Ascend 2018: Future of Commerce
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Categories: Retail Events

Ascend 2018: Future of Commerce Ascend 2018: Episerver Sign

Yesterday’s post about Ascend 2018′s partner day highlighted Episerver’s incredible feat of doubling their portfolio size in a short year. Episerver’s vision is that the future of commerce is the Digital Experience Cloud offering. And again a round of congratulations goes out to the many honored Episerver partners garnering the numerous awards.

Today, the vibe was alive – with the feeling that the future of commerce is in our hands. Many customers joined the conference, ranging from B2B, ecommerce pureplay firms, and numerous B2C merchants looking for a deeper understanding of what they need to do to deepen their omni-channel retailing experience.

Future of Commerce: Start with Depth of Capabilities

Ascend 2018: Garden Sculpture in Las VegasKicking off the opening discussion, Mark Duffell, CEO of Episerver justly highlighted the remarkable doubling of the Digital Experience Cloud’s capabilities. Today’s offering focuses on capabilities, scalability, performance, and dependability. Closely paralleling our own systems, Episerver too is built on the Microsoft Azure cloud network. This makes for a very powerful alternative to the many systems built on Amazon’s AWS network. Despite bringing enormous power and capabilities as the future of commerce – today, Duffell also pointed out that “keeping it simple is key to the Episerver world.” In other words, building converged commerce (performance based unified commerce) with best of breed technologies, is what makes Episerver based solutions a powerful option for any retailer.

Gartner’s View on the Future of Commerce

Kirsten Newbold-Knipp

Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, Research VP at Gartner, took us on a journey into the near future of 2020. Our near future includes voice, with 30% of web browsing expected to be done without a screen. Voice commerce is definitely in. The implication here will be that retail marketers will have to put their thinking caps on, to figure out how to account for shopper behaviors that are evident without the aid of appealing graphics and visuals.

Additionally, paralleling the rise of voice commerce is the growing use of virtual assistants (VA). That means virtual assistants like Google Home, Siri, Alexa and others – will start to make more purchases on the shopper’s behalf. Again, the world of marketing must think about how to best market to the VA’s.

Kirsten speaking at Ascend 2018

Kirsten shared that despite the fact that most heads of marketing admit that 25% or more of their budgets are spent on technology – organizations still rate about 2 out of 5 on a marketing tech capabilities index. This needs to improve.

Effectively, Kirsten highlighted that “marketing is still about people… and the experiences.” Although not an easy recommendation to execute – the key message was that the retail marketers’ technology stacks need to reflect the customer journey. Owning the future of commerce means getting our marketing techniques, tactics, and technology – right.

Digital Maturity Model

Episerver Product Strategy

Another key notable from today’s discussions has been that of the digital maturity model. Ed Kennedy, Senior Director of Commerce at Episerver, focused the audience on a down to earth talk about rating companies across a 20 point maturity model. Furthermore, he highlighted how content marketing helps build a following, trust and ultimately loyalty with shoppers. An interesting audience poll also showed how too few merchants are on their mobile game. Ed asked how many retailer websites are mobile ready – as in how many are responsive; then how many are adaptive; finally how many are progressive. A show of hands gradually dwindled by his final question, highlighting that there is still plenty of work to be done.

Ascend 2018: Episerver waterbottlesEd ended the session by highlighting one final very important aspect of all these changes. Beyond assessing the technology stack, and use of all these new capabilities, there is also the human element to consider. Are the retailers’ people ready for changes? Some will rely heavily on agencies and partners to get things done. While others more advanced on the maturity scale may opt to develop their own capabilities, by deepening the in-house understanding of how to use the many tools of the Digital Experience Cloud – or Converged Commerce solution.

Episerver Hackathon Las Vegas

Lastly, ending the day with a hackathon opened up the networking, and let several partners test their mettle. Although all impressive, the evening ended with Valtech and Making Waves – coming in a dead tie. Congratulations to both teams, on a job well-done.

With another day closing at the Ascend USA 2018 event in Las Vegas, the focus truly has been on the future of commerce, and how Episerver’s Digital Experience Cloud will help retailers push ahead of the competition. Truly, the future looks bright. Converged commerce systems that pair the functionally of the Digital Experience Cloud with an Advanced OrderDynamics DOM – will truly build an unstoppable solutions.



Charles Dimov - Director Marketing OrderDynamicsCharles Dimov is Director of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 21+ years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, and Director Sales. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.





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