their triumphal march in digital commerce next year and define an unprecedented level of security and convenience in payment transactions. Customers and merchants are better protected against fraud than ever before and no longer need passwords that are far too easy to steal. 

Gladis: “While it’s no surprise that customers will continue to take center stage, they will do so more than ever now, thanks to new technologies.

With Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) delegation, merchants can even use biometrics themselves for payment authentication, an area previously restricted to banks. Even though U.S. merchants don‘t fall under PSD2 (the European Union’s Second Payment Services Directive, which will require SCA), there are many U.S. retailers that have European subsidiaries that do. Also, even if a merchant is not required to comply with PSD2, it’s still a good idea to have SCA for robust security purposes.

With SCA delegation, the authentication of the payment merges with the login. The result: one less step in the purchase process where the customer might drop out.


Is this old news? Not at all! Online and offline selling continue to merge and improve the shopping experience for both online shoppers and in-store strollers. For example, it’s currently possible for consumers to interact with large touch displays that open the gate to the online store at the point of sale. This means that customers can immediately select items that are not in stock in the store, order them, and have them delivered to their homes. And this trend looks to continue into 2020 and beyond. 

Also looking ahead to the year(s) to come, it will be possible to reserve changing rooms via consumers’ mobile phones and have the desired merchandise already in the rooms when they enter. It’s clear that the overarching focus on the buyer is particularly significant when it comes to omnichannel.  


The purchase of public-transportation tickets has typically followed the same pattern: Customers either buy their tickets via cash or card at the terminal, or they handle the process via an app. In both cases, the payment process takes time and is not convenient. 

Pioneers such as London’s public transportation system show that things can be quite different. Mobility organizations can follow London’s example in 2020 if they haven’t already, with the contactless credit card serving as the ticket to simply be swept over an NFC sensor at the start and end of a customer’s journey. If the route is more expensive than a day ticket, the latter is billed at the end of the day. This way, the customer always gets the best price and enjoys maximum convenience.

It’s clear that the tools to address the trends above are already available. Using them to your advantage will help to drive your digital-commerce success in 2020, and beyond.

—Ralf Gladis is founding director of Computop, Bamberg, Germany.

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