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Commerce Conversations Roundup: November 2022

By November 30, 2022December 2nd, 2022No Comments

A Fast & Furious Two-Hour Conversation

On Thursday, November 17th, 15 DCA executives did a “strategy sprint” to assess tech disruption. Here are a few observations.

You may have taken our five-minute tech disruption survey.  We used it to lay the groundwork for a “strategy sprint”.  Fifteen executives from a dozen DCA member companies worked together to assess which technologies represent opportunities and threats to today’s dominant business models.  Ramy Nassar of DCA member Olive lent us his leadership and facilitation skills – and some memorable frameworks to work with.  (Do you know who the month of January is named for – and why?  It has to do with looking forward and looking back.)

Our “strategy sprint,” in turn, supports our DCA Summit in Washington, D.C. on December 6th, where economic and tech disruption are on the agenda.  (If you haven’t registered yet – please do – it’s going to be an amazing day.)


Clippings From The Conversation

Dozens of interesting points came out of 120 minutes of group answer-building – but a few points are sticking with us in hindsight.

  1. Will online-matched barter reach an inflection point as consumers become more cash-strapped?  How much transacting without money could online matching systems support?
  2. When will the U.S. dollar/petrodollar system lose its global supremacy?
  3. If AI meets widespread availability of permissioned data, how much will traditional loyalty programs matter?
  4. Will banks disappear “behind the curtain”, making way for neobanks and fintechs to create innovative consumer interactions while banks play the regulated entity role?
  5. When will loyalty points/rewards become as easy to use across a wide range of retailers as money?
  6. Will contractors, gig workers and employees take payment in points/rewards? If so, what will the tax authorities do?

Those are just a few questions that came out of the conversation.  Stay tuned – we’ve got more to offer from November 17th’s rich discussions and more to offer from our upcoming Summit.

Related DCA Resource:

If you haven’t yet, please take DCA’s tech disruption survey.  It’s quick, and the survey will continue to inform our work in this area.  Thanks!

The Labor Market Opportunity

Is it time to invest in talent?

DCA members are, of course, talking about the layoffs – and considering the talent acquisition opportunities they present.  This week Meta (Facebook) announced 11,000 layoffs, piling its colossal reduction in force atop RIFs from other high-tech household names.  CNBC has a running tally of recent layoffs here. 

A lost job is always bad news, but finding a new job has arguably never been easier: the U.S. economy has 10.7 million open jobs.  Which is to say – until recently, finding the right talent has never been harder. 

What to do?

Talent-starved companies suddenly have a major opportunity to hire the right people – just as dark clouds roll in to darken the economic skies.  What to do? 

Questions DCA Members are Asking:

  1. Should we stay committed to picking up key talent – even as we are tightening our belt in other areas?  Or should we suspend some open positions until we know what’s next? 
  2. Should we “trade up” for better-fit talent than we have now?  More bluntly, should we reduce our own staff and then take advantage of a better labor market? 
  3. Should we take the opportunity now to pull our staff back into the office?  
  4. Should we hire in our geographical market, or simply target the best-fit talent wherever they may be?  And if we do the latter, can we still bring our current staff back into the office – since we’re hiring new people who will always be remote? 


Related DCA Resource:

Commerce Code Episode 125: Hey, Where Did Everyone Go? Employee Shortages and Labor Market Economics

Is New Tech Going to Wreck Our Business?

DCA’s Tech Disruption Survey

Take our mobile-friendly five-minute survey here. 

In recent conversations with DCA members, we’re hearing a lot about a new wave of tech that threatens even the most innovative businesses; many leaders are expecting a shakeout in the next two years.    

One key question: which tech is the next giant killer? 

We’re gathering views from executives in digital commerce – the survey is mobile-friendly and takes about five minutes; you can complete it here. 

This effort supports DCA’s Tech Disruption Working Session, attended by a small group of DCA members later this month, as well as the DCA Summit in Washington, D.C. on December 6th. 


