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3 Key Takeaways from Commerce Connect: San Francisco

By: Nick Wassenberg
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Digital River recently hosted the first of two Commerce Connect flagship events in San Francisco, connecting attendees from around the world with a community of industry experts. This exclusive event focused on building exceptional ecommerce experiences to future-proof global growth and strengthen relationships with today’s demanding customers.

Speakers from Airbnb, AMD, ChargePoint, Docker, Flickr/SmugMug, Forrester, GoPro, LinkedIn, Malwarebytes, Reforge and VMware, along with sponsors from PayPal and Deloitte Digital, explored the latest industry trends and strategies that are shaping the landscape of global ecommerce. Here are some highlights from the experts:

1) The future of ecommerce is ecosystems

One of the biggest takeaways from speakers and panelists was that the future of the ecommerce industry lies in ecosystem approaches – combining best-of-breed platforms to create a modular ecommerce solution. This is often referred to as “headless commerce”. And although the definition of headless commerce can be interpreted in different ways, the important part is that this approach allows brands more flexibility and control over the buying experiences they offer.

“There’s actually no such thing as ‘headless commerce’. To be successful in today’s market, brands need a robust, best-of-breed ecosystem that includes the ‘head’ (or digital experience layer), along with other key components of the commerce stack.” -Adam Coyle, Digital River

Traditional, full-stack solutions can work great for smaller, newer brands and brands who sell domestically. But as brands grow and become more complex, they need best-of-breed solutions that allow them to meet evolving shopper needs and take their business global with ease.

2) Global ecommerce is growing, but not without challenges

Despite trade wars, currency fluctuations and regulatory uncertainty, speakers alluded to the fact that ecommerce is continuing to grow globally. It’s growing fastest in Southeast Asia and Latin America, and the bulk of new online buyers will hail from these regions in the years to come. Cross-border shopping will make up 17% of ecommerce in 2023.

Countries such as Brazil – which accounts for more than half of all ecommerce in Latin America – are showing healthy ecommerce growth, but the complexities that come with selling into these markets have historically led merchants to focus elsewhere. Local payments and tax compliance are major barriers but crucial for ecommerce success.

“Brazil’s tax law is layered down to the municipal level, and Brazil has over 5,000 municipalities.” -Lily Varon, Forrester Research

While it’s clear that the global ecommerce market is growing, it’s constantly evolving and hard for brands to keep up with. Furthermore, these brands musts offer seamless and localized buying experiences that satisfy consumers’ growing expectations. The best solution? Rely on trusted partners to take the complexity and risk out of expanding into new markets and capturing these global opportunities.

3) Digital transformation is key to future-proofing your business

We’ve all heard the term “digital transformation”, and we all know it’s important for the success of today’s brands. In simple terms, digital transformation is how you future-proof a business. We’re living in a time of digital disruption – global connectivity is at an all-time high, digital natives are changing the way consumers interact with brands, and businesses have access to more data than ever before – and commerce is one of the forces driving this disruption.

“We’re not in the middle of a retail apocalypse, but rather a retail renaissance. -Paul do Forno, Deloitte Digital

Successful brands are embracing digital transformation and technology changes to stay relevant and attract new customers around the world. More specifically, these brands use data to learn what their customers prefer and how they can meet shifting customer needs.

“Using customer data is key to understand user psychology, optimize product distribution, and drive growth in competitive environments.” -Elena Verna, Reforge

In today’s ever-evolving world of ecommerce and digital transformation, it’s crucial to be data driven and customer obsessed.


We’re hosting Commerce Connect: London on October 17 at the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard London. Visit the event site to learn more and RSVP. Hurry, spots are limited for this exclusive event!