ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)

🇪🇺 EU HIGH-LEVEL GROUP ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Following an open selection process, the European Commission has appointed 52 experts to a new High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, comprising representatives from academia, civil society, as well as industry.

European Commission launches new Access2Markets portal

The High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLG) will have as a general objective to support the implementation of the European strategy on AI. This will include the elaboration of recommendations on future AI-related policy development and on ethical, legal and societal issues related to AI, including socio-economic challenges.

Moreover, the AI HLG will serve as the steering group for the European AI Alliance’s work, interact with other initiatives, help stimulate a multi-stakeholder dialogue, gather participants’ views and reflect them in its analysis and reports.

 

Below, some images generated via the AI tool Craiyon (formerly DALL-E mini) for Cross-Border Commerce Europe


CUSTOMER’S INTIMACY

Creating a wealth of exceptionally happy customers takes hard work: not just financial investments, but also perseverance and patience. Many businesses find they need to reinvent their manner of interacting with customers.

Customer IntimacyIt’s a prerequisite for the shift from customer service to customer care is having empathy for your customers and imbuing the whole company with that empathy.

The key step in making customers into ambassadors might be asking them about their experiences along every stage of the customer journey, from orientation to selection and payment to delivery, and dealing with queries and complaints. Every single interaction with customers is an opportunity to build on customer happiness and satisfaction.

Understanding the viewing/choosing/buying behaviour of customers is what helps retailers make their products more personally relevant without harming the privacy of the customer. The retailer might suggest a purchase based on the products other consumers chose to complement. They can also glean information from knowing in which stage of the customer journey someone is and which device the customer is using at any given moment.

Consumers who have given their permission outright for their personal data to be used should expect to receive personal and bespoke offers in years to come. Already, users of Amazon, Apple (iTunes), Booking.com, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube have seen their personal pages become more relevant. Many traditional retailers still fail to use the loads of behavioural data that they have. At present, only a few large supermarkets use previous purchases and viewed products to suggest offers to customers. Most retailers, however, find it a struggle to improve service and customer care based on data.

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NEW BUSINESS MODELS: DIGITAL MARKETPLACES

NEW OPPORTUNITIES

It was in 1997 that Harvard professor Clayton Christensen pointed out that established businesses tend to respond to disruptive innovation only when it is already too late. Retailers need to reinvent their trade, once and again, and dare to be vulnerable and dive into new business models with reckless abandon. “You have to become your won fiercest competitor and disrupt or destroy your own business before competition does,” says Indian author and consultant Rajesh Srivastava.
It’s a do-or-die time for retailers now. Old business models will be given their umpteenth new coat of paint, though there will (happily) actually be new business models too in the years ahead.

START YOUR OWN MARKETPLACE

top100 global marketplaces report

The traditional retail titans of days gone by are desperately trying to catch up with this platform and marketplace trend.

Hopefully, they go about opening their own online one-way-marketplaces and shopping portals, slightly desperate to make up for lost time. This is not as easy as it looks. eBay provides the facilities for over 25 million sellers (businesses and individuals), Amazon Marketplace does the same for 2,5 million, and Tmall Global has over 70.000 vendors.

Estimates show that eBay and Amazon take 90 percent of all marketplace revenue. Other retailers such as ASOS, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Fnac, Otto, Sears, Staples, Tesco and Walmart who often have “only” a few dozen millions of items being sold through mere hundreds of vendors still have a very long way ahead.
Traditional retailers with a lot of square footage in-store need not lose heart yet. The way forward involves joining forces with other stores to complement what they can offer on their own marketplace.

By doing so, they can confidently promise consumers a comprehensive range of goods. Offering fulfilment programs to participating retailers is another option. Thanks to bypassing the need to invest in new products, not to mention avoiding the risks of storage and write-offs, they face a huge return-on-investment (ROI).

BECOME A SPECIALIST MARKETPLACE

Over the next decade, niche platforms and marketplaces are going to pop up left, right and center. Built around a community or theme, these platforms will offer the exceptional and wonderful. Unlike generic platforms, they can realise higher commission percentages and profit margins.