What is Driving the Conversation?

Many new technologies have the potential to wipe out whole sectors of digital commerce.  Past experience suggests that most of them won’t . . . and one or two of them will.    

Will the real giant-killers please step forward? 

We’ve collected a partial list of contenders, and now the DCA membership is assessing them through an online survey (take it now!).  Our list is here:  

  • Cryptocurrencies 
  • NFTs 
  • VR/Metaverse 
  • Blockchain applications other than Cryptocurrencies, NFT or VR/Metaverse 
  • Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) 
  • Internet of Things (IoT) 
  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning 
  • Geolocation
  • Facial Recognition or Other Identification Functionality
  • Embedded Finance
  • Mobile Payments
  • Tokenization of identity
  • New Payments Hardware

What “keeps you up at night”?  Tell us in the survey – especially if it’s not on the list above. 


Questions DCA Members are Asking:

  1. Which technology do we increasingly hear about but don’t really understand?
  2. What moves are our competitors making that make no sense to us?  What do they know that we don’t? 
  3. What’s a cheap solution in our space that we’re ignoring now? 
  4. What piece of our business is most vulnerable to cost competition? 
  5. What piece of our business is most profitable? 
  6. What piece of our business is least convenient for our core customers? 
  7. What piece of our business is least tech-enabled? 
  8. Could part of our business be turned into an app?


Related DCA Resource:

Commerce Code Episode 136: Blockchaining Loyalty & Rewards

EPISODE 140: Harnessing the Power of the Consumer With Philanthropic Card-Linked Offers

On this episode of Commerce Code we speak with Shwetabh Gautam, Vice President of Financial Institutions at Harness FI. We’ll be learning more about how his organization is building tools and infrastructure to connect payments with purpose.

Digital Commerce Alliance members include the largest and most innovative companies in fin-tech, payments, retail, e-commerce and mobile wallets. Members include Microsoft, Rakuten, UBS, RBC, Mastercard, Discover, Valuedynamx, FIS, Sam’s Club, TransUnion, Augeo, Bank of America and many more in 17 countries and 4 continents.

We are bringing their insights from around the world straight to you in an informative podcast called Commerce Code. The podcast features insights, interviews and the latest news from DCA members worldwide. Stay connected and subscribe to DCA’s Commerce Code.

New Member Spotlight

Please Welcome Harness to the Digital Commerce Alliance!

Harness FI is a card-linked program built on card-linking platforms of the major credit card networks. Harness solutions stack onto any card, giving consumers ultimate flexibility while allowing issuers to launch new programs in weeks; it allows issuers to adjust their value proposition and add unique experiences on top of any cards.

Please Welcome Dfinitiv to the Digital Commerce Alliance! 

Dfinitiv is a startup fintech focused on building innovative and frictionless personal finance solutions targeted at Gen Z consumers.

DCA Events

Cannabis in Commerce – Navigating Opportunities and Risks

A DCA Insights conversation with Steve Levine and Ken Condren, leaders in the cannabis and derivatives sector.

Virtual | Mon, December 12th

Cannabis and its derivatives are a $10 billion+ annual market in the U.S., and mainstream companies are increasingly looking to be involved in the market.  Even companies not selling cannabis products are likely to find themselves involved in the market simply by providing products or services to companies who do – e.g., ad-tech, payment processing, financial services, software and other common services.

Join Dan Currell, the CEO of DCA, as he, Steve and Ken cover the essentials and then turn to an “ask me anything” format with questions submitted in real time and those submitted in advance.

Panelist | Steve Levine – Partner, Husch Blackwell
Panelist | Ken Condren – Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Alleaves
Register Now

Upcoming Conferences

DCA Summit

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022 | Washington, DC & Via Zoom

Harnessing the Disruption: Succeeding at Digital Commerce in a Recession Economy

Reserve Your Spot

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