Digital Transformation in 2022
Connected ecosystems will find their footing as embedded commerce proliferates.
Consumers want to live in a connected economy, as the PYMNTS studies of roughly sixty thousand consumers over the last 22 months consistently finds. The digital transformation of nearly every aspect of their everyday lives has made them more, not less, comfortable transacting digitally as they go about their day-to-day – how they shop, how they pay, where and how they buy and eat their food, how they live and work, how they communicate with others, what they do to have fun and stay healthy.
Increasingly, the digital endpoints that have become the consumer’s go-to for those activities have given them more options, more things to buy, more services to consider, more options for how to pay and how to access what they just bought. Products are becoming platforms. Platforms are becoming robust ecosystems. Ecosystems are connecting with products and platforms to capture more of the consumers’ attention and spend. Payments is the connective tissue that turns engagement into a commerce experience. A host of third-party enablers remove the logistics and mobility constraints to keep those interactions fluid and dynamic for ecosystem stakeholders.
In 2021, we observed the beginnings of how consumers want to live in this truly connected economy – what services and capabilities they want, how they see it evolving. We see a small but growing group of consumers who want it all – many of whom also own a dozen connected devices to provide a seamless transition across all of the places and channels where they wish to access that ecosystem. We also see consumers who want ecosystems to aggregate the information they need to make decisions, get deals, hire contractors and go out to eat. We see those who long for a simple place to store and manage their money, pay their bills and save.
Regardless of how these consumer groups see the value of a connected ecosystem, each is motivated by the simplicity of a single place that makes it easy – and, in their mind, secure – to manage what were once a multitude of separate apps. Their desire creates a foundation for connected ecosystems to go well beyond integrating payments into these interactions, instead embedding commerce into them.
Who does the consumer trust to do that? That is one of the very important details that we will see emerge in 2022.
A colleague last week wished me a Happy 2020 II – a cynical nod to how the year has begun. Admittedly, it was a week with its 2020-esque challenges. COVID patients overloaded hospitals. Businesses that need people to perform a service – airlines, healthcare providers, restaurants, retail shops – were forced to cut back or cancel services because about five million people were sick with COVID. Businesses pulled out of physical events and relaxed return-to-work edicts. Schools wrestled with whether to open or revert to remote learning. Many executives are on corporate-wide or self-imposed travel lockdowns.
Yes, this second week of the new year has the world still in the throes of dealing with the global pandemic. The digital shift that we saw ignite in 2020 remains alive and well and is moving even faster. What’s different, though, is that the routines that we once hoped we’d return to in a few short months in March of 2020 are now part of our history – to be learned from, but not necessarily repeated. Not because we can’t, but because we don’t want to.
This year, 2022, we stand as a world in awe of the resilience of the innovators across the connected economy who saw the silver linings inside the darkness of 2020 and worked tirelessly to make how we live our day-to-day lives better, safer and easier to navigate. They made it possible for everyone to experience their own digital transformation – from the Mom and Pops to the multinationals.Many of the trends that I have presented are bold, not without controversy, even a little hard to digest.