"We are pushing the boundaries in retail"

Deann Evans, the Managing Director for EMEA business at Shopify, explores the changing nature of consumer habits in e-commerce. In a video by Wired, she talks about the connect-to-consumer (C2C) business that opens up many paths to consumers and connects in more meaningful ways. Deann Evans will be a speaker at the GDI at the 74th International Retail Conference.
10 April, 2024 by
"We are pushing the boundaries in retail"
GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute

"If we look at what's happened over the last five to ten years, no-one would have ever thought of TikTok and how it would completely change the way Generation Z socialises and how they shop," says Deann Evans, the Managing Director for EMEA business at Shopify, in a video by Wired. Indeed, no-one could have imagined how D2C would shake up retailing. During the pandemic, we saw a huge transformation, with e-commerce evolving by a decade in 15 months, according to Evans.

But what exactly has changed?

There have been structural changes that have impacted the retail landscape and will continue to do so in the coming years. "We're dealing with a lot of inflation and economic headwinds. The economic situation is forcing people to rethink their spending habits," says Evans. There are therefore a lot of things that are causing consumers to change their habits.

We have come a long way from the world of simple web stores and marketplaces. Retail exploded on social platforms such as TikTok or YouTube. Web3 has changed the way we buy and sell through the increasing adoption of cryptocurrencies and NFTs by merchants and consumers alike.

Apple's decision to allow users to opt out of in-app tracking had a significant impact on retailers and merchants. Retailers spend more and gain less. "For example, we have found with some of our retailers that they are now spending five times more than they used to in order to get the same amount of traffic to their website and the same volume of sales," Evans says.

Retailers therefore can’t let their marketing strategies stand still, and they need to look at their marketing mix in a different way. Retailers both large and small cannot sit idle. The reality is that consumers are much more demanding in their spending and loyalty. They are harder to reach. They are spread across many more platforms, and you have to work over a longer period of time to maintain their loyalty. "We see a solution, and it's a new world in retailing. It's a radically simple way to win this new era of commerce. We call it ‘connect to the consumer,’" Evans says.

What is C2C, and what does it mean for companies?

C2C offers many routes to the consumer. It places authenticity, loyalty and trust at the heart of every interaction between retailers and consumers. Brands are authentic here with their stories. They establish a connection with consumers in various ways. These could be B2B, community commerce, social commerce with services such as TikTok, offline commerce or local commerce. "Commerce is about much more than just a transaction. It's about maintaining and building a trusting long-term relationship with consumers."

Learn more from Deann Evans at the 74th International Retail Summit, which will take place at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute under the heading "Retail Challenge: Honouring Values, Embracing Tech" on 12-13 September 2024. We will be discussing the tension between technology, tradition and value-oriented entrepreneurship with thought leaders, pioneers and retail professionals.

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