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OMNICHANNEL

STORES BECOME MORE DIGITAL THAN EVER

Omnichannel customer experience: Why it matters more today than everIn the future, literally every kind of store will be a connected store: supermarkets to hardware stores, travel agencies to banks, bakery shops to butchers.

They’re going to create all kinds of ways to navigate the customer journey, either at home or in-store, with options to order from a mobile device, in-store Internet terminal or other device. Every kind of digital technology will be used in connected stores to improve customer service. Beacons in the store will make sure online and offline shopping blend into a single shopping experience, allowing retailers and tech-companies to track customer movement in-store, monitor which departments they go to, and so on.

Stores are already tapping into all sorts of digital technology to involve their customers in their goods and services. More and more stores (IKEA) allow you to check relevant product information by scanning a barcode or QR-code on your smartphone. Others (Target) have special apps that give extra value to -in-store online shopping by offering discounts. Still others (Timberland) have a tablet desk to help simplify online shopping for customers in the store or provide extra service options (Argos).

Miniature smart screens on hangers can display dynamic product and price information and even show how popular an item is (the number of likes it has on Facebook), as well as how many items are in stock. Norwegian firm Thinfilm has smart labels, equipped with computer chip, which can be used by supermarkets or other stores to track the freshness of milk. An app can warn customers against picking up anything near its sell-by date. Soon, your smartphone will be able to suggest which wine best complements the food in your trolley. These smart technologies give customers a whole new shopping experience on the street, in-store and online – but seducing the customer is still an art. So, what else is new?

Source: The End of Online Shopping: The future of retail in an always connected world.

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SECURITY AND FRAUD

E-COMMERCE FRAUD INCREASED 33% IN 2020

Online shopping fraud rose dramatically last year and can be categorised in these two categories:

  1. Shipping fraud occurs when a criminal uses their address for the delivery of stolen goods purchased online. Rates of shipping fraud increased 32% in 2020 vs. 2019.
  2. Billing fraud occurs when the victim’s address is tied to the payment account used to purchase the stolen goods; those rates increased 36%. The North Central region saw a 55% increase in attack rates for billing fraud.

HOW CAN I SPOT A FAKE WEBSITE?

Trying to determine whether a site is fake or not can be tricky these days as scammers have become really good at creating branded websites and URLs that look nearly identical to the real thing.

Finding the location of an IP address can be even trickier for most. If your gut feeling is making you unsure whether a site is legitimate or not, here are a few tips to keep in mind to spot a fake website:

  • Look at the domain name to see if it is the site that you wanted to go to or different domain name.
  • Check the contact page to find the name of the owner and use a lookup service on the URL to find additional information about the site.
  • Google the site and owner to check what the search results say. You can also visit Google’s Transparency Report to find out the safety rating.
  • Find reviews of the site or owner of the business from other users to read what they said.
  • SSL – Is HTTPS supported? Make sure the website is HTTPS supported and secure if you decide to make a purchase (check the browser bar).
  • Are there typos and grammar mistakes on the site? If so, that could be a sign that the site is not on the up and up.
  • Are the prices really low? If so, compare those prices to others sites. If it is still much lower that could be a bad sign that it is a scam.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM ONLINE FRAUD?

Criminals are becoming incredibly sophisticated with the method of fraud attacks and it can make us all feel helpless.

Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when making decisions about protecting yourself from online fraud:

  • Call Your Bank Immediately: If any of your financial information may have been breached, call immediately so you can cancel a credit card or change your password. If your bank account numbers were caught up in a breach, close that account and open a new one.
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication: Adjust your account setting so that a one-time passcode via SMS messaging is sent to your mobile device – alternatively you can use a mobile app or a physical key. This method is also called Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). While the additional login step takes a few extra seconds it can help to protect your personal information and money.
  • Perform a Dark Web Scan: See if your name or information is for sale on the dark web marketplaces.

Beyond the data breach: How retail is addressing cybersecurity and preventing online fraud

E-commerce fraud is a clue that other types of fraud have already taken place.

Usually, it is a result of a larger data breach that creates a trickle down of criminal activity.

Whether a credit card has been stolen or personal credentials have been compromised, fraudsters will go to great lengths to implement complex fraud schemes that can cost people and companies millions of euros in fraud losses.

