Gartner: These 5 areas of digital commerce will be transformed by COVID-19

Business success in the post-pandemic world means reprioritizing to account for major, long-term changes to the way people and businesses make purchases.

Paper boxes in a shopping cart.

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Gartner has identified five areas of digital commerce that are being changed due to COVID-19’s effects not only on customer behaviors, but also due to rapidly accelerated adoption of online and digital alternatives by businesses.

The five areas highlighted could affect myriad types of businesses, with Gartner saying IT leaders will need to keep up with changes to remain competitive in the new normal.

“Digital commerce has played an important role during the pandemic by enabling organizations to continue serving customers. Measures implemented by organizations during the pandemic, such as enabling new go-to-market (GTM) models and new types of customer engagement are likely to remain, thus evolving digital commerce,” said Gartner senior research director Sandy Shen.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Contactless purchasing is here to stay

Whether it’s Apple Pay or NFC chips in cards, contactless purchasing has become a preferred payment method during the pandemic, and Gartner predicts that 80% of ordering and replenishment will be touchless by 2024. 

“More organizations will offer contactless payments, contactless pickup and delivery for customers and enable contactless commerce operations where organizations can use robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision to assist employees with store-level merchandising, pricing, and pick-and-pack at warehouses,” Gartner said in a press release.

Virtual product views via AR and apps will grow

Gartner admits that 2D and 3D product previews are still lightly adopted, with less than 1,500 deployments globally, but it predicts that number will grow, with software vendors offering visual configuration tools already reporting an uptick in business due to the pandemic.

“In the future, these tools may reduce the need for samples and showrooms and enable more customer self-service

Louis Vuitton, Volvo Tapping Thai Social Commerce Via Line Chat App | World News

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Luxury fashion and auto brands in Thailand have turned to selling their products on Japanese chat app Line amid the coronavirus pandemic, tapping the country’s growing appetite for social commerce, a top executive said on Thursday.

Brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Volvo were among those that opened official accounts on the messaging app, which outranks Facebook’s WhatsApp and Rakuten’s Viber in Thailand, aiming to connect with users during a coronavirus lockdown.

“The luxury category was forced to adapt because their stores were closed,” Line Thailand chief commercial officer, Norasit Sitivechvichit, told Reuters.

Thailand earlier this year imposed a nationwide curfew and closed malls for nearly two months to contain infections.

“During the pandemic, sellers became very active,” Norasit said, adding that others sold cosmetics and fast-moving consumer goods.

Line, which charges sellers for sending messages and live streaming, said its monthly active users in Thailand grew from 44 million to 47 million this year, its second largest market after Japan.

Volvo successfully sold cars on the platform after launching in May and studying customer data, its Thailand head of marketing and digitalization, Jean-David Harel, said.

“We have an understanding of which models they own today, which interest they have and when they plan to change their existing car,” he said.

Social commerce is widely popular in Thailand, where merchants sell directly to customers through social media like Line and Facebook’s Instagram.

Line last year introduced a feature for merchants to organise inventory and online store fronts, which now has over 50,000 users.

Another tool to support sellers with customer relationship and data management is slated to launch next year.

E-commerce platform, JD Central would also launch services for sellers.

Line will soon introduce “MyRestaurant” with its food delivery app, Line Man Wongai, to support restaurants, Norasit

Tech CEOs will testify before Senate Commerce Committee

By David Shepardson and Nandita Rose | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The chief executives of Facebook <FB.O, Twitter and Alphabet-owned Google have agreed to voluntarily testify at a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee on Oct. 28 about a key law protecting internet companies.

Facebook and Twitter confirmed on Friday that their CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, respectively, will appear, while a source said that Google’s Sundar Pichai will appear. That came a day after the committee unanimously voted to approve a plan to subpoena the three CEOs to appear before the panel.

Twitter’s Dorsey tweeted on Friday that the hearing “must be constructive & focused on what matters most to the American people: how we work together to protect elections.”

The CEOs are to appear virtually.

In addition to discussions on reforming the law called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from liability over content posted by users, the hearing will bring up issues about consumer privacy and media consolidation.

Republican President Donald Trump has made holding tech companies accountable for allegedly stifling conservative voices a theme of his administration. As a result, calls for a reform of Section 230 have been intensifying ahead of the Nov. 3 elections, but there is little chance of approval by Congress this year.

Last week Trump met with nine Republican state attorneys general to discuss the fate of Section 230 after the Justice Department unveiled a legislative proposal aimed at reforming the law.

The chief executives of Google, Facebook, Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc recently testified before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel. The panel, which is investigating how the companies’ practices hurt rivals, is expected to release its report as early as next Monday.

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Senate Commerce votes to issue subpoenas to CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter

The Senate Commerce Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to issue subpoenas to the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter, in Washington’s latest attack on Big Tech.



Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey are posing for a picture


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The subpoenas aim to force Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey to testify about the legal immunity the law affords tech platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934. That law, Republicans argue, unduly protects social media companies against allegations of anti-conservative censorship. There is little evidence such bias exists on a systemic basis. Democrats have argued tech platforms have failed to moderate enough content under the law.

Thursday’s charge was led by Sen. Roger Wicker, the Mississippi Republican who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee.

“I fear that Section 230’s sweeping liability protections for Big Tech are stifling true diversity of political discourse on the internet,” Wicker said. “On the eve of a momentous and highly charged election, it is imperative that this committee of jurisdiction and the American people receive a full accounting from the heads of these companies about their content moderation practices.”

Under Section 230, websites and tech platforms cannot be held liable for the content their users create, and companies are given wide freedom to moderate their sites as they see fit. The law has been described as a foundational pillar of the modern internet.

The effort to compel the executives’ testimony is part of a wider push, largely by Republicans, to make Section 230 a hot-button issue before the election. Lawmakers have introduced a series of bills designed to scale back the law’s protections and create greater legal exposure for tech companies. And last month, the Justice Department weighed in with its own draft legislation that it submitted to Congress.

The committee hopes to hold its hearing before Election