Source: Experian.com

SUPPLY CHAIN

CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS FOR THE INTEGRATION OF E-COMMERCE IN CITIES

warehouse supply chain

E-commerce growth is challenging our supply chains. The existing supply chain designs are complex and are undergoing dramatic development.

Many supply chains are not adapted or optimised for the anticipated increase in services and volumes. The key challenges in urban areas are the resources required, environmental and cost efficiency of last mile transport, and the location and function of facilities.

Green Supply Chain Blue PaperThese challenges resonate throughout the supply chain and in urban planning– from warehouse design and location, delivery networks of hubs, depots and transportation, to and into consumers’ private homes.

Smart packaging solutions that improve fill rates, reduce waste, and enable recycling and re-use are a natural part of efficient logistics.

The inefficiency of today’s solutions highlights the need for innovative thinking to identify solutions for efficient distribution principles and supply chain strategies and design, integrated into urban structures.

Stakeholders throughout the supply chain will benefit by looking beyond their current boundaries and interests to search for efficient solutions through collaboration, co-ordination, co-location and co-transportation.

Incorporating new trends and needs into urban planning and design will benefit citizens as well as e-commerce businesses.

Stakeholders in urban logistics and those responsible for land and property planning need to be co-ordinated as future requirements are specified for urban logistics facilities’ location and function.

Adequate domestic logistics reception capability and capacity also need to be ensured. Logistics facilities will have different requirements for space and location as compared with more traditional set-ups.

Public authorities and other powerful stakeholders can promote and support new ideas and new thinking regarding the development of solutions for efficient distribution principles and supply chain strategies and design.

Authorities can also inform citizens about the impact of e-commerce on urban areas.

Logistics needs to be given high priority on the regional political agenda, and authorities can guide development through regulations and incentives to steer development in a desirable direction.

Source: Swecourbaninsight.com

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SUSTAINABILITY AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY

Sustainability and circular economy

NEW SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODELS

Lacy and Rutqvist describe 5 new business models that focus on sustainability:

  • Circular input models. These are focused on producing goods through the use of renewable and/or biodegradable raw materials. Ultimately, this kind of goods will prove less expensive than things made out of traditional materials. Producers will find they are less reliant on the supply of materials from abroad. Online retailers can encourage the sales of these goods by adding “sustainability” to the selection criteria for searching their range.
  • Waste value models. This kind of model deals with creating materials out of waste through recycling or upcycling. Recycling is the breaking down of the original material to then produce something new. Upcycling is reusing an object or its material without taking it apart first. Recycling tends to use more energy than upcycling does. Both methods will mainly be done by parties which create and produce large amounts of waste. Retailers can then ensure their old and used goods end up at these waste processors.
  • Lifespan models. There are various ways to increase the lifespan of goods, including repair, upgrading or remanufacturing, or even simply re-selling them. Retailers have a part to play as facilitators by selling spare parts and providing extensive product information online about small repairs so that the end users can do those repairs themselves.
  • Platform models. Here, there are ways to better utilise goods by sharing them, renting them out or re-selling. This is a particularly interesting means of making money for retailers who have an online platform already.
  • Goods-as-services models. This is when the producer retains ownership of the goods and offers them to consumers as a service instead. Retailers facilitate in this model by entering into, or selling on, contracts with consumers, or by providing an environment for consumers to use such services.

Businesses will need to tap into their creativity if they are to develop new business models capable of reducing costs and providing added value to consumers.

THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

McKinsey has estimated that a shift towards the circular economy can add 1 trillion dollars to the global economy in 2025.

In Europe, the manufacturing industry can advantage of savings in (raw) materials, which could amount to 630 billion dollars in 2025. According to the action program Circular Economy 2020 Vision, the EU can benefit from an improved trade balance worth 90 million pounds.

New jobs will appear: brokers where consumers can get rid of their used goods, designers of products that are easy to disassemble, technicians who are able to repair durable goods or prepare them for reuse or disassembly, and administrators who can take stock of the raw materials.

McKinsey believes there will be 100.000 new jobs in the United States and 160.000 in the EU in the next 5 years. There are serious numbers to take into account, which further emphasise the importance and potential of the circular economy.

Source: The End of Online Shopping: The future of retail in an always connected world.

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